Sometimes I feel like I spend entire days in wait: for traffic lights to turn green, for e-mail responses to come, for naptime to come so I can get a couple hours of writing and “me” time in. For the heart-pounding class at the gym to finally come to a close, for my husband to get home, for my fingers to pound out that final word on my manuscript. And so the story goes.
But oftentimes, the more I focus on all this waiting I have to do, the more impatient I become. It’s as if the rose-colored glasses that I normally view life through turn a monstrous shade of green.
And it gets ugly. I get ugly. Life itself gets ugly.
I ready my hand to blare the horn and I curse my computer toward all those blasted humans on the other side of my computer that do not understand my need for a timely reply, snarkle, snarkle. I snap at my children and I slam bedroom doors, as if that’s an acceptable outpouring of my frustration. I barely acknowledge my husband when he walks through the door, and I forget to give myself grace when it comes to my own set of self-imposed deadlines.
In all of these moments—moments in which I could have stopped and paused and breathed in the beauty of the present moment—I’ve instead lost the opportunity altogether. The waiting has gotten me nowhere, and it’s a nowhere I realize I don’t want to arrive at again anytime soon.
For this nowhere is no way to live.
The irony, of course, is that when I’m in waiting situations with other people, I often become the best version of my waiting self, the person I want to be in all waiting circumstances.
I stand in line at the DMV, a hub known for extreme queues. It’s also a place beautifully filled with every type and kind and make of person, with those I don’t normally see everyday as I flit around in my bubbled world. If I don’t have a child attached to the hip, I carry with me a book, and I relish in the chance to read entire chapters uninterrupted. But then it happens every time: the fleshy people around me catch my attention. They stir my insides with excitement for the story we humans naturally create.
I hear the woman behind me, who huffs and puffs as if she’s about to blow the DMV down. She complains about the line and she complains about the lack of workers. She complains about her swollen ankles, and she complains about the fact that she’s been here twice already this week, Can you even believe THAT?
And I smile and I nod, and then somehow the laments she spews forth have the opposite affect on me. I become the happiest, most chipper version of myself.
I hear the man in front of me, (because let’s be honest, I’m eavesdropping), and his conversation with the DMV employee makes my day:
“Do you still weight 165 pounds, sir?”
“No, I lost weight!”
“How much do you weigh then, sir?”
“I lost twenty pounds!” He beams.
“So, you weigh 145 pounds now, sir?”
“Yup.” He turns around and gives those of standing in line a head nod. I nod my head in return, and a smile spreads across my face.
Man, I love the human race.
Waiting is inevitable, but how we choose to sit with the waiting is ours alone. As for me, I want to be the one who delights and laughs at the world around her, fully in tune to the melody of life before her and behind her. I want to laugh at the things to come, and I want joy to deeply penetrate every part of me. And when waiting comes, and along with it, times that require endurance and perseverance, I want to be the best version of my waiting self.
But for now, I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.