“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” ~Unknown
When I was younger, I loved waiting for the next big moment.
Birthdays, holidays, vacations and graduations were all reasons to make a countdown while waiting for this monumental occasion to happen.
I admit I can still get like that today. There’s a certain joy and anticipation when I think about tickets bought to a show or a vacation booked months from now.
That kind of waiting can be exciting. Thinking about a plan we’ve made for the future fills us with positive energy. It’s nice to look forward to moments that will create joy and lasting memories.
But there’s another kind of waiting that’s not as much fun.
In fact, it can cause anxiety, fear, depression and worry.
Like I said, not fun.
The type of waiting I’m talking about is when we fix a deadline in our heads for something to happen and then we just wait for it to be so.
We want to be in a healthy, loving, relationship. We wait for the right one. (He must be close.)
We are frantically wondering what our passion is, the thing that lights us up. We wait for the inspiration to come. (Any day now.)
That dream job is coming. (Just need to wait a little longer for the opportunity to present itself.)
It’s invigorating to have goals, wishes, dreams and desires. It’s powerful to create a vision for our future and look ahead to it, but where we mess things up is the waiting.
We often think waiting looks like fingers tapping, sitting tight and holding our breath until the moment arrives. After all, it’s how we spent our time waiting when we were kids. We knew we didn’t have to do much; the birthday or special occasion would come with little or no effort on our part.
So naturally, as adults, it makes sense that we would feel like the waiting period is out of our control. So many of us act like we are stuck in the waiting room at our doctor’s office—that at some point someone is going to call out our name and it will finally be our turn to stand up, get noticed, and have our chance.
But that’s not true.
Waiting doesn’t mean hitting pause until someone else decides to come in and hit play.
Waiting (outside the doctor’s office, that is) means us taking control of our lives. It means that even if we are waiting for the next big thing, we still make the most of our time here and now.
The space between what’s here and what’s next can be boring and panic-inducing or it can be a magnificent time of renewal and learning, of planning, preparation and growth.
It’s all how you want it to be.
I thought of this recently when I was talking to a friend about some future goals she has mapped out. They are life-changing, electrifying goals. I can’t wait to watch them come alive for her.
She can’t wait for them to come alive either.
I mean it. She can’t and won’t just sit and wait. She’s actively participating in the manifestation of her dreams. And when she’s taking a break from working hard, seeking new opportunities and meeting new people, she’s making the most of her downtime too.
She’s traveling all over the world. She’s volunteering. She’s enjoying more time with her family and friends. She’s working out more and eating healthier. She’s stretching her boundaries and being open to new ideas, new friends and new places.
She’s totally nailing this waiting thing.
And a funny thing has happened. She’s become so busy with all the amazing things she’s doing, that she’s really not waiting anymore for anything or anyone.
Yes, her goals and dreams are still there, her vision as strong as ever.
But she’s having such a blast doing other things that her life has become more than just waiting. It’s become all about living.
This zest for her life shows. She’s been so focused on living, making each day awesome, that her whole energy has shifted. She’s happier. She’s shining brighter. She’s laughing more.
She is radiating goodness, joy and peace. Even though it may not have been her conscious intention, her new energy is actually attracting her goals, dreams and visions much quicker.
And that? That is so much more fulfilling than waiting with anticipation, worrying non-stop, and stressing over when the wait will be over.
We so often create a state of suffering while we wait, when we should be celebrating—anything and everything.
Stop waiting for someone to call your name and tell you it’s time. It is time. Stop waiting for someone to show up and give you all the answers. You have all the answers.
Life’s too short not to live each day fully, completely and happily.
Your journey becomes a lot more fulfilling when you stop worrying about tomorrow and focus on the good today has.
Angie Sarhan Salvatore received her M.F.A in Creative Non-Fiction from Emerson College. She currently teaches college writing and designs inspirational jewelry. For more of her work, you can follow her blog and find her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Image courtesy of Toa Heftiba.