Don’t wait to be happy. It doesn’t work. If you’re only ever waiting for this to happen or that to happen and then you’ll be happy, it only means that your happiness represents a fleeting moment of circumstance, and then you’ll want something more.
Still, in life, a little waiting is inevitable. Not just the waiting in the queue at the passport office, but the waiting that is pregnancy, or waiting for exam results, or for a job opportunity to open up. Waiting for the change of circumstance that means you can (realistically) dream again. You know, the gnawing at your soul kind of waiting that makes time trickle by and can turn mornings into despair if you let it.
So here is my helpful list of things to do while you wait.
- Skill up. If you have a dream you want to achieve, are there skills you will need when you get there? Skills that you will need to get you there? Skills you can break up and learn about, and practice where you are now. That’s what this blog has been about – learning to give myself a voice.
- Skill out. Do something completely different. Learn something random. I learnt to crochet from a magazine and YouTube videos. The challenge of acquiring a new skill took my mind away from the thing I was waiting for, and now I use crochet to relax. Double win. (Potentially triple win, since I can crochet some of my Christmas gifts.)
- Help somebody. Look around you. There will be people in your life, or near it, that you can help. Sure, it’s not very British, but that’s what makes it so rewarding. You can listen to somebody over a cup of coffee, and tell them that this too will pass. And remind yourself in the process. Sometimes people don’t need your skills, or your advice. They just need your time.
- Teach somebody. Of course, sometimes people do need your skills. So next time you make a tasty sausage casserole for the group of students that you know, include the recipe. And your contact details, so they can ask you for help when they get it wrong.
- Find another way to get to where you’re going. Don’t become so obsessed with getting the one thing the one way, that you miss the opportunity of the scenic route. Sure you could try and do it the way that everybody else has done it, or you could explore a little. Knock on some other doors.
- Remember. You’ve had to wait for things in the past, and they have been worth the wait. You have set yourself goals, and achieved them. If nothing else, you learnt to read, and work a computer, and wake up and face each new day. Sometimes that’s enough of an accomplishment on its own. Sure you’re waiting, and it feels like you have a long way to go, but remember how far you have come.
- Don’t forget about today. About the things you do have. We can become so obsessed about the waiting-ness of our lives, that we fail to appreciate that between here and the end of the waiting is a journey. We have all these moments between now and then. It would be a pity to waste them in myopic wishful thinking.
But above all, be brave. Or at least, continue being brave. One day at a time, one hour at a time, one second at a time. You can do it.