Is it Friday yet?
The same masochistic question every day since Monday.
I don’t wait until the weekends to enjoy myself. That is not my life.
I want it to be Friday so I can leave this busy, noisy, polluted city I came to on a poorly informed whim. Change it to somewhere more pleasant and comfortable.
Being here without wanting to be here seems to have opened the floodgates. Suddenly, I’m painfully aware of the other things I feel impatient to materialise.
‘It’s already now’, my jumper tells me. But apparently now is hard to accept.
Especially when there is much to look forward to.
I can’t wait to see you.
Although I think it, I do not say it because I am aware that it is not precisely the truth.
I can wait to see you, I just really don’t want to. The waiting is being hard right now. (Just fyi.)
It is ridiculous to argue with the passage of time. But I always have.
It is a struggle.
Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, difficulty, or annoyance without getting angry or upset.
Non-patience comes in different forms though. There is being easily provoked to anger or agitation, the blight of type As. That sort of impatience can’t be good for the heart, I always think.
My vice is more of the other kind. Wanting to squirm out of the present moment into some distant, happier one.
Laughing and having fun with you. Eating my favourite fruit again. Warmth of sunshine on my skin.
I am keyed up for all of it! Just not this, what I do have.
How many hours, days ruined by impatience?
We’re inescapably in the moment we’re in. And unless we are in it – really in it – then we lose the ability to be in any moment fully. Including the fun ones.
It is the reason that training the mind to be present is so essential in life. You just murder your happiness, otherwise.
How do you stop yourself from missing someone – human-related impatience?
The Portuguese have a beautiful word for it. ‘Saudade’: a state nostalgic or profound longing for an absent something or someone.
Being busy works well.
Or, you can just let yourself miss people – go in for a bit of saudade. That’s always an option.
It becomes the only one, when you are interested in knowing the complete truth of yourself, instead of a selective truth, where some emotions are allowed but not others.
For me, that well-traveled road no longer appeals.
Practising patience is practising acceptance. They’re very similar skills.
Queuing always provides an excellent opportunity.
Impatience is a product of the mind. An internal story, or rant on a loop. A story that everyone at the back of a queue has told at some point of another.
‘I don’t like it here, I want to be there. It is better over there. At the front of the queue.’
Better to just relax actually. In exchange, you get time back. It stretches and you sink into the moment.
It is sweet when that happens. A practical happiness hack.
Freedom from disturbing thoughts and feelings turns on how vulnerable you’re willing to be in the moment. How open to your own experience you can be.
This is something I am still learning.
Impatience moves through you when you go to the physical sensations of it, which is the realest thing about impatience. Staying with the sensations instead of the thoughts – a story about how wrong it all is, how wrong they are.
How wrong I am, for being here.
Unmarry yourself from the story. Get back peace of mind.
You are simply standing in a queue that isn’t moving.
‘Going with the flow’
Taking action at the incorrect time or in the wrong way can create problems. Lao Tzu said “rushing into action, you fail. Trying to grasp things, you lose them. Forcing a problem to completion, you ruin what was almost ripe.”
Many of the things I have wanted were not right for me, and something better usually came along. Things work out for the best. Always.
The idea of ‘going with the flow’ and allowing things to work themselves out seems passive, but it isn’t about accepting things as they are or inaction.
It’s about controlling the things that can be controlled and accepting the things that can’t.
‘You’ll get more patient with age’.
Not always. I know younger people with a more natural ability for patience and acceptance. And older people with hardly any.
It is perspective that makes a difference to patience levels. And perspective may or may not accompany age.
Mindfulness, acceptance and responsibility – they are the most useful ones I have found.
Speaking of perspectives – some from people who understood the power of patience:
“He that can have patience can have what he will.” ― Benjamin Franklin.
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” ― Aristotle.
“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.
Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke.
“A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen.
“Why is patience so important?”
“Because it makes us pay attention.” ― Paulo Coelho