The Waiting Game
For an impatient human like me, there is nothing worse than waiting. It is the most brutal torture of them all. Waiting at a line at the post office or bank, waiting for that phone call from an agent to confirm you’ve got a job you’ve been dying to have, waiting for your computer to finish installing a programme so that you can get to bed at 2am in the morning. I’ve tried different things over the years to help increase my patience but not many have worked. Breathing deeply and counting to ten helps sometimes but only for annoying things like waiting for a lift which seems to be stuck on the 15th floor. I’m pretty sure I’d pass out if I tried it at a supermarket queue or as I wait for the long overdue bus (how many times have we waited 20mins at a bus stop for a journey that would have taken us 15mins to walk?).
Another technique I have tried is convincing myself that if what I want had arrived earlier (document, job, cab, whatever) there would have been something wrong with it. For example, perhaps the late bus has saved me from being mugged about an hour later because I’ve had to change my plans to suit my delay. Or if that document had arrived earlier, I would have sent it on to a client and screwed up something I hadn’t envisioned but its late arrival means I will avoid that embarrassment. On to a true story, I was massively delayed once by the tube on my way to an interview and was sure it was all going to go downhill from there but once I got to the station, I had a call from my agent letting me know that the employer was also running late and was hoping to push back the interview by an hour. I was clearly relieved that I didn’t have to appear tardy but realised only later that I had been saved from even further turmoil because the location of the office was so ambiguous that I ended up losing my way and needed that extra hour to find it. Lucky, right? Obviously, this way of thinking is easier to digest sometimes but not all the time (if that bus makes you late for an interview when you’ve been out of work for 6 months, you’d probably not be rationalizing it in any way).
For more extreme cases, research has shown that meditation or yoga could help, but my attention span is zilch so that would never work for me. I’d probably start wondering why my mind is taking ages to calm down and that would tick me off even more. I guess I just have to stick with what I know works for now. Deep breaths. One, two, three…