Cultivating patience while waiting is difficult. Even more of a triumph is growing something new and sustainable during the wait. Like perceiving the time you’re given as gift instead of a curse, for example. I typically hear people wish for more time - to get things done, to do the things they enjoy, and some wish for peace and quiet, a moment to just “be.”
As we sit and wait for an appointment, for our car to get fixed, for someone who is running late (I apologize in advance; I’m working on it), or wait 5 years to conceive a child, can we sit in that moment and be grateful for the time we have to think, to read, to breathe, to be? A few years ago, I listened to Rev. Susan Gray’s sermon at UU of Phoenix on this very topic. I realized that during these moments of having to wait, I tended to squander my time, mostly glued to my phone. Sometimes, I would get things done like return emails or texts, but mostly I just trolled the interwebs mindlessly, which I’ve discovered makes me exhausted. Then, when the wait is over, I’m depleted entirely.
Lateness is in my blood. I know it’s rude, so again I apologize if I’ve made you wait for me. If you’re one of the 5 people reading this blog, I have definitely made you wait. Earlier, I even apologized to you in advance, which is totally lame. Thanking and apologizing to people in advance is presumptuous and passive aggressive. Hey, I’m planning on getting X from you (you WILL follow through with my request) so THANKS! Oh and I’m already planning on hurting your feelings but my preemptive apology completely excuses my behavior.
Of course, my intentions are good - I try to do too much in too little time. It’s like when I grab a container to store leftovers but am much too optimistic; overconfident even as I pour soup quickly into the too small container and it spills over. I should have known that this amount of food wouldn’t fit. I should have known that I couldn’t complete all of these tasks before arriving on time to my scheduled event. After 38 years on the planet though, I know these things, I just fall back into bad habits. The discomfort of forming new habits is painful. I’ll start, but then something will trigger me back to my old ways.
When I’m on time and have to wait, I almost get anxiety. What am I going to do with myself? Smart phone. Stat. The stress I feel from running late trumps this though. Every time I’m running late I ask myself, “why did I do this to myself again?”
Is it possible to make peace with time?
I hope so, because I would like that very much. Things we would like to have take work though. As I’ve said before, I tend to recoil in the face of resistance. So, maybe I’m not interested. I’m fine just the way I am.
How apropos that I would be the last one of my siblings to graduate college, to marry, to have children, to buy a house (still renting) even though I’m not the youngest. This is partly due to my insatiable wanderlust , life choices, and happenstance. I used to feel like a bit of a loser because of it, but I’ve come to realize that this was self-inflicted pressure based on what I thought I was supposed to be doing. What I was actually doing was living my life: traveling, learning another language by total immersion, living by the beach, making new friends, exploring, meeting new people. And making mistakes along the way (learning opportunities).
Does our tendency to tune out while we wait come from the discomfort of sitting with ourselves?
With our thoughts?
Does today’s digital escapism come from easy access or the reluctance of wanting to just be?
With technology at our fingertips, it’s effortless to dive head first into the bustling Web, its current so swift and aggressive it whisks me away from my intended search, and yet I go willingly like a captive with Stockholm Syndrome.
As we wait for results of our FET, I meditate almost daily, which is immensely helpful in keeping me relaxed. I’m staying completely off of the internet (okay, LIES!) to research any possible symptoms I’m experiencing. Seriously though, I’m surprised at the restraint I’ve been mustering to stay off the Web and patiently wait.
And so with this awareness, I am evolving. Lessening my load and beginning to focus on what’s essential. Harnessing my energy to flow with the current, and mindfully ride the wave home, wherever and whenever.