The masks are off and so are the gloves. Last week, for the first time in a long time, I felt rushed. The frenzy of fast-paced doing got to me when I found myself feeling underprepared for a discussion. I had not read enough. I had not prepared the way I usually like to. And yes, all is well that ends well, I have the skill to wing it, but that’s not the way I want to fly.
It was not just one meeting. I had to interview a candidate and the level of preparation I was putting into reviewing the cv and the written submission and the LinkedIn page of the person ahead of the meeting was noticeably more rushed. I am skidding into these conversations rather than gliding into them. The treadmill has sped up and everything and everyone seems to be in a rush.
Serpentine queues at airports. Black Friday sales. Traffic jams that last forever. Shorter deadlines and shorter fuses. I don’t care how you do it as long as you get it done. What have I rushed back into?
When I was locked up and dreaming about the day that I could get out and about again, I was dreaming of meeting my loved ones. I dreamt of playing tennis and hugging my friends again. I dreamt of a lovely relaxed meal with people who made me smile. I imagined meaningful meetings with colleagues and clients, where we connected in person and built on ideas together. We would build a better world. We would learn from the experiences of the pandemic about how connected we are as one planet. We would be kinder to each other. This was and still is my hope.
I realise that I have not rushed to do those things. Instead, I am having a rushed meal on the go. I am playing less tennis. I am talking to my family less now as I am rushing from one meeting to another and doing my best to get things back to the way they used to be. I am thinking less deeply and trying to get more done in less time. I am back on the treadmill trying to keep pace as the speed increases.
I can run faster, but I am not sure if I want to run on a treadmill. I want to run in a forest surrounded by greenery and blue skies. I feel that the world is now a different place. I cannot ‘unsee’ the glimpse that I got of what and who is truly important to me. Maybe we all do have the memory of a goldfish and we are back to swimming around in circles. But in quiet moments I am reminded of what truly matters. I then muster up the courage to chart a new path. One that is more connected to who I am and what matters to me. Finding a way to do that and stay in step with what the world wants of me is where balance and skill come into play.
Gliding effortlessly across the dance floor of life is possible. It takes practice and a good partner. The masks of consideration and caring are off and the gloves have come off too. The push and pull on my time and my talent are all about making choices. Make your choice wisely or you will be dancing to someone else’s tune. By all means rush forward into a world that is opening up, just make sure you are heading in the right direction.
Connecting and belonging are inherently a part of the human experience and that is what I wanted to rush back into the arms of. I get to make that choice and I must not settle for skidding into stuff. To do work that matters for people who care, is the dance that I want to be a part of. And just like that the music changes in my head and I am ready to rush headlong into another day.
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