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Waiting is a learned skill.  It may be practiced at any time or place and is considered one of the pre-eminent skills to have in your repertoire.


Bus stops come to mind right away when I contemplate waiting.  I walked to school until age 12 when my family moved and I had to  take the bus to school, which was clear across town.  Walking to the bus stop was okay, but standing in the rain and coordinating the umbrella, boots, books and lunch was always a feat extraordinaire and for some reason no one had thought of backpacks – yet!

When I lived in Cleveland, I took a city bus to everything, even the train to downtown, and I learned the lesson of wind chill factors and frost bite.  In college I took the bus several times to get home, which was a several day journey involving transfers and passes, drunken riders and waiting.  The words bus stop and waiting go hand in hand for me and they are both less than desirable experiences.

I now attempt to have nearly every tool I can possible have at my disposal before I anticipate waiting for anything.  Pen, paper, notebooks, books, DS player, and my laptop accompany nearly everywhere I go whenever I leave the house.

I plan every minute I think I will have available to me… and then a few extra or greet another person who is also waiting and attempt to have a small conversation.  I can even do short deep breathing and relaxation exercises – quietly and not disturb anyone and then remember great writing ideas if they pop into my conscientiousness.

Waiting is a learned skill.  My father was a formidable teacher in this area.  Leaving my mother, my siblings and me to fend for hours on our own (often in the lounges of parking garages in big cities) because he thought his meeting would be over about noon; he did not appear until four hours later.  Someone always had a problem to be solved or just needed his expertise on one more thing.

My school of waiting was the school of timelessness and my mother’s diligent preparations.  We read signs and answered math questions that she thought up and I found every church library in a hurry. We had no cell phones to re-coordinate the plans.

Waiting is an active experience – not a passive one.  Children must be taught, although with every skill some master it quickly and others need more direction.

We live in kind of a JELLO time zone.  Instant gratification and immediate results seem so important.  Why information is just pouring out onto the Internet at a truly staggering pace.  Why must we wait for anything?

We need to learn to wait because the best things come to those who wait?  Well maybe in a sense.  We need to learn to wait to understand time.  We need to learn to wait to allow our brain to gather the entire spectrum it needs to integrate ideas into an overview.  We need to learn to wait to help us mull and grow into a new creation – it is the cycle of all of life.

We are in a season of waiting.  Waiting for the old year to end and a new to begin, waiting for the darkness to recede and the days to grow longer, waiting for the leaders to figure out the problems and help us understand and we are waiting to discover the new self that is germinating within us.

We know if we wait long enough the days will grow in length and the light will return and new vision will sprout forth.   In our frenzied atmosphere it seems to me that we are cheating our children out of the lessons of waiting.  I must ask myself what is it I truly want – a quickie, slow cooking or aged to perfection?  I do recognize there is a choice.

What do you think is the goal of waiting? How do we teach our children to wait?
How do you wait?  And what is your best method of integrating ideas?
What does an aged to perfection life look like to you?

17 Responses to “Waiting”

  1. Betsy Wuebker Says:

    Hi Patricia – In an era when immediacy is king, deferments can seem annoying and wasteful. We’re used to getting what we want when we want it. When we wait, though, we have a chance to plan and dream. When we are truly in the moment, waiting in a line or for a plane is a welcome interlude. And you’re right about the seasonal aspects of waiting. . . winter can seem like one giant waiting room, but we rob ourselves of its cold beauty if we only look ahead. Good post.

    Betsy Wuebkers last blog post..HOW FAITHFUL ARE THY BRANCHES . . .

  2. meggin Says:

    Good writing! Amazing how my dear elders at work are unaccustomed to waiting…especially for food. I take it as a compliment, but the kitchen staff gets upset! That is why I love my job of being able to help them all pass the time as I go from table to table listening to their numerous stories! That makes me want time to stand still! :)

  3. Dot Says:

    I’ve never been good at waiting, but now that I’m unable to drive any more (no peripheral vision), I must take the bus to go anywhere and you’re right, it’s a miserable experience. I have learned not to expect the bus to adhere to a schedule. You must just wait until it shows up, not until the schedule says it will. That took me a year.

    I don’t seem to be able to carry enough to keep me occupied, or else I haven’t got a convenient place to do it. I guess I have a lot to learn about patience.

    My best way to integrate ideas is to do something right-brained that keeps me from thinking too much.

    As for “aged to perfection,” I’m trying not to use the “perfect” concept. Instead, I try to use “good enough.” Aged good enough would be applying the ideas I’ve got for what I want to turn myself into.

    Dots last blog post..How to Get Published

  4. Vered - MomGrind Says:

    I agree that the best way to deal with waiting is to turn it into time you can use. I used to read while waiting. Now I listen to my ipod which may not be useful, but it relaxes me. So I use idle time for relaxation.

