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Monday Moment: BE the atmosphere

Emma Grey

Sometimes, when we’re sitting in traffic and someone (usually my husband) complains about it, I remind him that we’re not ‘in’ the traffic. We ARE traffic.

On the weekend we went to Sydney for the City 2 Surf. It was my fourteen-year-old’s first time in the race and I’d said to her before we left the hotel, ‘Let’s go and soak up the atmosphere.’

Self-labelled “Traveling Dance Party,” Hot Dub Time Machine was DJing the race start (much to my teens’ delight) and the 14km course is dotted with live bands, swing groups, an Elvis impersonator, the Hari Krishnas, marching bands and balcony parties blaring music and cheering everyone along.

In the less competitive race groupings, people dress up, and we spent the race walking with a group of Wonder Women, some inflatable emus and a heap of bumble bees in yellow tutus.

We were overtaken by men and women from the army wearing military packs weighing 50kg, walking for homeless veterans. We were also overtaken, on “Heartbreak Hill”, by three men wheeling themselves up the hill in wheelchairs.

We’d high five the kids on the side of the road. Thank the volunteers. Cheer the spectators.

At one point, I said to my daughter, “You know how we ARE traffic? We’re the atmosphere here, too…”

One of my favourite sayings is to “take responsibility for the energy you bring”. When 80,000 people take responsibility for creating a wonderful event, that’s what unfolds. Every person’s contribution—every smile or wave or encouraging comment to another participant—means something.

This week: BE the atmosphere. BE the energy level. BE the morale.

Take responsibility for the energy you bring.


Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

  • Sally

    This is such a great message, Emma – thanks for the reminder to take it all in. I always have a quiet giggle when I catch up with friends or family who have been travelling and label places as “too touristy”. I can’t help but remind them they were the tourists too.

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