Wait for it. Or, maybe — Don’t.
I think about the lessons I learned as a child I wish I could erase. And, of all the things I’ve inadvertently carried with me through the years, the need to wait has proved the most stealthy of my childhood foes.
As children, we are constantly waiting on our adults. To wake, to prepare us meals, to take us places, to do things for us. We learn without ever having been taught the lesson, that — time is not our own. We internalize the notion that, if we just wait for it, we’ll get what’s coming to us. And, as children — that’s often true. Eventually, if we’re fortunate, our needs are met.
In our adult-ness, we draw on our childlike expectations. We wait for the job, the man, the money. And we are surprised and disappointed when they never show. Or, they do, but in a cruel turn of events, it turns out — they’re hardly worth the wait. Good things don’t fall into our laps. We re-learn: Life is work. We make our own breakfast. And, while it isn’t always hard, most of the time, our dream — requires waiting. And, when it does manifest, if it manifests, it’s never what we expect. — The love of our life leaves. The pancakes come without syrup. — More often than not, our expectations turn out to be a colossal waste of time.
Oh, sweet, sweet expectation. The root of all addiction. It’s no wonder we seek comfort in the steady, reliable things that we can count on — things that kill our pain, things we don’t have to wait on. Drugs and booze, baby. Because, really, who wants to wait? — No one. That’s who.
The older, angrier, and more jaded I become, the more I start to think that our inclination to do what we want, when we want — isn’t so reckless. I spend all this time, certain that I am “adult-ing,” convincing myself of my maturity, letting time pass me by and “seeing what happens.” As I revel in my stuck-ness, I begin to grapple with the idea that — the waiting game is just a nice way to frame our fear.
Fear of losing. Fear of failure. Fear of being alone. And, while fear’s expression is perhaps the most central of all our innate human instincts, I’m beginning to wonder if is isn’t the least evolved. It’s antiquated. And, it’s fucking up the whole shebang.
Here, I’ve been crawling around in circles — waiting for something to change. The pity party’s long over. I stare a plethora of excuses in the face — Why can’t I and I’m sad and I’m stuck and I’m old and I’m too much of this and I’m not enough of that. But, — Wait for it. And. No. Just wait. And. No. Wait. Wait. Wait. And. No. — Fuck it.
I’m tired of waiting for IT. What is IT? Who is IT? Is IT coming? Does IT cost money? Is IT a place? — I don’t care anymore.
I surrender. And, my forfeit isn’t a pittance. It’s a declaration. I’ve tired of listening to the shrill hiss of my own misguided anger. It’s an unwelcome guest, slithering, just below the surface of my thick skin — ready to snap its jaw. But, I can’t wait any longer.
So, I train for a 5K. I pull out my banjo when I have the house to myself and I really fucking wail. I crochet little-white-snowflakes to hang up in the coffee shop. I buy a new Kindle book, and — I actually read it. I watch Master of None and I let big-belly-laughs escape me, even though my laughter still feels like some sort of betrayal. But, I decree — There will be no more waiting.
The time for being pragmatic has passed. After standing on the edge of the bridge and looking down into the black water — it’s do or die. Sink or swim. And, as the last of the yellow leaves blow off the tree outside my bedroom window, I decide I won’t wait for the buds of Spring to remind me I’m still alive.
The wait is over.
Not because IT has arrived. But — because I have.