A post-lockdown reflection

Olympics, Prince Harry, Sheila, Alex Morgan, and Ted Lasso....

It was fortuitous the Olympic Games were on during Adelaide’s recent lockdown and I could draw inspiration from all these athletes (here are some sports-related motivational quotes from a previous post.) It’s probably inconsequential news here in Australia but being a woman of colour, the reports about 30-year-old Hidilyn Diaz winning the Philippines’s first gold medal after 97 years of participating in the Games is an awe-inspiring, underdog story! Her “overnight” success took 13 years. In 2008, she was second to last in her division and she did not even finish during the London 2012 Games. She won the silver medal during the 2016 Games in Rio and now during the 2020/21 Tokyo Games, she’s finally earned the gold medal for weightlifting. How proud I am that the first Olympic gold medal awarded to a Filipino is a woman. It was a much-needed reminder as well that success is not achieved overnight. 

“It’s not the title that makes you, it’s not the success that makes you, the character defines the success. Championships are not won in the theatre or the arena. They’re won in the thousands of hours in the training room, in the labs, in the 5.00am runs and it’s raining and everyone’s sleeping. That’s when it’s won.”Unknown

I remember those 5.00am runs as a footballer (okay soccer) for my high school’s varsity team. I remember that when I started as a freshman, our team was at the bottom of the ladder. We even had a match where we were beaten really badly, 0-7. It was extremely embarrassing but surprisingly not very painful - physically or emotionally. You see, we had a great team led by a brilliant coach. We had each other’s back and communicated extraordinarily well with each other, but our football skills still needed a bit of work. All we needed was grit and lots of practice to perfect our skills. By the time I was a senior in high school, our team was Number 2 in the league and most of us were being recruited and being offered athletic scholarships for university. 

“Football is life, and football is death, and sometimes football is football. But mostly, football is life.”Dani Rojas from the Ted Lasso series

I’ve written a previous post on the Ted Lasso series (I’m a huge fan) and season 2 has just started. I don’t want to provide any spoilers - I already know of two people who are waiting for the entire series to come out so they can watch it one go. If you’re having a mild case of performance anxiety or you’re experiencing a bit of imposter syndrome, watch the first episode of season 2. PhD is life, and PhD is death, and sometimes PhD is just PhD. But mostly, PhD is life. #PhDlife

Aside from keeping up with the Olympics and catching up on Ted Lasso, I also took a peak at this new comedy series, Physical, starring Rose Byrne who plays the role of a stay-at-home mum named Sheila. I’ve only seen a couple of episodes and feel a bit intrigued to watch a few more despite some unfavourable reviews from critics. It may be triggering for some as Sheila’s journey towards self-discovery involves working through her relationship with food. I won’t say too much more about the episode itself but the few episodes I have seen evoked contemplations of how many of us can seem “fine” on the outside but may well be seething on the inside. It turned my mind to the notion of negative self-talk and then I questioned how much of that I engaged in each day. 

What is the negative thought you have about yourself? Prince Harry’s response to this question in the documentary series, The me you can’t see is, “It’s being helpless”. Although the series tackled hefty and exigent topics, it was stimulating, especially as a psychology student. It reminded me that thoughts and feelings come and go and it’s important to allow them to come and go. We need to be able to sit with the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, observe how they make us feel, and to let them go. (Note: If you feel you need some help with this, contact Counselling Support. They also have helpful resources on their website.)

“The mental piece is huge. It’s even greater than the physical piece.”Alex Morgan from The Greatness Code series

We were only really locked down for seven days (and I’m really grateful), but I feel so relieved we are slowly and safely re-emerging from our physical nooks again. Although it was enjoyable to indulge in quite a bit of television, I almost feel dreary with the more than usual amount of “watching”. Although there are plenty of notable shows out there, I need a break from “consuming” and going to gear up again from creating and active engaging. 


Tagged in What messes with your head, lockdown, covid, phd, sport