  5. Patricia Says:

    – Betsy, “In an era when immediacy is king….”this statement feels so true to me and makes it so hard to be in the present moment. Waiting and integrating ideas are learned skills and they just take time…
    – Meggin, I can just picture you visiting with everyone as they wait for their arrival of their yummy food…you just appreciate each person with such grace and joy…you are nourishment personified.
    – Dot, bus waiting is the pits! and I love your idea of aged “good enough”….I grew up with lots of perfectionist around and I was so different I could never meet their standards…now I don’t try to any more…I find my own definitions as you are doing – here! here! my hats off to you

    -Vered, I am sometimes so driven it is hard for me to relax, but relaxing is such a vital part of living well…One thing I do when walking the Lake and I can’t relax into my motion, is to count my foot steps….I think it is the same principle as counting sheep to fall asleep. As I learn to relax and I get my words on paper and post – my blood pressure is balancing to normal! Thanks for your good words

  6. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia. This was well said. I agree with you about making the most of our waiting time, but… I don’t enjoy waiting. I like to keep moving and if I’m forced to wait I get impatient. It’s a good exercise to practice that art of being in the NOW isn’t it? That’s what waiting teaches me… when I allow it to :-)

    Davinas last blog post..Future Self Meditation Invites Guidance

  7. Patricia Says:

    Hi Davina,
    Waiting is a crucial skill and I feel like it is a lost art form…I used to hear that “good things come to those who wait” but that is not repeated often these days. I am really restless when I have to wait…enjoyed your comments

  8. Barbara Swafford - Blogging Without A Blog Says:

    Hi Patricia – Over the years I’ve learned to be prepared for situations where I’m going to have to wait. I’ll take a book, notepad and pen, however, I often end up people watching instead.

    When I drive I don’t like waiting in traffic jams. Fortunately in our city I’ve learned the back streets and take different routes to get to my destination.

    I agree with what you said. Learning to wait can become a great personality trait. I also think children need to learn the concept as it teaches patience.

    Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blogs last blog post..Are You A Blogger or A Gossip

  9. Jeremy Day Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    A lost art form this waiting is. When I know I have a time that I will have to wait I prepare for it. By bringing a book or other such thing to occupy my time. I do like to ponder life as well and go well into my thoughts. I don’t like being forced to wait, but if it comes, I try to not be angry and make the most of it.


    Jeremy Days last blog post..Health Week: The Best Morning Exercise Routine

  10. Patricia Says:

    Hello Barbara – thank you for coming by and commenting, yes yes i believe that waiting is a learned skill…
    I love that you know all the back roads and short cuts…and being good at being prepared is always the icing on the cake…
    No wonder patience is a virtue, but then again when one manages to learn patience the reward is more patience ( not always a good thing :) )

  11. deb Says:

    Thanks to a very good friend and a teacher that I know, I try to be prepared with knitting projects while I am waiting

  12. Patricia Says:

    Deb – you are amazing and your knitting is looking great :)
    Thank you for your comments

  13. Patricia Says:

    Having computer problems, sorry it took me awhile to moderate your comment, but thank you for coming by and welcome. I will go to your site and subscribe today…I attempted to do that last night but I could not get it to happen…I think our ice storm and cold weather is causing me some computer problems…always a problem at high tide – but maybe severe cold also!
    I enjoyed you writing and your site.
    like reading blogs too while I am waiting!

  14. Carla Says:

    While waiting, I like to try to close my eyes and take deep breaths and just be (if possible). Writing is also another new pastime of mine. Journal writing, writing goals, lists of things I need to do, lists of things I need to purchase, etc. Other things such as knitting, Blackberry (CrackBerry) Yoga stretching, etc also helps.

    Carlas last blog post..Why New Year’s resolutions dont work | Blogroll

  15. Patricia Says:

    Carla, you have a great many waiting tools and I appreciate you adding to my list of possibilities for future reference.
    I hope someday to have a Blackberry so I can read blogs while waiting on the go…right now I can only access that good reading material while using my desktop computer…I think I might get one for my birthday…I am waiting to see!

  16. Jannie Says:

    I thought Tom Petty had said it best when he sang “The waiting is the hardest part” but your eloquent post is giving him a run for his (MUCH,) money, especially the line “We are in a season of waiting.”

    Part of the reason I don’t tweet, or twit, is is just seems so super instantly gratifying and I am very suspicious of that whole concept. I ask myself, “Why?” But maybe I don’t understand the whole Twitter rage.

    At Kelly’s school they have a three-fold philosophy and one point involves persistence in the face of initial difficulty leading to success. That’s why I think it’s so important for every kid to study a musical instrument for years.

    How do I wait? Used to with pen and paper. Now I am lucky enough to never have to wait much, maybe in airports sometimes.

    At night when I wait to get to sleep I listen to song files on my little digital recorder, ideas I have for songs, blog post musings. Helps me drift right off.

    An aged to perfection life? I’ve got a couple theories, but I’ll let you know when I get there.

    Jannies last blog post..Yeah, Cindy Lou Who?

  17. Patricia Says:

    Always wonderful to find your comment here waiting for me to dig out of the snow tonight and find your words.
    Thank you again for the lovely compliment – never been compared to Tom Petty before –
    I don’t get Twitter but I find that lots of writers use it to get their work published and paid for…so maybe I need to work on this

    love your waiting practice and musical instrument examples…I think they are very important too. We had a piano and my kiddos spent lots of time sitting on the bench and working on music.

    Looking forward to you aged to perfection theories…let me know when you post them1
    Thank you