Ever sat back and thought about how much of your life you spend waiting? Waiting for the mail to come, waiting for someone to return home, waiting for lunchtime, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for a holiday, waiting for your moment to arrive…
Kind of sad really. Whilst we’re busy waiting, our life is passing us by without a second thought.
Thinking about the future isn’t a BAD thing. Having plans and setting goals are essential to our motivation, drive and sense of being. But filling up all our todays with the notion that tomorrow will bring bigger and better things can be dangerous. After all, tomorrow becomes today when it arrives, so it’s really not a maintainable approach.
If you’re in the early months (ok…years) of parenting and stuck in the mode of “survival waiting” (waiting to sleep, waiting to eat, waiting for your partner to return home and save you from your sleep-deprived self), I feel for you. It is really hard and it can do really nasty things to your motivation and sense of self. You can get lost in the cycle of waiting – and forget almost completely at times to enjoy the moment you are in. I know that talk is cheap, and that most things are easier said than done…but if you can try to remind yourself that things WILL get easier, that the time WILL pass without you needing to sit and watch the clock, and all the things you are waiting for will eventually arrive, it may help bring you back into the living moment. Try to stop focusing on passing the time and start focusing on enjoying the moment for what it brings.
Again, I know, not the sort of stuff you need someone telling you when you’ve got a screaming newborn in your arms and you’re functioning on an hour’s sleep…Perhaps reserve the “survival waiting” for moments like these?
As a parent I’ve found myself saying these sorts of things on a regular basis:
It’ll be easier when they are sleeping through the night. It’ll be easier when they can feed themselves. It’ll be easier when they can talk, walk, dress themselves, explain what’s hurting, tell me when they’re hungry…the list goes on and on. It is so easy to fall into this cycle of thinking, and I’m sure it’s pre-programmed in us to get us through the tough times. But…and I know I risk coming out sounding like an annoying twat, the time really does pass so quickly. Before you know it they’re off to kindy, dressing themselves and telling you the “right” way to cook their dinner and fix their hair. We can waste away a lot of these precious baby moments whilst we’re focused on waiting for the next phase to start. And besides, the reality is that no matter how much hope you are pinning on the next phase solving your current difficulties it will inevitably bring with it its own set of unique challenges.
There are many other types of waiting, “sanity waiting” for the kids to go to bed so you have you time out, gather your thoughts and do stuff for yourself. There’s “fear waiting” for the perfect time to follow your dreams, indulge your passions, take that leap of faith. There’s “anticipation waiting” for the holiday, the weekend, the next big event. No matter what type of waiting it is, it all comes back to the same dilemma. Whilst we’re busy waiting, our focus is taken away from the given moment. Sometimes that moment is bad. Sometimes it’s boring. Sometimes it’s tough. Sometimes it doesn’t bear thinking about. But sometimes it is great, precious, unable to be captured… sometimes it’s beautiful.
So let’s try to stop this waiting game, or at least put the brakes on it a little bit. The time is now. Enjoy it, indulge in it, live it, survive it, treasure it and put your faith in knowing that everything will continue to tick along in the background with or without you urging it along.