How do you wait?

Photo courtesy of chiaralily (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of chiaralily (Creative Commons)

I’m not a very patient person. I’m not good at waiting. But life seems to be full of waiting – in line, at the doctor’s office, to achieve your dreams, to find true love.

I have to admit I’ve gotten better at waiting over the last few years, and am learning to make the most of it since it is inevitable. I used to think I need to be more patient at waiting, but I’ve discovered lately that life is better when I engage in what I think of as “active waiting.” In other words, instead of simply doing nothing until whatever “event” happens, I do something productive to pass the time until the “event.”

This can be as mundane as checking my email on my phone while I wait for my lunch to heat up. It might be listening to a podcast while sitting in traffic. I have even worked on my grocery list or task list in line at the post office.

I visit my allergist for allergy shots every week, and have to wait there for 30 minutes after my shots to ensure I don’t have an adverse reaction. The first few times I had to wait seemed like HOURS. I kept looking at the clock, sure it was almost time, and maybe a minute had gone by. I was crazy with anticipation by the time I could leave, and I did not see how I could do this every time.

But then I started taking my computer, and I would get a little work done while I waited. Or I would read on my kindle. Before long, I was enjoying the quiet of sitting in the waiting room, away from distractions like the phone or office, and the time became almost a blessing. Some days I’m sorry when that alarm goes off and I have to head to work.

I have dreams that I wish I could achieve with the snap of my fingers – I’m sure you do too – yet it appears I’m facing a wait to attain them. Instead of anxiously pacing and getting frustrated, I’m learning to settle in for a long ride and work slowly toward them.

By actively studying, learning, and developing skills that will help me succeed, I can grow and be better prepared for when those dreams do come true. Waiting becomes something to savor instead of an annoyance.

How do you practice “active waiting”?