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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Patience Is a Fickle, Yet Necessary Bitch

My six year old daughter relies on us for many of things, still.   When it comes time to go outside or get her a drink, she asks us for it.   If it’s not exactly time or we’re in the middle of something, she gets a bit perturbed when she’s told to wait.  Granted, when it’s her turn to be in the middle of watching a show or playing with her toys, and we ask her to do something and she says, “One second”,  it upsets us.   I guess it’s a vicious double standard and we all need to learn some patience.

Patience is a funny thing.   On one hand it makes you appreciate things more.  If it’s something you really want and you wait to get it, that build up of anticipation makes the reward all that more sweeter.   Conversely, when you have to be patient in a situation you cannot control or feel helpless to control, you find yourself exhausted to be at the end and the relief is almost a punishment or a slap in the face.

I’ve said before that we have become an “Instant Gratification” society.   Technology has shifted from innovation towards making life better to making life faster.  We can do everything online these days with little to no wait.  There’s a joke somewhere about how long it took to download a simple jpeg in the 90s, over a dialup connection.  That was a long time to wait for porn in those days.     In the 80s you used to have wait all day and all night to hear your favorite song on the radio so that you could quickly record it onto a cassette tape.   If you were lucky, you were prepared with a blank tape and one touch recording.   Sometimes, I used to have the tape ready to record, and only the push of a pause button to set things off in earnest.   If I was truly blessed, the DJ didn’t talk over the intro or outro of the song.   These days there’s YouTube and Spotify and Playlists and iTunes and all manner of playback choices to have your favorite songs, in perfect clarity, ready to go in a moment’s notice.

But back to the horribleness of patience.

We sometimes confuse patience with reluctance.  Just like we confuse impulse with initiative.    When you’ve taken a position of inaction for so long, not wanting to upset the balance of things, you find that opportunities pass you by, and it pains you to see what could have been go away.   On the other hand, it’s so hard to know what things are worth it and what are merely impulse moves.  If you’re lucky, you have friends around you that can help temper your patience.   They may not seem like they are well versed in your life, even as subjective as they might be to your whims, but they are outside the bubble.  Time moves differently from their perspective and that, in and of itself, is why their advice should be given a lot of thought.  They aren’t as close to the situation as you are.   They can see you wrestle with adversity and know that it’s not fair.  They want what’s best for you, too, though.  They just have a better handle on the impact it will make in your life.

It may seem like the world will pass you by if you don’t act, but patience needs to be exercised.   While you may deserve the reward, there are many things to consider and if it is truly a reward that deserves you, it will be just as sweet, if not sweeter when you finally have the clear path to acquire it.   If it isn’t then it’s not worth your time.

When you are patient, your position is clearer.  When you are patient, your moves are smoother.  When you are patient, your path is less obstructed.  And when you are patient, your effort is noticed.  If you rush into something, you appear haphazard and unsure.   You aren't taken seriously.  You seem easily disinterested and that can lead to losing out on what you really want in life.  Do not confuse laziness with patience, though.  If you sit and wait for things to happen, you will lose out.  If you plan and act and plan again and learn and move forward, even at a slow pace, your momentum will still carry you to where you want to go.

Now, you can say that maybe it’s not fair to expect patience from other people.  After all, inanimate objects don’t expect you to be patient, punctual, or cautious in your dealings.   People are just as fickle as patience is and we are living in that “instant gratification” society.  But, if they truly feel it’s worth their time and that they deserve it, they will afford you the chance to be as patient as you need to be to make the reward that much sweeter for you both.

Just don’t drag your feet.

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