The Lost Art Of Waiting

The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

31st St Beach 020


Not long ago I needed to fill my car up with gas. All the lines were backed up with at least three to five cars waiting. I pulled into the nearest line and waited my turn. As I got out to gas up I heard horns blasting and a ruckus behind me. Apparently the guy directly behind me cut off four cars to get his gas, and the other patrons were irate. The guy behind him told him he was rude and called him an idiot. However, a guy in the next isle taunted him with names and slurs the entire time I gassed up. My Subaru was empty while the Mercedes who’d cut the others off only needed a splash of gas. The problem for him was this is the type of station that once you reach the pumps you can’t pull around the person in front of you to leave…you must wait. I’m not sure what this guy accomplished other than causing more irritation to himself and others. While I admit, it was in bad taste for the one guy to ride him the whole time, it allowed Mercedes guy time to think about what he’d done. Did he feel a sense of entitlement that he shouldn’t have to wait his turn like the other patrons? Did he not realize he was cutting others off? I didn’t see the actual offense, but only heard about it in the aftermath of accusations. The Accused never offered an apology or excuse. He totally ignored the hecklings while he pumped his gas. Perhaps that was the smarter thing to do though it did not earn him any points with the offended.

I often wonder about people who zip by in traffic and end up waiting at the same stoplights as everyone else. Speeding doesn’t get them where they’re headed any quicker when you’re in a busy city. Perhaps patience, virtue that it is, has also become almost a lost art.

Technology has birthed a “me now” society. People want instant gratification. They want results without waiting. The courtesy of taking turns has blown out with the wind. I do realize there are still many courteous and patient people, but I see less and less evidence of it these days. I mostly hear people complaining about how long something takes rather than how much they enjoyed reading/conversing/resting while they waited.

I try to remember the old adages, “Good things come to those who wait” and “Anything worth doing is worth doing well”. I know when I get hasty or take shortcuts, not only do I make mistakes but I also miss out on living right then and there.

It seems to me I’ve become much more patient as I’ve gotten older. Perhaps it’s one of those life lessons, or maybe practice has paid off. Or maybe I just don’t feel as rushed as I did when I was trying to juggle, home, work, kids, marriage, and a social calendar all at once. How about you? Do you feel you are more or less patient than you once were? What do you think has attributed to the change?

Slow down. Look around. Listen. You never know what you’re missing if you don’t take the time to be aware of life around you.

18 thoughts on “The Lost Art Of Waiting

  1. Waiting is a concrete exercise in sinking into the present. With the advent of technology, our minds and bodies are on overdrive mode. We rush from one task to another in an attempt to create this “busy” life, but I wonder what would happen if we stopped and asked the question, “What are we hurrying for?”

    Good post, Suzicate.

  2. “It seems to me I’ve become much more patient as I’ve gotten older.”

    Me as well, Suzi, because when I was younger I was sooooo impatient. However, I have to admit, I still sometimes get antsy while walking down the city streets and the people in front of me are walking SO SLOW, that I start to get that irritable feeling in my gut like, ” MOVE PEOPLE!” But I always hear a voice inside my head that says, “What’s your hurry Ron, slow down.” So I do.

    Great reminder, my friend. And THANK YOU!


  3. Good thoughts, Suzi. We are an impatient bunch, eh?

    1. Glad the “road rage” at the pumps didn’t end up with shots fired.
    2. My post today is also about waiting ~ w/ a photo of the beach.
    3. I prefer slow and steady and enjoy “wait time” ~ it gives me time to take a breather.
    4. I’ve always been pretty patient but I’m better at waiting now.

  4. Good topic and message. I have noticed the same sorts of things. When I see people fly past me on the Interstate, I often wonder what they do with that extra 25 or 30 minutes. I hope at least one really really important thing, but I doubt it.

    Students in my classes often exhibit this behavior as well. When they email from a portable electronic device they expect an immediate reply–funny though when I do provide a comprehensive reply, they are likely in too much of a rush to read it closely.

  5. Thought provoking post, Suzicate. Those “me first” people are what made life in Orange County, California a challenge, a stressor and unhappy. It was that seemingly prevailing attitude that made us choose this quiet out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere place to retire. Am I more patient now? Yes, somewhat. But I also have much-changed priorities.

    Sent from my iPad


  6. I’m not the most patient person in the world – but wouldn’t dream of taking cuts because it’s not worth the stress. It happened on accident once, but that’s another story 🙂 I hold out hope that patience will find me as I age.

  7. I agree with all that! Unfortunately for many life is about ‘what can i get next’ and ‘how fast can i get it’. Life’s lessons have taught me to be more patient and slow is now my new fast.

      • I am in total agreement! I teach high school seniors.The attitude is I need it now! When will you get that done Ms.? ( even though I have only 250 students) I wonder with this next generation how time and patience will come into play? Technology certainly plays into this. Don’t get me wrong..I am one of those people who are 50/50 in my view of technology in general. I am sort of old school. Some of it I love…some I hate. Do you know how many times I have to asks my students to get off their phones or take them up from not paying attention in class because they are texting or on FB? We even have to turn them into our principals for kids that are not compliant. It is crazy. But, it is what it is. Sometimes I think it is my age, but with this new generation and the technology they have, patience, manners, gentility and waiting will be rare jewels to find in society. But let me end on a positive note, some of these kids are amazing,have the best hearts and loving souls. We still have some of these kiddos that are going to make this world so much better.

      • It’s a beautiful thing to find those wonderful hearts and souls in the mix. I think there are many old souls among us to help us move along.

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