Yvette Salvaris

Yvette Salvaris

As I sit here in Melbourne during the last stages of our current Covid lockdown, I am seeing everywhere articles about taking small steps out of lockdown and how they will be the most significant steps. Experts talk about how small steps can lead to bigger steps and how the best approach is to take things slowly. This got me thinking about how sometimes the smallest things you do, can have the biggest impact.

In 2009 I was caught up in the swine flu pandemic. I was teaching at the time and caught it from somewhere at work. Unfortunately I had some serious complications from swine flu that took me 3 months to recover. I had gone from a work hard, play hard approach to life to barely having enough energy to brush my hair. I had to take each day as it came and work on gaining my strength back.

At the end of my street is a park, and a park  bench under a tree. It’s a very insignificant beach and nothing special about the tree. It’s about 200 meters from my house. I always pass the bench every time I go for a walk or dashing out to get a coffee. I had never noticed it until my brush with swine flu. Little did I know this very insignificant park bench would be the key to my recovery.

When I finally had the strength to get out of bed I decided that my aim was to eventually have enough energy to walk to the park bench. Each day I would take small steps that would eventually lead me to my destination. I started by first walking down my driveway. When I had enough energy to do that I then took small steps to walk down the driveway and to the house next door. This continued until after a few weeks I finally reached the park bench. I had completed my goal, and each step I took lead me closer to my destination.

The end of 2014 I had found myself sick yet again. This time it was far worse then swine flu and I was off work for another 3 months.  This time I had an issue with my vision that indicated something far more sinister was going on in my body. I was undergoing tests for a range of possibilities and was confined to my bedroom yet again. I found myself again on strict rest orders and been told not to over do it.  It was discovered that I had a viral infection that had affected my blood pressure which in turn caused complications and had paralysed one of my eye muscles and that with any luck only complete rest would help everything settle.

So as I found my vision slowly returning and my blood pressure slowly returning to normal I again started taking small steps. Just as I did in 2009 I set my sights on the park bench. Again taking small but significant steps to reach my goal. By February 2015 everything had returned to normal, I was given the all clear and I could walk to the park bench.

Now its 2020, and we are in the middle of a global pandemic. In April my father died and again my world stopped for a moment, but I knew a way to make everything just that little bit better.  You see there is a very significant park bench at the end of my street and again I found myself taking small steps to get there. To this day mum and I along with Daisy the dog meet every day at the park bench to have a coffee. Not only do I have the strength to walk to it every day, but I now have the time to sit there and have a coffee and a laugh with mum. So next time you think you cant do something or life is getting confusing, just look for the park bench at the end of your street and make it your goal to take small steps to get there.