Traffic, long lines, doctor’s offices—in life we encounter places and times in which we have to wait for something or someone. Often we try to “pass” or “kill” time with smaller tasks while we wait for something bigger. But waiting—as we mature from small children with low tolerance for standing in one spot for a long period of time, to adults who can withstand seemingly endless waits—doesn’t have to be a curse or a low point of the day. In fact, sometimes when you survive the wait with (ideally) no complaining, the end becomes more enjoyable because of the work you have to put into achieving it. I believe that my patience guides my everyday life.
Of course, I wasn’t always this way. When I was younger, waiting for anything—a ride on the spinning tea cup ride in Disney World, my favorite class of the day—was always a struggle. I preferred instant gratification—the moment I wanted it, I needed it. But at a younger age, waits were more often for fun experiences—all things meant directly for me and my happiness. As I came into adolescence, though, at least slightly less self-centered, and as my friends began to go through different crises, I saw that it wasn’t always fixable with a simple pat on the back. Sometimes, it took time for my friends to come around and recognize that I was there for them. When I took the time to wait for these people to heal in their own ways, it was much more rewarding to see them happy again than if I had forced their transition along.
My most painful experience in this process of learning patience came just several months ago when my great-nana, at the age of 103, passed away. A week or so before she died came the news that she was very sick, and as the days progressed, we received intermittent calls about her worsening condition. Never before had I had an experience where I’d been waiting for something unpleasant such as this. It was not her death I was anticipating, but the news of such. Getting through that week or so was difficult, but it taught me a lot about the value of patience. I use this patience now in my daily life when I stand in lines in the cafeteria or when I’m waiting at a red light. When I start to get frustrated, I remember that with every wait, no matter how small, there is a purpose and an end to receive, and things both good and bad are always worth the wait.
Many will tell you that the key to success to being proactive, standing up and taking charge. But in my life thus far, I’ve found that when a situation is out of your control, the best thing you can do for yourself is give it a little push, and then sit back and wait. After all, good things come to those who wait.
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