So, I googled the word “patience” today.
It is a word that I enjoy tucking under the covers of my bed before sweetly cooing it dead-asleep. It is a word that I kindly refuse to accept second helpings of when an employer squashes my demands for more. It is a word that I conveniently dispose of in a trashcan outside of the Denver International Airport right before I stride into the building and instinctively demand that my needs be handled with a level of importance that would leave Kanye West stunned and speechless. It is a word that I politely giggle at as I press my lips into glass number 2 of pear-scented sauvignon blanc before the first hour of drinking has elapsed.
Patience. My jaw bones met at a slightly closer proximity when I read the definition for patience: “The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”
Those last two beloved words. Angry or Upset.
Who’s angry here? Not me! I’m not angry or upset! I’m just…in a hurry. I don’t have time…I need what I need and I need it right now, ok? I’m still a very patient person. I deal with unreasonably impatient people alllll the time so there’s really no way I could be one of them, you see?
This is the orchestra of dialogue broadcasting throughout my headspace.
And it’s crazy, really. Maybe I’m a little crazy. Honestly, until I sat down to write this post, I never truly realized how much I rationalize and exempt myself from the actual practice of…patience! The more I learn about myself, the more skilled I am at developing an awareness of the dead giveaways that signal my lack of patience in any given moment. So, I devised a few helpful trail signs in order to identify those moments when I am absolutely and utterly tossing patience to the wind.
[ Caution: You are Now Entering Tunnel Vision. ] With the beauty of tunnel vision, I am suddenly and completely at the mercy of my little Anna-monster brain who screams, “Me, me, me, me! Pick meee!” Um, she’s a handful. Suddenly, it’s the Anna show. Anna-this, Anna-that, Anna is probably the most under-appreciated and the most righteous person on the planet, Anna 24-7!!! (Caution: After further review, these facts were not found to be supported by any scientific testing whatsoever.) Tunnel vision pairs really well with a lack of intimate relationships, job insecurity, and over-roasted black coffee from Starbuck’s.
[ Alert: Bridge is Slippery when Wet ] When the floods roll in and completely drench me with challenging opportunities for growth and self-discipline, there is a very likely possibility that I will suddenly feel squeamish and off-balance on the corresponding path of these rain waters. I’ll notice myself plotting the vague details of my next life in Australia (All you really need to do is buy a plane ticket, Anna.), perusing job listings using very descriptive key words such as, “job” and asking myself whether or not I could be the next Instagrammer to declare #cavelife as trendy. It’s almost as if someone stuffed and spring-loaded me with a thousand silly straws. When I’m doused with a storm of real-life adult challenges, the straws bounce out of me all at once and in every opposite direction. Pretty fun, hey?
[ Storm Advisory: Tornado in the Area ] Have you ever longed for the opportunity to chase a mid-west tornado across the prairies of southern Minnesota? Well, search no more because with a complete lack of patience, I create my very own, highly personalized brand of tornado! To catch wind of this trail, all I have to do is look behind me and observe all of the bodies, trash, and residual gossip looming in the air (What is that…SMELL?!). Basically, I notice myself treating people like disposable objects as I correspondingly treat myself like a garbage can. I drink and eat whatever and however much I want as I catch everyone up on my adventures in self-pity and resilience in dealing with that asshole over there. I’d venture to say that it’s rather easy to pinpoint just how quickly the tornado turns me into a self-distructing planet of impatience (5 minutes, max).
These are just a few of the trail warnings that I run into when my abilities to wait and sit still completely implode in on themselves. Truly, as much as I would love to step up into the seat of some glitzy self-righteous throne and tell you that I’m actually a star-player in the game of patience, I truly and honestly suck at it most of the time. I don’t always give relationships enough time to blossom before I prematurely and greedily pull out their roots. I don’t always extend enough grace for coworkers and bosses even if I was the one who messed up in the situation and just need to learn from my mistakes. I don’t always sit still in one location because I am convinced that somewhere out there, an unknown destination is longing for me just as much as I am longing for it while the neighbors downstairs conduct their 3rd boisterous party of the week. Finally, I don’t usually remind myself that I can always eat more tomorrow as I contemplate eating that second piece of almond-orange baklava after already consuming a full plate of food plus one helping of dessert (Literally, nuts.)
I struggle with patience, ok?
And I won’t pretend to package this post up with a pretty little inspirational quote or an easy to repeat mantra to start your morning with. But I will say that the act of writing out all of my own warning signs has helped me laugh and lighten up a little.
Yea, I’m not perfect but when I’m done throwing an impatient fit, I will choose to love me enough to pat myself on the head and ask, “Are you ready to go home now?” I will choose to love myself all over again. I will choose to be patient with myself. And maybe, just maybe, my patience for everything and everyone else around me will slowly start to expand like a wet sponge.