Tag Archives: patience

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Wait For It

Impatience is a common college-age problem. In fact, from my observation, impatience is an any-age problem. Add into the mix a culture of instant-gratification, and you’ve got a nation full of impatient, unhappy people. Unhappy, of course, because they didn’t get that thing they wanted the moment they got it.

I am not by nature a patient person. My friends are always telling me to slow down, to wait up, not to rush, to take smaller steps, to stop and smell the roses. I try my best to be an efficient person, moving quickly from point A to point B thanks to the narrow time constraints college inevitably brings. As a result, I can get frustrated when something (or someone) gets in the way of my progress. This frustration rarely produces any good fruit.

On a larger scale, I tend to get impatient when certain life processes don’t go as quickly as I’d like them too. Waiting for an email from someone, for instance. Waiting for a publisher to get back with me. Waiting for Christmas to get here. Waiting for the school year to be over. Waiting to be out of grad school. When I can’t to my goal as fast as I’d like to, I get frustrated, and therefore not very fun to be around.

For example, I’ve been waiting for the skin on my forehead to clear up since March. It won’t. In fact, it’s worse. Nothing helps. So I figured all I can do is ride the ugliness out until the nice, clear skin I’ve had for 20 years decides to return. I can’t rush the healing process, apparently, since rushing things only makes the condition worse.

Good things come to those who wait. When life holds me up, I have two options: 1) get angry and make myself and everyone who knows me miserable, or 2) wait it out. Hang in there. Take a deep breath.

Every time I’m held up in traffic, I remind myself that maybe, just maybe, if I had gotten through that light like I’d hoped to, I might’ve been hit by another car. Everything happens just as it should, with just the right timing. That is beyond my control. With this knowledge, I can relax, enjoy the ride, and be a much more fun person to be around.

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Hurry Up and Wait

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Anymore it seems that nothing is worth getting unless it’s gotten instantaneously. We’ve invented instant coffee. Instant oatmeal. High-speed internet. Spark notes. Take-out. TV dinners. Miracle-gro. Drive-throughs. I even saw an “Instant Prince Charming” at UU’s campus store—just add water. Even something as quick as heating up popcorn seems to last two minutes too long. It’s like the world has lost the ability to wait, even for something worth waiting for. Maybe we’re just so used to taking everything for granted that we only consider something worthwhile if it can be easily and instantly obtained.

This kind of environment seems to foster impatience. We’re not used to waiting for anything, so when we have to, we lose it. Our fuses are shorter. Wait for one nanosecond longer than we wanted to and BOOM! World War III in our brains.

Waiting in line for a latte or waiting for dinner to heat up is one thing. You will get your latte, provided the barista doesn’t lose your order. You will get your dinner, provided the microwave doesn’t explode. What’s hard is waiting for something to happen that you have no guarantee will come true.

How about waiting for that guy to ask you out? Or waiting for anyone to ask you out at all? Or waiting for an apology? Or waiting for a letter back from that publisher? Or waiting for someone to make up their mind? Or waiting for your mom’s cancer to disappear? And then, worst of all, there’s that horrible feeling of waiting for that nebulous, undetermined something that you’re supposed to be doing with your life. And while you’re not twiddling your thumbs and waiting for the solution to fall on you (at least not necessarily…some of us are still in college), you can’t escape that fidgetiness that accompanies the turning of the page, the raising of the curtain before the next act.

Of all the waiting that must be done, the worst (although at times the most exciting) is waiting for what happens next…especially when you don’t know what the next thing is.

Meanwhile, some of us are tempted to pray, “Lord, give me patience, and give it to me now.”

Admittedly, doing so defeats the purpose. I’m learning that the best things in life are worth waiting for. Oaks or sequoias just don’t spring up overnight. They take time. They start from seeds and miraculously grow into gigantic, beautiful trees. Good things come to those who wait.

But they tell me that you can’t just wait. You have to wait and do. Even patience, it seems, takes practice.