Monday, April 2, 2012

Patience Makes Life So Much Easier

“Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success.”
- Brian Adams -

I used to live in a big city where impatience, rudeness, frantic rushing and stress were the day to day norm for most people. But not for all. Certainly not for me. I was the big city girl that was miraculously able to wait patiently in lines, in waiting rooms or in traffic jams until my turn (or the opportunity to move forward) came up. Even in the most frustratingly-long check-out lines, I remained remarkably calm while the nerves of many shoppers around me were on the verge of snapping. I didn’t huff and puff and try to blow the customer in front of me down. I didn’t sigh heavily. I didn’t fidget. I din’t even look tense. I just waited, for as long as I had to. Quietly.

There was no great secret or inherent ability to my patience; it was relatively simple: I stayed calm by keeping myself occupied, which in turn kept me from getting frustrated. Because the way I looked at it, why get all bent out of shape about something you can’t do much about? I mean, when I was stuck in a traffic jam, would bouncing up and down in my seat, swearing like a truck driver, beeping my horn frantically, foaming at the mouth or crying like a baby have changed anything? Not a thing; I’d still be stuck in my car - and completely out of my mind. So didn’t it make more sense for me to keep busy by listening to the radio, chatting with passengers or daydreaming about tropical vacations, all of which helped pass the time and kept me sane? I certainly thought so.


It’s not that I never became impatient or annoyed or anxious. I did. Or that I was never pressed for time. I was. But when I knew that there was absolutely nothing I could do about a bad situation, I made the best of it. Furthermore, when I knew in advance that it would probably end up being a bad situation, I prepared for it. For instance: when I had to renew my passport, driver’s license or health care card, I knew that there was a good chance I’d be held hostage for awhile until the second coming at the government office (aka: the black hole) that I had to haul my butt over to. So instead of freaking out when they called out number 25 as I held 132, I whipped out the book I’d brought along and spent the time reading. And since I’m an avid reader that practically inhales books that suited me fine.

Most medical offices, dental clinics and hospital waiting rooms were courteous enough to offer an assortment of things to read. In these places I didn’t need to bring along anything to keep me busy, unless I really wanted to. Oh sure, many times the reading material in these locations was slightly outdated, but usually still interesting. When I took public transport such as the bus, metro or train, I always brought a backpack along stuffed with magazines and books to flip through. (Of course, why three magazines and two novels that I haven’t even started yet is necessary on a 15 or 20-minute trip is still beyond me; I barely had time to finish a couple of articles in a magazine.)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though I hated waiting as much as the next person, I refused to lose my cool. Still do. It doesn’t take as much effort anymore to stay composed since I now live in a much smaller city where the pace is a great deal slower, but there are times when we drive back to our previous area to visit friends and family members, and I feel the big city tension wrapping itself around me. And I realize that it wouldn’t take much to get sucked into it and become frustrated and aggressive. Thank goodness I learned to be patient somewhere along the way. I’m not sure how I could have survived the big city, otherwise.

How about you? Are you patient?

I had to include this! It's just too darn funny.

8 comments:

  1. I can accept waiting when it's something like a plane delay or being stuck in traffic. Like you I usually find something else to do or get my Kindle going! But the thing that really still annoys me is when I'm in a long queue and the person in front keeps asking stupid questions and tries to engage the person behind the counter in inane chit-chat etc. THAT drives me crazy, because they know there's a long queue behind them and they're being blatantly inconsiderate! Oh what a grumpy little Kitty I can be in those circumstances Martha!

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    1. Oh yes, the person that has no consideration for the people waitig. That definitely can try your patience! I can picture you sharpening your kitty nails in line as the frustration level rises...LOL...

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  2. I am a mix. Sometimes I can be patient... other times I am not. Though in public I don't make a huff and puff scene. I have several times, set the items I am trying to purchase off to the side and leave. I don't like being "rude" but many places don't even seem concerned that there is a line. If someone would just come up and say "folks we are going to have another cashier in a minute" that would be different. But it is the fact that they seem to not care that makes all the difference to me.


    I also have zero patience with other drivers. I don't mean traffic jams, that stuff happens. It is the drivers that pull out in front of you then drive 15 miles below the speed limit. This happens almost every day. I wonder if God is trying to teach me a patience lesson. :P

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    1. Driving is certainly something to test patience levels. I used to hate driving when I lived in a big city; it was like driving in a video game where your aim was to stay alive. Things are different here. I find the drivers more courteous. As for the lack of cashiers or proper service, yes, that could be certainly test your patience.

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  3. I learned to have patience waiting in lines or at the doctor's office when my children were much younger. Most often this would happen while I was on my own without the children. I used these opportunities to have "quiet time" where I snatched a few moments to myself (being exhausted) while I was waiting. If the children were with me (like at the grocery store), I would give them a box of macaroni & cheese and we would make rhythms with them by shaking them. This may have irritated people around us, but it amused me and my children. Most often, my kids would sing and laugh too.

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    1. A doctor's office will definitely teach you some patience. Some of them are often filled with people, and you don't really have much of a choice but to wait. Reading is always my favourite thing to do during those times. The macaroni & cheese idea sounds like fun! Yes, I can imagine people around you being irritated, particularly if they've never been parents. After I had my kids, things like that didn't bother me. The only time I'm bothered by kids is when I'm in a restaurant and they are running around all over the place, disturbing other customers and getting under the feet of servers - while their parents do nothing! That certainly tests my patience!

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  4. Like yourself Martha, I consider myself to be a pretty patient person. I think it comes not from moving to a large city (I now live in one) bur from moving across the country in my mid-twenties with two little children, to a very small rural community. We had no family there and usually didn't see them but once a year. When I look back on it, I can vividly remember how hard it was to be so isolated and newly married (with all the problems that brings, lol) but it made me much stronger and self-sufficient than I ever would have been had we stayed in the 'nest'. I bring a book wherever I go and I have a vivid imagination! People-watching is one of my favourite sports. Your attitude is a wise one: why get upset over something you can't change.

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  5. That would certainly teach anyone patience - and self-sufficiency! That must have been quite a difficult, albeit character-building, period in your young life. I do some people watching, but spend more time reading than anything else. People watching is huge with my husband; he really seems to enjoy that. And he notices the most interesting things about individuals. He says that he likes to look at people, REALLY look at them.

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