At dinner the other night my daughter said to me, “You know how you tell me I have to work my way up? No one does that anymore. Our generation isn’t waiting. We just go for it and why not? Everywhere we look people our age are making millions starting their own businesses, doing their own thing. We are in a hurry.”
I waited until she was finished. “Ok,” I said, “where are you rushing to, might I ask?”
She looked at me said, “I don’t know, but I do know that I’m not going to do what you did.”
I get it. Everyone everywhere is in a rush. A rush to come up with the next Facebook, Uber or Google. In a rush to post, tweet, Instagram and Snapchat. In a rush to know it first, see it first, post it first. Everyone seems to have FOMO. Yes, FOMO: Fear of missing out.
No one — and I mean no one — wants to wait for anything or anyone. Need a car? Uber. Need food? Postmates. Need an answer? Google. Need a date? Swipe right.
You know the list goes on and on. So when I say to my kids, “Wait. Wait. It will happen, it will come, you will see.” They look at me like I’m from Mars.
What I do know is there is power in waiting. I know this because I used to be in a hurry. I grew up in a family that believed waiting was a waste of time. I went into a profession that valued and rewarded speed. I too was in a hurry, so much so that I over-scheduled myself, my kids, my life.
When you are over-scheduled and rushing you are impatient, insensitive and invisible to your own life. You don’t have time for anything or anyone and nor do those around you.
Everyone I know is busy. Their to do lists are jammed packed. They are on e mail. They’re on the phone. They are posting. They are rushing from thing to thing, place to place, event to event. Barely able to take a beat, breath, much less stop to think, reflect, imagine or dream.
A while ago I was talking with a wise friend and I was saying “I’m in such a hurry to get this, do that.” And she said “…Where are you rushing to? Where are you in such a hurry to get to?”
That stopped me. Where, in fact, was I rushing to? What was I in such a hurry to do?
She went on, “Maria, you must learn to wait.”
Wait? Why? For what?
“You must learn that there is power in waiting. Waiting requires strength. Waiting requires maturity. Waiting requires self-respect and self-restraint. Sometimes waiting is the only thing we can do to truly see ourselves clearly. Sometimes the best thing we can do is wait. Wait to see. Wait to give an opinion. Wait to make up our minds. Wait to see what we really need. Sometimes waiting is the most important thing we can do.
And so lately, I’ve been doing a lot of waiting. And I’ve discovered some amazing things. As I’ve been letting my kids know that I’m happy to wait, it has reduced their anxiety. Waiting to give my opinion about something has allowed me to make better decisions and say smarter things. Waiting has enabled me to see, to feel to experience more of my life. Waiting has allowed me to discover that I admire people who have patience. I respect people who have the courage to take time out to reflect, stop and wait until they are certain.
Waiting has allowed me to be kinder to myself. It has allowed me to be kinder to others, which has, in turn, made me feel better about my own life. In waiting I’ve learned that waiting is anything but passive, it’s very deliberate, very intentional.
In waiting I’ve learned that I have friends who will wait with me. I’ve learned that I am blessed by people who will wait for me to figure it out. Who will wait for me to unfold. Who will wait until I finish doing what I’m doing no matter how small it is. That has been a huge reveal to me and for me.
We wait for those we love. Starting with ourselves.
Wait for yourself to be ready.
Wait for yourself to be clear.
Wait for yourself to know.
And wait to see who will wait with you.
It will reveal a lot to you about who you are, what you value and who values you. Sometimes waiting is the most revealing thing we can do.
There is a great Hopi poem that I have framed in my office. It says: “We are the ones we have been waiting for!”
In waiting you will more than likely discover you are the one you have been waiting for. From there you can create a tribe. Build a life. Find a passion. And then when the moment is right, go for it.
So the next time someone pushes you to say something or decide something and you don’t feel ready, Have the courage to say, “I’m waiting.” #PassItForward