Patience in a Pandemic

I’ve been thinking a lot about patience lately. After all, each and every one of us has been forced to come face-to-face with our own personal relationship with patience during the pandemic, whether we’ve wanted to or not. My own relationship with patience has always been fraught and filled with shame because for most of my life I’ve struggled with an extreme lack of patience: I know what I want, I know what I like, I know the goal, and I want it now! 

Photo by JÉSHOOTS from Pexels

So while Covid-19 has impacted my life negatively in innumerable ways, I do have to give the virus credit where credit is due: it’s expanded my capacity for patience, and forced me to adopt patience as a habit, advancing the growth that started when I became a mom. Like any word, there are several different definitions of patience according to Merriam Webster. Patience can be “bearing pains or trials calmly and without complaint.” I largely agree with this one, but I see immense value in a good session of complaining with friends as well. Patience can also be “not [being] hasty or impetuous.” Fair enough. And, most importantly, patience can be “steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.” Wow. That’s the one I love. 

During the pandemic I’ve had to be patient when education was turned completely on its head, and I had to learn how to teach online. I’ve had to be patient when we had to complete a two week quarantine, and I thought I might suffocate within the walls of our house – a place I normally love to be. I’ve had to be patient in figuring out how best to work exclusively from home, creating boundaries and balancing productivity with my need for social interaction (leaving the house to grab a coffee or get the mail lifts my mood a surprising amount). I’ve had to be patient with bad connections on Zoom, something that initially caused a lot of stress, but that I now take in stride. I’ve had to be patient when it comes to meeting new babies that I’d love to snuggle. I’ve had to be patient when trying to explain to Henry why we can’t go swimming anymore, or why he can’t go to the dinosaur museum, or why he can’t go in the “arena with the roof.” And I’ve had to be patient with myself, on those days where all of the unknowns and isolation cause anxiety. I’ve had to be patient because there’s been no other choice. 

Covid has turned my world topsy-turvy, but it’s also strengthened me. Because of the virus, patience and I have spent the last year becoming intimately acquainted. I stand “steadfast despite opposition difficulty, or adversity,” learning, living, and growing not despite of Covid, but because of Covid. Who would’ve thought?

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