A few Winters ago, when life was still blooming, I met a ray of sunshine. A friend of mine was celebrating her birthday, and here she was, seated and dancing on her own, this stranger that I could only see from the back.
I came to her attention, and as she faced me, words rose in my mind to form one sentence, “don’t you dare start talking to her.”
And yet, that’s what I did. I mean, politeness obliged. I had to say hello.
I regretted it.
The two minutes talk we had while she proposed me a drink made me far too happy. I ended up leaving the party with her number on my phone, and the promise of a better world, or so I thought.
The same night, we started texting. In the morning, we started joking. After one day, we knew there was chemistry. And as the law of attraction wants it, we started making plans to see each other, or rather, I started. Each time I asked her out, she said yes. And yet, each time, she had a reason not to be there: a birthday party, a friend coming to her house, a chalet for the weekend, and so on. So I moved on.
But as fate wants it, she was not ready to let me go. That Christmas, we spent it together with a couple of friends. For the first time in a long time, I believed in Santa. A few days later, I asked her out again. She said yes. And yet, later down the road, she had another reason not to be there. She was the master of the house, calling her servant only when she needed him.
We talked about it, her last relationship ended a few months ago, and she was still in the process of getting her head out of it. She liked me, she told me. It’s going to take time, she confessed to me. I liked her. I tried to wait, but I couldn’t. I grew impatient of looking at a clock and waiting for the time to stop.
What Lies Behind Impatience
No one likes to wait. Even people deemed patient don’t bathe in the idea of sitting and waiting for an uncertain scenario to unfold.
Take waiting in the subway station, for example. If the screens say the next metro is coming in 15 minutes, you know how much time you have to wait. You can make the necessary adjustments to smooth the time you’ll spend there. But when you have no idea of the time, after 5 min it’s easy to find yourself thinking of another option. If someone proposes you a lift then, you’re more likely to take it.
Impatience is a question of lack of control and unmet desire, but it is also a natural physiological response.
I know I’m patient. I have years of practice in the subject, and I discovered one truth about waiting, it’s like the forty percent rule. When your mind is telling you that you’re done, that you’re exhausted, that you cannot possibly go any further, you’re only actually 40% done.
When your mind is telling you that you can’t wait anymore, you’re only at 40% of your waiting capacity. With the right incentive, you can go past that percentage. With a clear goal, you can go past your limits, but walking miles upon miles in the dark will make even the best of us impatient.
Imagine a night out with the one person that creates butterflies in your heart, that special human with the power to stop time when both of you are together. “Kiss for push-ups,” he or she says.
You start eager for your reward. You’re past 40 push-ups, and still no kiss. You keep going. You want it, 60 push-ups, no kiss. Your arms are shaking, you grow impatient, and you start wondering if it’s really worth it. Then you stop, and you start looking for another option.
There’s an upper limit of much you can wait, of how much you can take, but if you knew you had to do 65 push-ups to make time stop, you might have kept going.
Make Them Wait In The VIP Room
I know. You won’t always know the time, even if you’re the one setting it. But there are ways to make the wait a little smoother. You can make them wait in the VIP room.
We all have feelings we need to process, experiences, and memories that still haunt us. You can like someone and genuinely want to build a relationship with them and still not be ready to make that decisive step. It’s okay. Stages in life are like seasons. They come, and they go. It’s the in-between, the time it takes to go from winter to summer we need to address.
Communication and honesty are, respectively, the door and the handle of the VIP room. If you truly are invested in someone, you can regularly update the time by talking about your feelings and by sharing what little progress you’ve made. All, of course, within the scope of what you’re comfortable sharing at the moment.
Fear of the unknown is a big issue, so is healing, but so is waiting. As humans, we want to evolve and to know where we’re going. When our sense of worth is diminished by what seems like a lack of consideration, it feels like a downgrade. When our sense of control is lacking, when too many of our desires are unmet, it pushes us to take the next available ride.
Don’t Settle For Less Than You’re Worth
Love can blind you and make you do things you wouldn’t normally do. It makes you find good reasons for people’s behaviors when they are none. It makes you forgive and accept some things when perhaps you should not. Sometimes it’s not even Love. More often than not, it’s the idea of it.
You feel good in the company of someone, and you want to keep that feeling going. So you do whatever you think is needed to keep the fire burning, even if you have to burn yourself in the process, don’t.
Happiness is a feeling that comes in tides. Some are bigger, and some are smaller. It might have been a long time since you surfed a tide that big, and you want to stay there longer. But if you feel like you’re being left on the shore, it’s probably because you are. The truth is, the sea is vast and the tides abundant. If the blue boat makes no effort to take you as a passenger, the red one will.
Don’t expect the other person to tell you everything, but don’t settle for less than you’re worth.
If you’re feeling some progress, it’s now up to you. Is it enough for you? Can you wait another 5 min or did you reach your upper limit?
No human can have it all by the snap of a finger. Some things take time. More so in relationships when two people are concerned. Each of us is living his own life, and when we’re meeting someone, when we want to go on a journey with them, they come with a plus one. They come with baggage.
Healing takes time, and sometimes you have to be a doctor that specializes in the field of waiting. But you have to remember that even the best doctors need a cooperative patient.
If you’re the one setting the time, remember the golden rule. Treat others as you want to be treated.
“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” — unknown