Do you ever stop and ponder about how much of life we spend waiting? We can’t wait until we start school, then we can’t wait until we get out. We can’t wait until we have kids, then we can’t wait until they start school. We can’t wait for the weather to warm up, then we can’t wait for the weather to cool off. We can’t wait for the baseball season to start, then we can’t wait for the football season to start. We can’t wait for our birthday, we can’t wait for Christmas, we can’t wait for vacation, we can’t wait for that new job, we can’t wait for a raise. We can’t even wait for the red light to change! It would appear that we have a real wait problem.
Yet we realize that usually there is no alternative. Next time a child says “I can’t wait for Christmas.” Try asking them what he or she is going to do about that? Being impatient does not make the light change faster or the hours to pass more quickly. In fact, it appears to make those moments and days drag on even slower.
I will admit that I am not the most patient person and that generally I hate to wait. Just ask my wife how quickly my disposition will change when the cheerful gal at the hostess stand informs us that we will be waiting forty-five minutes to be seated at a restaurant. My initial reaction is to go somewhere else for when in come to restaurants there is almost always an alternative and I am usually ready to look into that alternative. My patience is thinnest at restaurants and I think there are two reasons for this: 1) as noted there are usually suitable alternatives and 2) the wait is just not worth it to me.
I had time to think about waiting today, because I spent a chunk of time waiting. I had an appointment with an eye doctor today. The appointment was for 10:30, I actually saw the doctor about 1:30. As I sat and sat and sat, the other folks in the waiting room became more and more restless and complaints about the wait started to be voiced. You would think that I would be quick to join in, but not this time. Did I suddenly become a patient person? Was I enjoying the waiting room? Were they playing my kind of Muzak or have my favorite programs on the television? No. No. No and No.
It is the exact opposite of the reasons why I am so impatient at a restaurant for why I was patient at the doctor’s office today. I have a little hereditary “present” from my Mother in my eyes. This doctor is very good with this issued (in fact one of the few that knows what he is looking at when he looks at my eyes). So 1) there are very few alternatives for waiting for this doctor and 2) having experienced the difference that going to this doctor makes to my vision I figure that a few hours of waiting is a good trade for several years of improved eyesight.
So, the moral of this story, for me to remember is don’t get too stressed out about waiting. Some things, like waiting for an event to come, there are no alternatives to waiting no matter what we do. For the others like restaurants and doctors, just decide if it is worth it and wait it out or pick a suitable alternative.