Waiting

Had to wait today and yesterday, not for anything very pleasurable or unique. It was a wait for an orthopaedic doctor at a hospital. No, I am not disclosing where, because that for now, is irrelevant.

I often prize myself for being patient most times. Wiling away time at airports and doctor offices, twiddling my thumbs when waiting for visitors and officials, and waiting for my children to return from their occasional get togethers, is my forte.  Although the last one has often made me somewhat nervous, I think I have been quite cool and collected in these situations. Is that because I am inherently lazy and lackadaisical, and lack a sense of urgency? No, no. Not at all! I always bring something useful and of personal interest to me to do, as I wait. Like right now, as I wait for the ortho surgeon, I opted to pen down my thoughts on ‘waiting’ and philosophize on the art and science of waiting.

What is this phenomenon called ‘waiting’? To me, it seems to be the art of postponing the here and now, the urgent, the immediate, and the art of exercising one’s patience, fortitude, and positivity to think kindly of what is to come. Anticipation of the outcome of the’ wait’ has to be a measured response to the Tick Tock of your particular timer, whether the latter is on your wrist on a watch or on a fit bit, on your smart or un-smart phone, or on the wall in the path of your vision. A number of emotional variables are at play here. The more one has to wait, one must be able to attribute the delay to extraneous factors rather than to carelessness or letharginess of the person or thing you are waiting for.

It all boils down to your understanding of the extenuating conditions of the thing or person responsible for the thing you are waiting for.  You may wait for your printer to start, your flight to arrive, your doctor to show up after their rounds, your spouse to finally be ready, or for your fracture to start healing (grrr)!

Emotional intelligence! Yes, understanding of your emotional state and monitoring it, and understanding the emotions and circumstances of others, is crucial. You need to be able to empathize with the situations and internal dispositions of others, and thus, use all this to be good at maintaining relationships.

So, who are the ones that find it tough to wait? Personality type A, for sure. Folks that have a Type A personality have this keen sense of time urgency, are very particular about getting things done on time and tend to get somewhat angry, impatient and hostile with people who don’t do things right and on time. ‘Waiting’ is absolutely not in the preferred vocabulary of type A individuals.  Words and expressions such as ‘hang fire’ , ‘mark time’ , ‘kill time’ , ‘cool one’s heels’, and the like are not favored by any means.  No wonder some folks get explosive of they are asked to wait.

All in all, however, depending on where you reside, you get used to the ways of the surroundings. Highly productive cultures and high performance establishments cannot afford to sit quietly waiting for things to happen. Individuals there have to be proactive and go-getters. They do not thrive if asked to linger and delay. On the other hand, those who can master the art of patience and can relax and tarry while the world tries to figure out what needs to go on next, thrive in conditions where people are laid back and calm.

It’s all a matter of wait and see, I suppose! Normally, I ‘enjoy’ waiting because it gives me a chance to get away from the rat race of doing this and that and keeping scores on time, and rushing hither and thither. I get immense pleasure of just winding down and being creative any time I have to wait. Previously, I used to take my work like my marking, my laptop, my lesson plans or a text book and kill the wait time that way. Now, I take a book to read, a note book to write my thoughts in, or my smart phone to call people and be creative with relationships. As I said elsewhere, it’s good to be able to adjust one’s expectations and go with the flow. To wait and how to wait. Not, to wait or not to wait!

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