So much of life seems to be spent waiting. Waiting for babies to arrive, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, waiting in line, waiting for an acceptance from a college, waiting for a traffic light to change. How many minutes a day, a week, a lifetime do we wait?
It seems like downtime, but waiting can be an opportunity to learn patience. It is a fact of life that we will have to wait sometimes. Recently, I was driving somewhere, and at every light, there was some car behind me that tooted, just to let others know that the light had changed. Could he or she learn some patience, or did her or she live life in a constant state of anger and anxiety that things aren’t moving faster, or the way they want life to go?
Around here, our commute times are long and irritating. Anger can be almost inevitable. Listening to a book on tape either for enjoyment or learning something new and be useful and pleasantly diverting. Some days I’ve arrived home not wanting to leave the car mid-sentence.
While music can be a good companion, do some kinds of music or talk radio raise the anxiety level during driving or trying to reach a destination on time? I’ve noticed that our classical music station in this metropolis plays bright, cheerful music in the morning drive time and calmer more restful music in the late afternoon. Wonder what effect it has on drivers or commuters? I certainly find it more calming while battling traffic.
Sometimes I listen to silence in the car, and usually at home. How much time we spend filling our ears and minds with others’ thoughts (whether in lyrics or words). It’s good just to listen to ourselves now and then, either reflecting on our day, or life, or the problems we need to solve. Giving ourselves “me-thought” time can be more productive than side-stepping our ideas by listening to mindless music or talk. Where am I in my life? What’s going right, or wrong? What mistakes do I repeatedly make — when personal ones or professional? Why? Am I happy in my life and work, or are there changes I need to make to be more fulfilled? Obviously letting our minds wander to happy thoughts and memories is also pleasant.
Waiting can be productive time when we choose to use it that way.