Tuesday, April 21, 2015

No Patience for Patience!

There is a reason why I don't like to fish, play golf, read long, drawn out books that go on and on and on, shop on Black Friday or go to amusement parks when it's crazy busy. Yes, there is a very good reason - I don't have a patient bone in my body - not one! I was reminded of this today as I waited at the check-out line at Michael's. I was already running late to my son's doctor's appointment as I took my place in line. I had a choice - line 1 or line 2. Well, line 1 looked shorter and the people in line 1 only possessed a few items, so I waited (in line 1 of course). I watched, and soon became frustrated as the check-out guy slowly rang up each item and then s.l.o.w.l.y bagged each item. He even took his time wrapping a plastic drink cup ever soooo s.l.o.w.l.y. I wanted to go up there and help him so I could get out of the store and on my way. Then, as luck would have it, the woman in front of me had a return. In her small bag was a multitude of small silk flowers, all intertwined with each other. "Sorry, I just need to figure out how to do this," he said as he stared at the computer screen. Oh boy, lucky me! I looked over to line 2 which was moving quite quickly and thought, maybe I should move over there. But then I thought, If I move over there, then that line will slow and this will speed up and it will take even longer (I was soooo wrong!). It took the check-out guy forever to process this transaction and then, on top of the return, the woman had something to purchase. When he told her how much it was, she couldn't seem to find the correct amount of change in her purse. "Oh dear, now how many cents do I owe you?" she said while fishing slowly through her purse. I really thought my head was going to explode. But, these things never happen when you have the time for them - it's always when you are running late, when you have somewhere else to be!

After I finally get sprung from the store, I do the frantic drive to the doctor's office (my son is not in the car - he's already at the office, thank goodness). I have to get on the freeway and, low and behold, it must be "drive as slow as you can" day - I did not get that memo. I don't understand why people drive 10+ miles under the speed limit on the freeway - use the damn back roads if you don't like to keep up with traffic! (Sorry, I tried to hold that in but I just couldn't). I was grateful to have an empty car so I could yell my most used phase "WTF, gas is on the right!" As I zoomed in and out of traffic, with an elevated heart rate and an urge to begin pulling the hair out of my head. Well, the good news is, I made it and I didn't get a ticket. The bad news? My lack of patience didn't get me anywhere but completely frustrated!

Yes, patience. It's something that you either have or you don't (at least that's my opinion). I don't know if you can really learn to have patience. My grandfather was the most patient person I have ever known. He was never in a hurry and never rushed something or someone along. I am reminded of one of my favorite parts in Evan Almighty when Evan tells God that he prays for patience but he never gets it, and God replies by saying something to the effect of "I don't give patience, I give you the opportunity to be patient." I guess you could say, God has given me a shit load of opportunities, I just don't have the patience to learn how to be patient. As a matter of fact, I don't even know if I will have enough patience to finish this blog post (or that could be my ADD).

I had to think about why I am always so impatient, why I am always in a rush and why I can't just take some of these obstacles as a sign to slow down. Whenever I am stuck behind a slow car I think to myself, maybe this is God's way of telling me to slow it down, take a breath and realize that nothing is so important to risk my safety or sanity over.

Some of my reasons why I am so impatient:

1. I HATE to be late! And when I run late, everyone seems to be in my way. Why am I usually late? Poor time management, others with poor time management or unexpected traffic. Most can be avoided but sometimes I am at the mercy of others who I have no patience for!

2. My time is important to me. If I am stuck in traffic, I think of all the things I could be doing, constructive things like writing, reading, working out, did I mention writing? Or, in the case of Black Friday, sleeping. I don't like to waste time, maybe due to the fact that I am getting older and there is less of it.

3. I like instant gratification. I have never played a real round of golf because I know, by the second hole, I would be dropping the ball in the cup and moving to the next. It's too slow paced for me, not enough action and excitement to trick my mind into thinking that what I am doing is a real active activity. Even when I go for a walk, I feel the need to run because I can get from point A to point B faster, more efficiently. I also don't like to cook anything that takes days to make because, like the girl in Willie Wonka, "I want it now!"

I am sure there are more, but I am losing my patience at the fact that I keep losing my train of thought, making this blog take longer to write than it should.

The world today is very fast paced and with so much at our literal fingertips, we have become more efficient and expectant. Why wait to send a letter via snail mail when you can send an email and have it arrive the moment you press send? Why wait a week or two for something you ordered to arrive at your doorstep, when you can order it on Amazon Prime and get it in less than two days? Why spend time preparing a meal no one will really appreciate when you can go to Costco and have it ready for the oven? With so many ways to be instantly gratified, many, including me, have lost any patience for things that take longer than they should. Will my children be even more impatient than me? Will each generation expect more? Will road rage and other acts of impatience and intolerance rise as technology aims to "make our lives easier"? Unfortunately, probably.

How do I teach myself patience? I looked that up, and there is no instant fix for what I desire. Patience comes from doing things that take time. Some of the suggestions are as follows:

1. Relax by deep breathing to clear your mind.
2. Let it go - if you can't do anything about what is triggering your impatience, then there's no point in freaking out.
3. See the big picture: Remind yourself that things take time and remember what matters most. With patience you will eventually get what you need. It helps to have a positive outlook for this to be successful.
4. Take a step back: expect the unexpected. When things feel like they are out of control, take a literal break, (I would call this a time-out). There are just some things that are unattainable and we can't beat ourselves up over it.
5. Take yoga! Taking an entire hour out of your hectic day to focus on you (and no one else), helps to calm the inner chaos as well as lower blood pressure and strengthen your core.

So, there you have it! I'm already feeling relaxed and patient (mainly because my kids are in bed and my husband just poured me a glass of red wine!). If you struggle with your lack of patience, you are not alone! What do you do to stay patient in times of mayhem?

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