Time to admit, I’m not good at waiting

a dandelion seed head - natures 'clock'

I’m waiting at the moment. Waiting to hear about an application, waiting for people to get back to my emails, waiting for someone to get back from a holiday so things can move on in a project…

I’m not good at waiting. I’m impatient, want everything now, want everyone to follow my timetable rather than me have to flex to theirs.

So I surf and Wikihow has these five steps:

  1. Try not to think about what you are waiting for.
  2. Do something you enjoy and take your mind off waiting.
  3. Don’t do instant things – like emailing – they are too fast and won’t make the time go faster
  4. Do something that makes you think hard
  5. Take a nap or watch tv.

They are rubbish. 1 = I can’t, its impossible. 2 = Ok, works for a little bit, but it finishes and I’m stuck again, waiting. 3 = This isn’t a step. 4 = see two. 5 = great, thanks.

I need something more. I google ‘waiting patiently’. Get some zen stuff. It feels unhelpful with its focus on the now:

 We set goals, these little dreams of what the future will be like, and focus on them….When the goal is completed, yay! Now what? Next goal. This kind of forward-looking thinking doesn’t end when you get to the goal, and never ends until you no longer have any life left, no future to look to. But actually, it can end — right now. Stop looking to that goal, and look at where you are… Life won’t be better, and never will be, until you stop wishing for this better life and realize that life is already incredible. Enjoy it, and forget about those goals. Getting to them won’t be any better than the amazing life that’s right here, at this moment.

Yes, I understand the benefit of enjoying the moment. Yes, I understand that in spending time ‘actively’ waiting, I am choosing not to focus on the things in the now that I could feel great about. But I reckon some things you just have to wait for. My work life is based on goals and I’m not sure how I could run my work life without them, or that I would want to.

Back to wikihow – this time ‘How to Learn to Wait for What You Want

  1. Recognise what it is that you want.
  2. Be patient.
  3. Be pushy and try hard.
  4. There are other things in life.
  5. Do charity work. Remember: You don’t know what’s around the corner.

Ok, this is better. I like 1 and 3. 2 is the one I find hard. Absolutely agree with 4 (and it ties into the bits of the zen stuff I like) and 5, yup, I’ll go with that too. Nothing like recognising your own good fortune whilst having a good patient wait.

I went to see a play last night that I didn’t particularly enjoy, and I found myself waiting for the end – initially impatiently. My mind was wandering back to the notes I made yesterday for this blog so I thought I’d try and work through some of tips; I’d try and wait differently.

Not much I could do externally in a darkened theatre, but I did try and sit better, enjoy my posture, the feel of my legs and sitting bones supporting me. I checked my breathing, allowed my eyes to take in the audience around me. I noticed things about the set and the performers that I’d not yet clocked. I made myself stay in the space and not run off to plan today, tomorrow, next week, next month.

The time still dragged, it still seemed an age before the play finished but I didn’t feel wound up or worried. I didn’t come out spitting feathers and fury with having wasted an evening. It didn’t make me like the play any more, but it did improve how I felt about me.

So that’s what I’m going to take into waiting over the next few days. A recognition of what I want, a recognition that I have to wait, and a determination to make the most of both the waiting and the result – whichever way it falls.

Photo by Nealand remember if you have enjoyed this and want to read more, you can subscribe to Jo Verrent’s blog by email.

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