I was on my computer the other day, waiting for a web page to load. Or should I say I was getting ticked off waiting for the web page to load. Mind you, this took all of about seven seconds. Why is it so hard for us to wait?
In the not-so-distant past, we would have been ecstatic if a web page, program or a file opened in anywhere close to ten seconds. Think back about five or ten years ago. How long did it take to get to your email so you could read your messages? I’m pretty sure it took longer than ten seconds. How about saving a medium sized document in Word? Take a break, come back and it still was saving.
How about driving? How many times has someone cut out in front of you, causing you to slam on the brakes, when there was no one behind you for a mile? Those people just couldn’t wait another five seconds. The light turns from green to yellow – do you stop even though not doing so will mean you go through a red light? Probably not. Because we don’t want to sit at the red light and wait.
Waiting in lines, waiting in traffic, waiting in the doctor’s office, waiting to buy something until you can actually afford it. As Tom Petty said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” We hate to wait; even though we’ve all been taught since we were children that “good things come to those who wait”.
Growing up in a family of eleven (nine kids plus my parents), sometimes we just had to wait. We had only one bathroom. No, you didn’t read that incorrectly. We had ONE bathroom. When someone was in there, you had to wait for your turn. Whether it was showers or just having to do your duty, you had to wait. When we went on a road trip and came home, we were calling spots in the queue as soon as we turned onto our street. “I get the bathroom first!” “I’m second” You had to be quick and you had to be bold or you had to…wait.
If I wanted something new, most of the time I had to wait. I still remember getting my first brand new, never used before, not a hand-me-down, baseball glove in my fourth year of Little League. I got it from my family saving S&H Greenstamps. It took time to accumulate enough of those stamps and I had to wait. I loved that glove, even if it was blue.
What’s my point? Just that, sometimes, it’s OK to wait. It may even be beneficial. Pulling out in front of someone not paying attention could cause an accident and land you in the hospital. Barging into an occupied bathroom could cause much embarrassment and burn images of your older aunt or grandmother into your brain that can never be erased. Or waiting just may help you to appreciate something so much that you still remember it, and all the good feelings surrounding it, thirty or forty years later.