Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Patience is overrated

Patience is a virtue.  That's the old adage that we are told time and time again from when we are knee high to a grasshopper.  Ok, that may be a sentence a little too full of American phrases but I'm sure you get the picture.

We expect children to be impatient.  They have short attention spans, just ask any parent or teacher.  Teachers are told in training that the ideal activity for primary aged students lasts an absolute maximum of fifteen minutes, but ideally closer to ten.  After fifteen minutes the kids switch off and start using their eraser as a battering ram against their neighbor's pencil. We tell them, and work on teaching them, to be patient.  Wait just a minute.  It's almost time.  Soon.  When they can't wait, we lose our patience. I SAID soon!!!  We will go when I say we're ready. It won't be time until it's time.
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Most people get more patient as they grow up.  They learn that although time is a man made construction, we can't speed it along as much as we may want to. There are some of us, how many I have no idea as I seem to be uniquely afflicted with this in my social group, for who patience is a struggle.

My mother once told me she couldn't figure it out.  With children and the elderly I had the patience of a saint.  I could sit for hours with my Alzheimer afflicted grandmother, answering the same five questions again and again ad nauseum without flipping out. I can handle thirty kindergarteners asking the same two questions over and over all day without issue.  Give me a socially retarded (not pc, I know) adult and forget it. She said "It's just adults you have a problem with. Why is that?"  I've figured out its that the young and the old have excuses for their faux pas, their mistakes, their repetitions.  Adults who are stupid are just irritating and they should have learned better by now. Geographically inept taxi drivers, rude and lazy wait staff, confounding IT guys all bear the brunt of my impatience.

I can maintain my demeanor when waiting for mundane things or when being frustrated won't help.  A taxi stuck in the rain or the traffic here won't bear the burden of my hysterics, neither will a dentist/doctors front office.  Waiting for planes and trains aren't issues either, unless they are ridiculously late and aren't announcing anything. I'm a paradox.

That said, I am also a bit child like in the way I wait for things.  It's just over four weeks until the end of term and I'm dying for it to be over.  I probably think about it more than the kids do. I have holidays planned.  Not only am I crippled by the impatience for the first one, but the trip after that at the end of August too!! If someone says, "remind me later to tell you something" I'm immediately all a twitter and want to know now.  I revert to my six year old self and give a half beg/half whine plead to be told.   I order a great looking dessert and can't wait for it to be delivered.  I say I "can't wait" but of course I do.  My life is constantly jumping from one event to another.

All of this considered, I think I do enjoy the anticipation.  I like looking forward to something.  I like the butterflies in my stomach between the time I know we're going to kiss and when our lips actually meet.  I like crossing the days off on the calendar as we get closer to D-day, whatever that particular D-day might be.   Waiting and patience may be the most perfect combination of sweet agony I can imagine.
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This goes out to all of you waiting for things.  I'd love to know how you wait, if you are patient or impatient and how to make the waiting time pass. I'd send some patience along, if I had any to spare.

1 comment:

  1. I simply accept what time has to offer me until i am offered what i am waiting for. While waiting, I try to focus on different issues, which too, has a lot to do with patience. I guess in the end, what metters most is the result. even if it takes some time to have it! so keep busy n distract urself from the main issue that u r waiting for and get busy with other issues. trust me, u will learn a lot. Just accept that answers to ur wants will be delivered in its own time. watever u may do to rush it up, u shall still have to wait for its own time. believe in patience to be the key to a more peaceful state of mind, hence inner peace.