So much life is wasted – waiting . . .
Waiting for the right job. Waiting for the perfect relationship. Waiting for the right weather. And, even just waiting for the right email or text response.
Ever waited for something and in hindsight realized how much time was wasted? I know I have and I also know the pain of not being able to recapture those lost minutes, weeks or even years – they were gone forever. But it’s not my intent to be morbid here but to suggest some creative, positive and even risky thoughts on what lies ahead, what is real, what you can control and what can or will elude you no matter how hard you try or how long you wait.
First of all, there are three types of waiting – waiting for something to begin, waiting for something to end, or waiting for something to improve, change or maybe even recover.
But regardless of the waiting or what we may be waiting for the consequences are always the same – frustration, disappointment, regret, fear, and even anger and yes, even more, depending on the magnitude or significance of what we are waiting for.
Waiting for Mr. or Ms. right until you are in your seventies is not a wise move. Waiting for the right career position after bouncing from job to job for twenty years might get in the way of the right one showing up. Waiting years for a bad relationship to end or for the other person to end it when you both know it isn’t or wasn’t meant to be or was not a wise decision you previously made can cause a lot of stress, resentment, and bitterness. Waiting for your kids to finally get the concept of responsibility? Waiting for your employees to finally have some respect, loyalty or motivation?
Waiting till you retire for the vacation of a lifetime? And then your partner dies before you get to go.
Waiting for decades for a promotion, recognition or raise – well maybe it’s time for a change. Waiting to really live and have fun until you win the lottery, well, you might want to re-think your life purpose. Waiting weeks or even months for the right client or customer to show up – well you might want to rethink your sales or marketing strategies.
Need more examples or have I made my point?
Having said all of the above I want to be clear that I am not against waiting – for the right reasons, for the appropriate amount of time or for the right, best or suitable outcomes.
Are there common emotions, expectations or attitudes that can contribute to a waiting mentality? From my experience, I believe there are ten major ones; hope, fear, desire, insecurity, self-esteem, ego needs, impatience, the need for control, dreams and or arrogance. I don’t have the time and I’m sure you don’t either for me to dig into each of these in detail so let me see if I can give you a few summary points to consider if you have been guilty of unnecessary waiting, are waiting for something now or will, notice I said will and not might, wait for something in the future.
As I see it there are three common denominators in all of the above reasons, mindsets or rationales; 1) insecurity – or the need for approval, the need for acceptance, a mindset of unworthiness or conflict avoidance. 2) fear – or the willingness to face reality, uncertainty or unknowns in a common sense or reality-based way. 3) Ego – or an unhealthy definition of what you feel you deserve, you are worth, you are worthy of or you don’t deserve.
In the end, waiting in most situations is life wasted. The current lifespan average of Americans is 77.3 years. So, regardless of your age whether you are wasting days, weeks, months or years, in the end, will leave you with memories of regret, resentment, apathy and or disappointment.
Is it worth it? Was it worth it? For me, looking back, in some cases it was, and, in most cases, it wasn’t, but that’s me.
Here are a few things to consider if you are a “waiter”.
-Create a list of potential gains and losses for whatever you are waiting for. Then weigh them appropriately for both the short and long term.
-Talk with people you respect who have had similar experiences or have insight into what you are considering waiting for and ask them for guidance. You don’t have to follow it, but it can help you make better decisions.
-Start a decision journal and start keeping track of every decision you have made and their outcomes or consequences and I’m not referring here to where you decide to go to lunch or what color dress to buy.
-Meditate on all major decisions and listen to your inner guidance system’s or spirit’s suggestions or inclinations or whatever you want to call it.
-Keep a list of all major life decisions and their eventual outcomes - if and when they ended; like a business, career, job or relationship.
-Don’t make choices or take actions while under stress or emotional unrest.
-Be willing to admit mistakes.
-Learn to learn from everything regardless of the outcome whether positive or negative.
-Declare emotional endings before starting new beginnings.
-Read the book – Transitions by William Bridges.
-Pray about it.
These should get you started and, on the way, to better outcomes and less wasted time and life. I can only say in conclusion that I wish I had done many of these earlier in life.