Hurry up and wait

Ticking clockDeadlines. Timestamps. Alarms. We have the world at our fingertips and have learned to tune our lives to the tick of the clock. Yet, no matter how many seconds we plan, there is always an element of surprise; one thing that is out of our control. Something that always messes up our perfectly-planned days. We hurry through life, just to end up waiting.

We wake up to an alarm to get to work on time, but traffic requires us to wait.

We schedule a doctor appointment at the top of the hour, told to get there 15 minutes early, and then wait for nearly an hour before being seen.

We work hard to get a project done by our manager’s specified timeline, but when we hand it over, we find out that it is no longer a priority that day. So, our project gets added to a stack of papers to wait its turn.

When this happens, it is easy to become frustrated. And it is no wonder we coin this philosophy with humor and sarcasm --- our lives become a game of chess; we become soldiers to the clock, timing our every move.

It wasn’t until recently as I was preparing for an important meeting when “hurry up and wait” taught me some serious valuable lessons. As details about the meeting kept changing, causing delays, I learned about PGA: Patience. Gratitude. Acceptance.

  1. Patience. Our lives don’t have to operate on the 24-hour clock. Wait, what?! Read that again: Our lives don’t have to operate on the 24-hour clock. Yes. Exactly that. We can hurry, rush, plan, prepare, and schedule our days down to the minute and hour, but no matter how much we do so, there will always be at least one thing each day that doesn’t go as planned. And that is okay.
  2. Gratitude. While working really hard to finish a task only to have it sit on the back burner is REALLY frustrating, “hurry up and wait” has taught me to appreciate the additional time I have been given. By the time that said task is given priority, it’s likely circumstances have changed, but the extra time has allowed me to prepare for it. This extra time can also be met with a simple smile -- you worked hard and now you can take a deep breath and relax a little!
  3. Acceptance. The virtue I learn most during “hurry up and wait” scenarios is acceptance. I can only control myself --- I cannot control others or even time itself. The sayings “it is what it is,” “things happen for a reason,” and “things will work out how they are meant to” encourage us to accept a situation for what it is. Once you are able to be at peace with the situation, you can almost feel the frustration and stress melt off your shoulders.

So, that is how I learned my PGAs. How about you? How do you handle “hurry up and wait” situations?

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