Life is full to the brim of waiting. We all have to wait for things, usually on a daily basis.
- when calling a business to get to the point in the queue to be able to speak to a “real” person
- at the grocery check-out
- in heavy traffic
- in security check points at the airport–oh my gosh that can be a real test!
- sitting in doctor’s office waiting room
- for the sweet relief of sunrise if you can’t sleep
- etc. etc. etc…
The problem with waiting
Waiting puts what you need or want somewhere out there...into someone else’s hands or control. Waiting builds frustration by making us feel powerless to control the timing of an event, or someone’s reaction.
I’ve never been great at it myself. The word used to describe someone who has “waiting issues” is impatient. In the past I would have described myself as impatient, but I’ve improved in the last couple of years.
Believe it or not, I think I’m more patient since focusing on my painting.
What does painting have to do with being waiting disabled?
While I do think that being creative does help develop patience, the big difference for me was the subtle shift between looking outside myself and turning inward for the happiness I was looking for.
I know this sounds sort of “zen” but it’s the truth.
Prior to spending time each day doing something I love to do I spent much of my time:
- waiting to lose weight before starting to exercise
- waiting to make my house into what I really want because I didn’t want to live here
- waiting to forgive people until they said they were sorry
- waiting to go have a coffee at the bookstore until someone could go with me
- waiting for someone else to make “the move”…what ever that may be
- waiting to save money until we made more money
- waiting until the witching hour to make dinner
- waiting for the day I would have nothing to do so I could take a nap, a bath, or read a good book (which we all know never happens)
- waiting to do what I love for a “better” time down the road
Starting to paint meant I stopped looking outside myself to other people and other situations to get what I wanted and needed.
Painting doesn’t mean I never have to wait and I still want to move away from Arizona (even more after spending so much time in the north woods,) but in learning how to include something I love into my life right now I also learned how to meet more of my own needs, to look at ways to include wants and needs whenever I could fit them, and that builds patience.
Besides, painting just plain old makes me happy and happy people are more patient.
Solutions for the waiting disabled
- Develop a list of things you enjoy, want to do, or keep telling yourself “one day” you’ll do. Painting is a passion of mine but so is organization, decluttering, writing, drawing, and playing Tiny Wings! Some of these things I can do while I’m on hold or waiting in a doctor’s office. Today, in a doctor’s office I outlined a class that Tracy and I are developing for the new year. It was fun to work on and I didn’t even notice that I waited 20 minutes. Maybe practice a mantra, write a letter (a lost art,) or learn a language. The possibilities are endless.
- Prepare. I’ve been waiting a long time to move from Arizona. Being that I am not the main financial provider for our family this seems completely out of my control. I can’t force my husband to apply for jobs and the jobs he does apply for I can’t make the powers that be hire him. I CAN however do what I can to make my home more of what I want now. I CAN get clear about what I really want in a home should we be able to move, and I CAN declutter unwanted items so that if and when we move we have less to transport.
- Do something. Waiting to hear if a publisher accepts your book, your husband gets the job, or your foot heals from an injury can bring up a lot of helpless feelings. Pick some other goal to focus on in the interim. Find something you can control and spend your energy on that. I have a friend who had a dream of taking a mega bike trip with her family. They have run into lots of road blocks and she was getting frustrated. She decided she could still prepare for the trip by getting into the best shape she could until they were able to go. So while you’re waiting write another book. Get into shape. Throw out unwanted items. Learn a new skill. Start that group you wish you could find!