Wait for it…Wait for it…Thoughts on Why I Don’t Do Well Waiting

9 Dec

The cement truck. It’s one of those analogies that sticks. I am not a patient person and when I get stuck behind a cement truck on a mountain road when I’m trying to get somewhere I’ve wanted to be for days, I get annoyed. I probably overreact and yell at said cement truck to pull over. I’m impatient. I’m a work in progress. I think my dad would say I probably got impatience from him. He’s not the most patient person either. Sometimes I think of those days when he used to be. Before I knew him. When he was working his parents’ farm in Ohio. I wonder if the city wore him down. Maybe wanting your whole life for something to pan out and hoping it will doesn’t always leave you with a lot of patience. What do we do when we want something to work and it doesn’t over and over and over again? How do we get back up and try again? Gain passion for something new? Not get jaded. How do we live life with expectation of joy? Anticipation for something that’s coming right around the corner?

I think that’s my question. I don’t want this to be one of those times where I’m not grateful for all I have. I am. Believe me. But there has to be a place for honest questions. I wonder what we’re supposed to do with disappointed dreams? Do you ever feel like you keep putting your energy into things that just don’t go anywhere? I’ve done it numerous times. In my career. In relationships. In friendships. With family. I’m the queen of starting. My friend, Jonathan would say that this is actually a good thing. He’d tell me about Thomas Edison who failed more than 2000 times before the lightbulb came around. He’d talk about failing up and how if you’re going to fail, you should embrace it. Because it’s the next step toward success. I think of Mr. Dice, my high school drama teacher who used to say the same thing.

“If you’re going to make a mistake on stage, make a huge mistake. Then never make that same mistake again.”

Something about learning from your failures. I suppose I should look at it like that. But sometimes it doesn’t always feel like that. I’m a starter. I start things. I have thousands of short stories I’ve started. I have so many open loops that are ideas or hopes or dreams. I have unfinished films, unedited plays, etc. I’m embarrassed about how many things I’ve started and never finished.

And then there are those things that I’ve completed that I don’t know what to do with. My screenplay. My play. My short story. My poetry. I write poetry because I can usually finish it in one session and be done with it. Same with blogs. They usually have a thread through them that links to other thoughts I’m having, but I give myself permission to continue that thought into the future at some time. You can’t always beat yourself up as a writer. But it’s really easy sometimes to go to that dark place.

This is not to say that I don’t have things I’ve done that I’m proud of. I think everything can be a lesson. Even starts. And sometimes I need a fresh start. We all do. I wonder about my friends who have been disappointed time and time again by dating dreams that don’t turn into marriage. They are great people. I don’t get it. Is there some class they can go to? A book they can read? A mentor they haven’t talked to? Maybe they need to just wait. Maybe I need to just wait. But it’s so frustrating. What if I’m the same as I’ve always been? I hear those critical voices in my head. The ones I’ve learned to shut out for the most part but creep back in during my insecure moments. An ex-boyfriend from years ago telling me I will never get out of this cycle. A critical teacher who told me I was never good at anything. A friend that was sure I’d never make it as a producer of anything and told me to my face. Those words hurt. And I vow to never do that to anyone. They made me doubt myself and who really needs that? We need fans, not naysayers.

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here. That I need patience? That I need help being patient? That I need something to work in order to restore some of my disappointment in the way things work out? That in the times when things don’t work, I need an extra dose of faith, friends to tell me to keep going and to remind me that this isn’t the end of my story? That I can remember all the things that have worked out and be proud of where I am? If I’m always thinking forward and longing, I’m probably missing out on the right here and right now. How do I be present? In this season where I have to wait–for unmet dreams to be met, for career goals to be accomplished, for God to show up, for my mind to slow down and my body to engage with that slowing process, I don’t always know what to do. I want to rush. I want to run. I want to break out into dance like Billy Elliott when he’s frustrated with the way things are. I want to start and never be accused of sitting back. And yet, I somehow have to wait.

Waiting is not my strong suit. I don’t know how.


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