What I learned about life from Waiting For Godot

Sixteenbynine's Elizabeth Anyaegbuna reflects on life and the joy in the simple we find on the journey

Covid and the pandemic… certainly stopped us in our tracks. Apart from the dire situation unfolding it also demanded we take time out to reflect. I definitely did.

It felt incredibly surreal as the virus took hold, probably compounded by the fact that I lost my mum at the beginning of the pandemic. And yes, partygate pissed me off! Loss certainly sharpens the perspective though, and although everything felt like an out-of-body experience, I became acutely aware of the simple things. The road of losing a parent is sadly familiar having lost my dad a few years ago — and so with that, the inevitable ‘thoughts overload’. 

I remember driving to the undertakers in the rain. The heavy clouds lifted as I progressed and, up ahead, a rainbow peeped out through the sun. I pumped up the radio to blare out some 80s choons and felt lifted for a moment. I now look for those rainbows when it all gets a bit too much.

Relating that to the pandemic: how many people heard those songbirds as the road stayed quiet and people at home? Some rediscovering or perhaps even first discovering hobbies like cooking or gardening, or just simply appreciating putting their child to bed for a change? There was, of course, home schooling, but let’s not go there! I became obsessed with the pressure washer… I loved it! Who knew our drive was coral pink and not some depressing shade of murky grey?! Of course, it wasn’t rosy for everyone, as we saw domestic violence soar. And not being able to see loved ones for covid-related burials was just heartbreaking.

For me, rediscovering a sense of self and a joy in the simple things was real — and very much needed in order to cope

Some may say you never get the gold at the end of the rainbow, which is not so great — but I think instead of just seeking perfection… the joyful moments, or ‘wins’ along the way are just as important.  Taking time to appreciate a songbird outside the window, or that call you finally got round to making, or celebrating the small wins at work, instead of focusing solely on the (far fewer) bigger ones as the only ones that matter.

One of my favourite plays is Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (hey, I’m getting deep now), I love it. It’s timeless in its relatability and open to all types of interpretations as it explores existentialism —– a philosophy where we’re deemed responsible for creating purpose and meaning in our lives. The plot focuses on two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, who meet in a rather barren place by a random leafless tree, where they wait for someone called Godot. They experience different encounters as they wait and talk, bicker, talk some more and wait some more. Godot never actually turns up, but they still wait. Not exactly uplifting but it’s the things that happen while they wait that are of interest — something to reflect upon.

For me, in the wake of covid, I’m reminded to do just that…. stop for a moment and listen out for the songbirds, look for the rainbows, to be present and appreciate the simple things that bring joy — a reconnection with self as we continue on this roller coaster of a journey called life.

Featured image: Irish classical theatre, Waiting For Godot

Elizabeth Anyaegbuna

Elizabeth is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Sixteenbynine, an indie media planning and buying agency. With over 18 years experience gained from commercial, operational and management roles in the TV and digital advertising industry across the UK and Africa, Elizabeth has a proven track record in providing high value commercial solutions and growing business across TV, Digital, Social & Branded Content within the broadcast industry.

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