"Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is bliss, taste it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it" -- Mother Teresa

Friday, January 29, 2010

The art of waiting

Every day there is evidence that waiting has truly become an art form very few people can claim to practice. Waiting, once viewed as something you simply had to do without further discussion, is now on par with an offensive remark being made . ' What do you mean? Why does it take three days for a letter to get here in this day and age?' Stuck in a traffic jam and getting very annoyed indeed? Late for an important meeting or just inconvenienced?

Being told to have to wait can bring our the worst in people. Anger, annoyance, resentment, a feeling of restlessness...hang on...maybe there's a clue. Could it be that people who will not wait and cannot wait are really feeling uncomfortably restless? Like a smoker who has to wait for a cigarette until he gets off the plane? A little fidgety, a little anxious....after all, waiting means postponing that which we desire. And we are so terribly spoiled by modern technological advances above all that waiting has become a thing of the past. It begins with instant meals because there is no time to cook. Next, we download a whole music album in the space of time it takes to take the dog for a walk. Even books can be read online while scrolling down the pages.

Instant gratification. A growing belief that one must not be made to wait. Fast service, fast delivery, wife is out of the house, well, there is always instant adult entertainment. Personally, I don't mind waiting too much and I feel slightly irritated when people complain about being stuck in traffic jams or a bus which is 5 minutes late or about the supermarket checkouts and their bad management. Being stuck in a traffic jam is frustrating at times, but if you have enough petrol and your car is not overheating and nobody will die if you are late...what’s the big deal? Why has not having to wait become a right rather than just luck?

Waiting is a dying art form. Not only does it mean having to delay something, it also means having to fill the waiting time meaningfully. Which, seemingly, is the problem? What do we do with ourselves? We are always in the process of getting, becoming, going places, wanting the next thing before receiving the first that without any of these we are lost. What do we do with just ourselves and time to kill?

Why not view waiting as an opportunity to have time to spend instead of not letting go of that which we can't have right now. Previous generations were good at waiting. My grandparents and parents saved for years to be able to afford a good holiday or a new refrigerator. Imagine the difference between going on a long awaited holiday or one of many trips you take each year? There is a much bigger, more satisfying sense of occasion if one can say ' finally, the wait was well worth it yeh! Not being able to wait means missing out on opportunities because instead of working towards what we really want, we often take short cuts and second choice route just because we cannot and will not wait. Young people are especially affected by this form of thinking. The notion of having to study for a number of years at college or university ( 'I really want to be a doctor!') seems foreign and is often replaced with a short cut version. ('well, I suppose I could just work for one).

The art of waiting means being able to work towards a goal and realize that the reward at the end will be worth the wait.
Being able to wait means being able to be patient and less demanding. There is certain arrogance in complaining about things like slow services or inefficient management...as if it were a basic human right to not have to wait for anything. When put on the spot, what is the worst thing that can happen if one has to wait?

Most used line by indians

Kunjom neram wait panah settah poireveh? – Will you die if you wait for awhile?