Waiting is inevitable. It seems that at every stage of our lives we are waiting for something. We start out counting the days until summer vacation and birthdays, we eventually find ourselves waiting for our first car, high school graduation, a profitable career, a mortgage, possibly a family, and hopefully retirement. We are also faced with little trials of waiting on a daily basis; stuck in traffic, sitting at the doctor’s office, in line at the grocery store, the conference call that’s starting late…again. It’s easy to get bitter and frustrated. We find ourselves asking, “Why can’t people be on time?” and, “Is that all the faster they can go? I’m not getting any younger.” Whether we are waiting due to someone else’s tardiness, or it’s just part of the process like the changing of the seasons, we can do something about feeling like the victim and as if one of our most valuable commodities is being thrown away.
As our heated thoughts suggest, “My time is too valuable,” we are correct in a sense, and we need to address what we are doing with that time. I can tell you right now getting mad and cursing under your breath is counterproductive. We must remember that often delays are a result of uncontrollable circumstances, and we need to start showing grace and honor to those around us. Most of us don’t like to acknowledge it, but patience is still a virtue. Be thankful when opportunities arise for us to build up this essential component of our personalities. Most situations are ones that other people have also had to wait for, or are currently waiting in with us. If we get upset every time we have to wait, it won’t be long before years have flown by, only to realize we are in a new pattern of waiting, and apparently perpetual resentment. As a warning, if you find yourself saying you hate waiting, you are going to end up hating life. Everyone has to wait, so let’s make the most of it.
What if every time we were waiting, we were actually preparing and bettering ourselves?
Try to change your thinking about the situation when it develops. Rather than, “Seriously, 30 minutes to be seated?” see that you have actually just been handed unexpected minutes, unplanned, unstructured, to get something accomplished. Now I understand that you won’t be able to run home and start the laundry or sweep the garage, but what about taking a few minutes to catch up on email, check your social networks, make a quick call, pay some bills, or schedule an appointment. With so many of us having access to these types of activities through smart phones or tablets, 30 minutes will probably not even be enough. If you are not quite so inclined to technology, balance your checkbook, make a grocery list, or sort through your planner and get the rest of the week organized. We could all benefit from just a few minutes of quite meditation, as well. If you are fortunate enough to be joined, by all means spend this time actually talking with the other person.
For more extensive periods of waiting, (the countdown till retirement, only a few more months till your wedding, the last trimester of pregnancy) these days and months can have a real impact. First of all, realize that this time will never be the same again. Yes, you are anxious to be done at the office and go fishing 3 times a week, but more likely than not you’ll soon realize that you do miss chatting with your co-workers and undertaking certain projects. Cherish where you are now and make the most of each day, you won’t get this time back. Often we are given periods of waiting because we need it. Use the time to prepare; get your body, mind, and spirit in their proper conditions to take on the subsequent phase. If we simply try to shove our way through the waiting, we may not be fully equipped for the new challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. This may mean greater struggles later, or possibly *gasp* more waiting in the long run.
As an encouragement, I have found that waiting always increases my gratitude as things come to fruition. Without the struggles and trials I would not appreciate the results near as much. There is a great sense of pride, achievement, and thankfulness that can be attached to surviving the waiting. The best part about all of this, it is a choice. Since waiting is as much a part of life as death and taxes, let’s choose to optimize and enjoy it.