I spent all day yesterday watching the grass grow.
What I learned is that grass really grows slow.
Now I’m hanging around trying to get inspired.
Punch a hole through my cage and I reach out blind.
She said, “Have patience. Everything will be all right.
Have patience. Give it just a little time.
Everything will be all right.”

This is from the song “Patience” by the late Mark Sandman. I started humming this to myself today because I’ve been really battling my impatience lately and his slightly tongue-in-cheek lyrics appeal to me. Let me just say upfront that patience isn’t one of my virtues. I must have gotten tired of waiting in line when it was being handed out.

I often tell people that I have the patience of a gnat on crack. Just take a moment to visualize what that would look like. Do you see it? Well, that’s me, all the time, in virtually every situation. Yesterday at Walgreen’s, the first line I stood in featured a woman who couldn’t decide on which diabetes meter to buy. After about 5 minutes, I tried another line. This time, I was behind a man arguing with the cashier over a coupon for toilet paper. After a couple minutes of this, I went in search of yet another line. This time, I had luck. No diabetes, no coupons. Success.

My impatience isn’t limited to standing in line or being stuck in traffic. I’m impatient with myself too. Take this blog for example. I haven’t known what to write about lately. Nothing has struck me as particularly amusing or annoying and those seem to be the two emotions I need to feel in order to write. (See how annoyance won out today?)

When I’m blocked creatively and in my life in general, I swing between panic and passivity. Both of these lead to impatience because the tick, tick, tick of my life clock gets louder and louder. What have I done with my life? I’m running out of time. I’m too old. I need to get going. This is taking too long. What’s the point? Why bother?

I know the way out of my impatience rests simply in being in the present moment. Patience won’t be found in focusing on where I thought I’d be five years ago or five minutes ago or where I want to be five years from now or five minutes from now. Patience exists when I accept what is. Right now.

Well, shout “Hallelujah” and call me Oprah! Alas, if it was only that easy and I had Oprah’s money. Since it isn’t and I don’t, I have to take baby steps. The first is to take about three minutes and listen to that song from start to finish without thinking that I have something more important to do. Are you with me?

4 thoughts on “Patience

  1. Great song, and great blog! I can totally relate to the frantic feeling of time is a runnin’ full speed ahead and ‘what have I done with my life?’ When I ask the impatient part of me, it answers I should’ve arrived long ago (destination still unknown though always better than THIS…). Funny to hear to speak of drugstore impatience – perhaps we should also be asking, what’s the big hurry?

  2. Thanks, Adele. Yes, “what’s the big hurry?” is a great question to ask. Most of the time, there’s nothing pressing that I have to do or somewhere I have to be. It’s a knee jerk reaction to become impatient. I know that it’s a total waste of energy and a major cause of stress, but yet I continue to allow myself to react this way.

    What’s that definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result? I resemble that definition.

  3. I always appreciate how you are able to talk about yourself in a light hearted way! A good thing! I think “being present” in the moment is a good thing to counter impatience. Also, being curious…being curious about your reactions to things helps with impatience, in my humble opinion. We can discusss more, over a martini!

  4. Thanks, Angie. I appreciate that. I have to temper all the mental and emotional self-flagellation I engage in with a little levity or I would be a very dark girl indeed! I totally agree with the importance of curiosity. I always say that one of the most attractive qualities to me in another person is a sense of curiosity.

    I’m looking forward to that martini. You’re in the home stretch of your journey, my friend. Yay!

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