While You Were (Are) Waiting: 5 Things to Remember

woman sitting near white wooden door

A lot of us are waiting right now–waiting for the kids to go back to school, waiting for income to be restored, waiting for a relationship, waiting…

A lot of life is spent waiting, actually. Unless everything is exactly as you want it to be right now, you’re waiting on something.

Waiting reminds me of the day my son was born.

With his birthday right around the corner (he reminds me daily), I’ve been reflecting on that day…

You see, we adopted him at birth, and we actually had the privilege of taking his birth mother to the hospital the day he was born. As you might imagine, it was a special experience. But there was a long wait.

I remember sitting there in the waiting room–in some places there’s actually a ROOM dedicated to this thing called WAITING!–for seven hours. That was on top of the years we had been waiting prior to this day. Time seemed to pass so slowly.

I remember watching some kind of moving toy scurry across the floor in the hospital gift shop that was just across the hall.

I remember watching the most recent episode of LOST (remember when you had to wait a whole week for that cliffhanger to resolve?!).

Then, finally, the nurse came out with the news we had been waiting for: “He’s here. Would you like to come see him?” Would we?!

In an instant, our lives were forever changed, and all the waiting was forgotten.

That’s the thing about waiting: it seems like it will never end when you’re in the midst of it, but then, poof! When the waiting is over, all sense of time is lost and you’re left with nothing but NOW… and it is beautiful.

The thing is, NOW is all we ever have. And NOW is always beautiful. If you’re breathing, NOW is a gift.

NOW is just very easily missed while you are waiting.

Whatever you’re waiting on right now, at some point the waiting will be over. I can guarantee that, because everything is temporary. What I can’t guarantee–and no one can–is how long you will be waiting. That means if you postpone “life” until the waiting passes, you risk watching your entire life pass you by.

That’s why it’s important that you remember a few things while you’re waiting:

1. Worry and anxiety don’t accelerate the waiting process.

You won’t reach your desired outcome or destination any faster by spending this moment being anxious about how long it’s going to take, or how long things will stay this way.

2. This will change.

I know, sometimes the change takes longer than you think. Sometimes the circumstances linger longer than you expect. In those cases, it’s easy to slip into the belief or the feeling that this will never change–which is one step closer to the feeling of despair. The belief that this will never change just isn’t true. The truth is, everything is temporary.

3. Don’t lose sight of your vision.

Knowing this will change, keep your eye on the prize, as they say. When circumstances linger, not only can you get lulled into thinking things will never change, you can lose sight of what you were aiming for in the first place. Then you start wandering, making choices that aren’t aligned with your goals, and life starts to feel meaningless–another step toward despair.

You can always bring meaning to this moment by remembering your mission, vision, or purpose, and then asking yourself: what is the right thing, right now? Who do you need to be right now? How would your best self show up? Is there a lesson you can extract from this moment that will serve you in the future? Wherever it is you’re headed in life, this is part of it. Stay clear on where you’re going, even when things aren’t going according to plan.

4. This is your journey.

What I mean by that is, there is no value in comparing your experience to someone else’s experience. So, it took them half the time. Or, maybe it took them twice as long. Both are irrelevant to you. Your process will take as long as your process takes. As the saying goes, “You do you.” I often remind myself of this quote from Joseph Campbell, author of The Power of Myth: “You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” Whatever is happening right now, this is your life… and believe it or not, you will see in the end that it is perfect.

5. What you desire most isn’t there.

Often, we’re waiting on something because of what we think that will bring to our lives.

When I have a kid…
When I get that relationship…
When I get out of that relationship…
When the money comes…
When there’s no more debt…
When I get that job…
When I get that promotion…

then life will be good. Then I won’t have to worry. Then I’ll be happy. Then I’ll feel freedom. Sound familiar?

Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote a great book titled Wherever You Go, There You Are. The title itself is a transformational lesson. Sure, when you get that thing you’re looking for, it may bring some of what you’re looking for. It will also bring its own set of demands and complications, and if you aren’t careful, those demands and complications will consume your attention to the point you totally lose sight of the “good” you were looking forward to.

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The best thing you can do is to train yourself to live your values now. I’m not talking about moral values here, by the way, but simply, what you value–or desire–most in life. You want to experience more peace? More happiness? Less worry? Freedom? Abundance? You can choose to feel all of those things right now. You long for the day when you don’t have to worry about money? Stop worrying right now! Worrying about money isn’t producing money. You long for the day when you can experience abundance? You’re experiencing it right now–the fact all your needs have been met up to this point–regardless of whether or not they’ve been met the way you wanted or expected–is proof that you are living in the flow of abundance.

You see? You don’t have to wait to feel what you want to feel. You have the power to choose… to feel it now.

Thinking about my son again, he has brought so much joy to my life… and so much wisdom.

One time, as we were pulling into the car drop-off line at school, I heard from the backseat, “Something amazing is about to happen!”

“What is it, buddy?” I asked–a bit concerned, because as far as I knew, this was just a normal day. Was there a party I had forgotten about? Was it a dress-up day? What was I missing?!

“I don’t know,” he said, “but something amazing is about to happen!”

So much wisdom.

I believe that statement is as true for you and me–NOW–as it was to him on that morning. You may have no idea what that amazing thing is–that’s part of what makes it so amazing!–but it’s coming. Right now, though, you just have to wait.

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