Practice in Patience

What is that joke about asking God for patience? Be careful because you’ll likely be granted an opportunity to practice patience, not necessarily the divine gift itself? I mean, a complete lol, am I right? Because it’s so very, very true.

I’ve had many opportunities to practice patience. We all learn patience as a kid, waiting for Christmas morning, turning double digits, driving, and graduation. Even dancing helped teach me patience in the process just as much as persistence. Teaching, unsurprisingly, has taught me quite a bit of patience and I’ve gained so much over the years. Bet you didn’t see that one coming? Kidding.

So yeah, I’d call myself a pretty practiced person at patience. I can be cool as a cucumber with all the questions in class and I’m much better having patience with my husband and his discarded socks all over the floor. Ok, lies, I’m still not even 85% okay with that but I’m work in progress as is he.

One thing I have struggled with lately is being patient in where I am now. Over the years this comes up when I see people moving beyond me, almost like in a race where we’re all at the same pace and then someone gets that energy that spurs them on just a little more ahead. And it grows, other people move faster and suddenly I feel very much alone at my steady pace.

This is the time to clarify and say I’m in the exact spot I know I need to be. Pyro Man and I working steadily toward some goals and we’re one year out from his second bachelors being complete. This time next year, things will be different, he’ll have a new job, a new career venture and we’re thrilled for it! We’ve talked continuously over the last couple years, and more so these last few months, of all we will have opened to us with this big change. We also remind each other of all the steps we have to do first to make those things happen because, you know, reality check, things take time.

There are moments, though, that sneak up and whisper in my ear, “you’re being left behind,” which, for the little sibling in me, just turns me into knots because I hate being left behind. I am always supportive and happy for those friends and folks that take another step towards their ultimate goals, but dang if that little line doesn’t sneak in there sometimes. Several years ago I had that hard hitting epiphany of people will not wait for you.

I’m going to say that again because I have to repeat that sometimes to make sure it sticks to my brain:

People will not wait for you.

Everyone has their dreams and their ambitions they want to reach. Whether it’s wanting to move to a new city, a new house, start a different job, make a change in careers, have a baby, or whatever, people will make choices that move them closer to that because it’s their dream. So if you’re holding back thinking that these people are going to wait until you’re ready for them to move, think again.

That really was a reality check for me. I can’t remember the specifics when this moment hit me, but I remember the feeling, like a slap to the face, completely and totally flabbergasted, essentially gobsmacked (Great word, right?).

Of course people are going to move forward! Why wouldn’t they?! I didn’t expect friends to hang out waiting on me to tell them, “it’s okay now.” Yeah right! I think it was just the fact that I felt left behind because I wasn’t making the progress in the same amount of time or I wasn’t ready to make those moves or changes with them.

It’s never about that person, it’s always about how I’m feeling. So what do I usually do? Well, I tend to want to take swift action on things and then I stall out. I spend too much time waiting to make a decision, a little scared to make a change or sometimes I don’t give the time to that’s needed to take the step forward. I know all these things and since having that revelation, I’ve been working on that, being good with where I am, moving myself forward.

Truth be told, I would feel terrible if I started pacing myself based on someone else’s tempo. It wouldn’t work. Keeping up with the Joneses is not for me. Take dance for an example, I can’t dance the exact same was as someone else because it doesn’t feel true to me. I’ll adjust and correct to fit me and my style. Or even choreograph the same way—I may love someone’s style and ideas, but if it doesn’t ring true for me, ain’t no way that piece will work.

Patience in being me, in being here now, most of the time I can do. Lately it’s been extremely difficult to hang on to that idea. Pyro Man’s school journey so close to being over, we’re nearly there and I’m feeling anxious to jump ahead. I see the years going by more quickly, I feel older and my brain tricks me into thinking I should be somewhere else by this point.. My fear is that I will have wasted time by not making decisions and moving forward but on the other hand, I fear rushing into something that isn’t right for me.

I have to steady myself, take a breath, remember who I am, what I’m working towards, how much time it takes, and like I tell my students, trust in the process. The journey doesn’t need to be rushed because that’s where life is, that’s where the good stuff happens. There will be a surge in my race later on, but right now, I’m at a comfortable pace and when I’m ready to change it, I can. No one else’s journey would look the same. I’m not behind in any way.

I’m exactly where I need to be.

I just have to have patience.