The lost art of patience

27th April 2019

Patience, noun

The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

We’re currently in the process of selling our house and buying a new one. If anything has highlighted my severe lack of patience, it’s this. Coupled with my with control tendencies, it’s all fun and games right now as you can imagine. I want things to happen right now and while I think a lot of this is simply down to excitement, I’m unsure whether this is just how I am or if I am merely a product of my environment. Or rather, if we all are.

Because the world we live in is all about the here and now. Smartphones, texts and emails mean we are all instantly contactable and while that in itself is a whole other post, the result of this is essential that there is no need to be patient. And I’m not saying that’s a completely bad thing by any means because man, it certainly makes us all more productive. Of course it’s no surprise that we all value speed and efficiency in this ever-changing world of ours. It can feel difficult to keep up sometimes so we are always searching for ways to get things done quicker, to save time,

There is no denying that we live in an age of instant gratification too. If you want something, most of the time you can order it from Amazon to arrive the next day. There’s no need to wait. If you want to speak to someone or tell them something, just ping them a text rather than waiting till you meet up next. And sure, these all sound like positives. And they are! But  I can’t help but wonder about the implications of this and as above, I say this as someone who is admittedly incredibly impatient.

All of these great inventions such as smartphones and the internet mean that as it’s not necessary to be patient a lot of the time and arguably it’s therefore not learnt either. I feel like I personally straddle two ‘eras.’ I remember the agony of dial-up internet and when you were thrown off because your mum wanted to use the phone, but I’m also the first person to admit that I now rely on technology an awful lot for my everyday life. Too much.

But I don’t think it’s just a matter of the prevalence of technology. For me personally, it’s sheer panic. Now more than ever and perhaps this is as I grow older, I have become aware of the great speed at which time passes. Admittedly there’s something ridiculous about this, considering that of course time isn’t moving faster at all. It just feels like it. And it’s made me even more impatient. Despite currently moving house, planning a wedding and frankly, having more than enough to keep me busy thank you very much, I still keep wanting to do more and wanting it now. But why? Because – as I declare every time Matt tells me to be patient and wait – ‘Time is running out!’ To which he rolls his eyes, naturally.

We are told that good things come to those who wait but a lot of the time, the modern world means that actually, we don’t have to. The problem is, we are so used to not having to be patient that we expect this of everything in our lives. And as much as I begrudgingly admit it, there is plenty in life that requires patience in order to be successful. Relationships. Development. Career progression. These things need time and nurturing and there just isn’t room for impatience.

It’s safe to say that I’m never going to be considered a patient person. I’m always going to be that gal hunched over my steering wheel, swearing at the numpty going 40 in the slow lane. But I’m realising the benefit of allowing patience in certain areas of my life. It’s an exercise of self-control where I’m learning to take a deep breath before getting frustrated if something isn’t going right straight away, which if I’m honest, is ultimately making me a better person.

I’m also enjoying taking a slower route on certain paths. With our first house, we filled it with furniture without even having lived in the place, desperate for it to become a home as soon as possible. Now we are approaching moving into our second house, I’m excited to take the time to learn what we really want from each room and to decorate and fill it with furniture that we really love. Even with our engagement, where our wedding isn’t until 2021, I’m squeezing every last drop out of the excitement, slowly looking at all our options and actually enjoying the countdown to the big day, however far away it feels.

To some of us, patience isn’t something that comes naturally. It’s a skill, but one most definitely worth learning to get to grips with. For our own good.