“Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting.” ˜Dr. Seuss
We all do a lot of waiting! Whether it’s for a short while at the traffic light, to the more often than not ridiculously long time at the DMV or doctor’s office (no offense to my own doc if you’re reading MK), Americans are estimated to spend an average of 45-62 minutes per day waiting! Over the course of an average 70 year lifespan, that amounts to 3 WHOLE YEARS WAITING! Even though learning to wait is an important social/life skill, that’s a whole heck-of-a-lot of time!
So far, today has been a quite minimal wait time day. I suffered a mere 3 minutes while filling my gas tank on the way to work, 15 minutes waiting for our middle school orientation to start, only about 5 minutes at traffic lights, and a total of 12 minutes for web pages and my online gradebook to open. Hopefully you fared as well or better and not worse. You may have had to wait in lines at stores, or on elevators, subways or buses. Maybe you waited for your children at classes or practices, or by yourself in serious city traffic jams. Hopefully you didn’t reach your breaking point while waiting in “on hold hell” on the telephone!
No matter the specifics; how, where or when we’re forced to wait in our everyday lives, the time doesn’t always have to be wasted. If we plan ahead, we can turn wasted time into productive time in a myriad of ways. We can choose to read, write, meditate, or listen to soothing music. We can focus on our health and exercise our stomach muscles by sucking it in and out, or if we’re female, even do our Kegels in the checkout line without anyone ever noticing.
Thanks to technological advances, the opportunities for amusement, relaxation, and productivity are virtually endless. We can check and answer emails, play games, tour museums around the world, text friends and family, edit photos, shop online, add to our grocery list on Cozio, or simply just stay unplugged, and choose to “be” and do nothing. The good news is that consciously choosing to simply and fully “be” wherever we are, is as good or better a choice as any other, especially because we’ve purposefully made it!
If we succumb to sitting somewhere and fuming, like the engine on a beater whose last tune up was in the Clinton era, our hearts and immune systems will suffer greatly. But to simply and utterly be; that’s a truly fine occupation. For the things that we can never quite be attuned to while agitated, are often the most beautiful and meaningful. Those minutes we spend just “being” are also the ones that allow us to be and feel “in control of our own lives and powerfully perceptive”. Whether we’re standing solo on a hilltop, experiencing the magical silence of crystalline snowflakes cascading onto our tongues, or in the middle of Times Square soaking in what can only be described as the “New York Cityness”, our most unforgettable memories are always going to be those occasions when our minds were entirely in the moment.
But what about the other kinds of waiting? The waiting for another chance, our big break, opportunity to knock, our ship to come in, or absurdly like Vladimir and Estragon, for Godot ? Perhaps we’re waiting for the right moment to make amends, to pick up the phone and say “let’s forgive”, to write that letter of apology, to say I love you, to say whatever needs to be said .
It’s my humble opinion that those are the times when not waiting, but “doing” , is what wisdom would choose. Preparedness must answer the door for opportunity. When our ship does come into port, it has no choice but to turn tide and depart if we’re not at the ready. As for that theoretically perfect moment to make amends, write that letter, or make that call; it is now, and only God knows if there will indeed ever be another chance. Tomorrow is not a given and time doesn’t wait for any of us.
We should choose wisely when we wait, making the waiting we must do, work for our good and let not the waiting we choose to do, hurt us and/or others in the end.
Peace and Love