The Unexpected Joy of Waiting
It seems you can’t go anywhere and not see people staring at something in their hands. As vital as my device is to me, I still long for a time long gone when sitting and waiting meant something so very different than it does now.
It is probably a fair remark that none of us particularly like to wait. We’ve all done it and after the first few minutes, we feel lost, forgotten, a million unhappy feelings. It’s also probably why we are so excited to see the person we have been waiting for. Prior to smart devices, we would watch the world go by. We would notice people coming and going in front of us. We would look at the fashion show before us, wondering how that would look on us or noticing everyone had short hair or beards or something we hadn’t taken in before.
We might notice the ballet of every work environment. Every restaurant has a million moving parts that glide about one another without difficulty. That’s why a dropped plate catches our attention so. It is out of the norm. It goes against the grain. Yet think how many plates, cups and bowls come from the kitchen to tables and back without incident.
I discovered the joy of active waiting while waiting for the bus to get home from high school. To give you a clue of the wait, often I would give up and walk the few miles home. But there were days I was tired and so I would wait. I was a teenager, impressionable and curious. I am thankful for all of that. Waiting meant I had two choices – read for schoolwork or watch the world. You can see my choice.
I watched my ‘street theatre.’ I saw loving relationships and something to aspire to. I saw rude people and wanted to not be like them. I saw beautiful and clunky cars and wondered what kind of car I might drive or own as I got older. I saw women dressed to the heights of fashion and wondered if I could ever be that chic…. Or if I wanted to be that chic. I heard laughter in the air, excitement when people met. I saw sadness on faces, resignation to life. I saw life in its fullness before me.
I don’t know if I realized it at the time, but I was choosing who I wanted to be at a time that was all about me and my growth. I looked at life and said yes or no to the things that were who I want to be. I was allowed to be free from the media demand of conformity and was free to select what was me.
My downtime allowed me to choose who I wanted to be as I grew up.
Why bring it up now? Most of us are past teenage years.
Because at any time we can choose to look at our lives and ask who it is we are and who we would like to be.
I’m not saying diet to the bone or change your hairstyle or go from glasses to contacts. Although all of those are nice ways to take care of yourself if you are considering them.
I am saying if the spark in your life has dimmed, what catches your eye when you quietly watch your own street theatre. Notice what brings out longings when you see magazines or books or movies or television shows. Notice when a song or phrase in it brings you to an emotional moment. Your own self is politely saying it might be time to look at what is going on with your life. Your own self might politely be saying all is ok, but it is ok to have more. Your own self might be politely saying it is time to review all in your life and how it serves you.
You can practice the unexpected joy of waiting anywhere. It makes the wait so much more fun when we aren’t annoyed but on our own field trip of life. See what surprises you. Makes you laugh. Catches your breath. And appreciate the fullness of your emotional life.
Make New Friends, But Keep The Old
I am so very thankful for the friendships in my life. I believe most of us feel the same way. It seems to me to be an exercise in futility to remember the moment a friendship clicked. We might remember when we met, or where we met, but as we leave childhood, the instantaneous nature of friendship changes slightly.
I still have my childhood friend as one of my best friends. There is a simplicity in conversation. You never need to explain why something makes you crazy because they were with you the first time it made you crazy. I have friends from high school, although some of those friendships have been on, then off, then on again as life took us in differing directions. The rediscovery of one another was all the sweeter as the promise of who we were to be, became who we now are. I have friends from college and we laugh that as such young clueless souls we met one another and began relationships that have survived lives challenges through the decades, and thrived.
Through the years volunteer experiences have brought new people into my life and our shared vision has brought us together, first saving the world, then as friends. I have had neighbors who, believe it or not, are dear friends. The relationship may have begun through convenience, but has sustained through moves both near and far. I have discovered kindred spirits from my time dancing, and while I haven’t done that style dancing in a while, it is always clear they would love to have me come and watch and just be there.
One of the things I love most about my friends is that when I have some sort of event and they all come, they all genuinely enjoy one another. It feels magic! It is magic.
What it says to me is that all these relationships have grown through the years. It says to me that I am honest and open and real in my time with people. It says that I seem to find people that while we may disagree politically, or practice different religions, or follow different diet and exercise plans, what is at the core of our friendship is a genuine respect, affection and love that has grown, changed, and reflected who we were, are and are becoming as we go through life.
Friendships are both easy and difficult. I don’t mean to sound facetious, only true. Friendship at their best doesn’t require daily phone calls or contact or emails. They are how hearts, spirits, and authentic selves connect. If you have that as part of your day it is an absolute bonus. Friendships reflect who we are. We circle ourselves with people we like, like who they are, what they do, how we relate. When we constantly are adding to that lovely list, it lets us know we are continuing to fully engage in the dance of life. A new friend might not have the depth of relationship an older relationship has… yet. It might be a relationship for the time, the mission at hand, or you might be fortunate to find someone to add to your life. Friendship shows that we are continuing to grow, change, engage, reflect, and express ourselves. They let us know we are not becoming lost or stuck or limited.
They let us know we are still in the joy and flow of life.
Something I have been working on is accepting that just because I can, should I?
Sounds funny but it reveals a bigger issue than talent or ability. It gets to a real issue of trust, time management, accurate view of ourselves or abilities.
I kid, but not really. As all of our worlds have expanded, the demands for us to learn more, do more, achieve more, have also increased. Most of us don’t think twice about it. We add to our already too long list and somehow find the time to learn, do, or achieve. We get it done. Perhaps not perfectly, but we get it done enough to take care of what needs to be done. We do that for as long as we can until we reach the task that we could figure it out, but it is going to take more time than we can give it, more resources than we care to spend in time or money, and worst of all, isn’t something we even enjoy doing.
But we have committed to the cause – either to ourselves or to others.
And this is our moment of truth.
This is our moment to take a big breath and take the time to ask all those questions we have put on hold or ignored or pretended weren’t lurking beneath the surface. What questions? you ask. Well, here are the first ones that come to my mind.
Do we take care of ourselves? Do we take care of the expectations of others? Do we look at our tendencies to overextend ourselves? Do we look at how our need to be in charge or control the situation or message is taking time from our lives perhaps more than enriching it? Do we believe that someone else can do it as well as we do? Do we fear someone could do it better and then we might not be necessary? Do we do things to be liked and wonder if we don’t would we still have value? Do we do this to keep us occupied so we don’t look at the bigger questions in our lives? Do we have to push ourselves in order to get things done? Do we keep ourselves constantly busy to avoid things and people in our lives?
We never really stop learning, but the question perhaps needs to see through that which nurtures and sustains us. The question needs to be seen through the filter of where are our genuine talents, and perhaps using those will be more fulfilling than doing something we feel we have to. That accepting we have things we do fabulously and things we really should have or let other people do can free us up to do that which we do best. That it is ok to not do everything, and it is ok to not want to do everything, nor do you, I or we have to do everything. Perhaps it is time to see that which is important to us, see what it is we are willing to give time to or give time up for and appreciate the talents and abilities that we have and are effortless.
That way we can appreciate all the talents and abilities that complement ours, and perhaps find time for ourselves once again.