The Process of Patience

Now- 3 individual letters when properly combined make an immediate statement. Now- the opposite of later, and the dopamine inducing reward for our efforts. I don’t think I’m alone in wanting just about everything to happen NOW!

Waiting is often difficult no matter what we’re doing. If waiting was easy, I’m confident we’d all have every little thing our heart desires immediately and then where would we be?

I realized several weeks ago that I had unintentionally deceived myself into assuming I had mastered the virtue of patience. I recently changed jobs after 8 weeks of unemployment. The downtime initially felt like a “recharge” for about…. the first 2 weeks. Sure I got somethings in order at home that really needed to be done. I also enjoyed more free-time during the day to grocery shop and run in the sunlight, but I also grew restless.

Is there not a happy balance between “so busy I can’t think straight” to “I’ve finally completed my long list of neglected house projects-“ now what? Looking back, I think what I really needed was a vacation, even though the job change was the right call for reasons I won’t get into.

As I just mentioned, I had deceived myself into assuming I had mastered patience. I’m a tenacious person- I like results. Part of my tenacity is a leftover survival coping technique. Growing up in a home with an abusive, bipolar and narcissistic parent who could flip temperaments as quickly as turning on a light switch, I learned to be independent and self-reliant. Figuring problems out on my own also helped me discover that I could get what I wanted if I worked hard; because forgiveness was way better than permission if I was going to get “disciplined” anyway. Ironically, forced patience as a child because of domestic violence has manifested itself in adult life as a strong need for instant gratification.

Long distance running doesn’t exactly ooze immediate reward; unless you consider a quarter cup of water or PowerAide and smelly porta-potty every two miles or so along your 13.1-mile (or longer) race course, a jolt of gratification that keeps you going. Maybe it’s that colorful 4” medal that you eventually get for suffering through the course all the way to the end?

Winter trail running- a perfect way to practice patience

I’m just kidding, because training to run long distances for hours and hours has helped me discover the importance of trusting a process to reach my end goal. Thank heavens for running!! It’s just ironic that I lacked the ability to remember these regularly practiced truths in correlation to my recent job search. Sometimes, I’m slow to learn and remember because having a few teaser offers didn’t help jog my memory- initially.

I sent out over 40 applications and interviewed for 6 different jobs; including one in which I was offered the job, accepted the position and told to look for an incoming email the next day with additional details, only to receive a formal rejection email… on Thanksgiving Day- in the evening with no additional explanation! I didn’t really feel like participating in family games after receiving that disappointment.

When the shock of my unexplained rejection wore off, and my family’s kind word’s encouraged me, I thought, “who’s part of a non-essential business that’s actually working on a federal holiday?” (FYI- I emailed my interviewer twice to find out what happened, but I’ve never received a response)

Despite my self-deception, my job search was really like training for a half-marathon. 8-weeks isn’t that long when compared to 52 weeks in a year and now that I’m officially employed, I can look back and marvel at my recent reboot lesson in patience. It’s a perfect Segway to to my 2023 race-planning which is in full swing. I wonder what next year has in store? In the end, no matter what, I’m still going to need to practice patience.

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