The Waiting Game

Waiting is tough. I admit I'm not a very patient person, and I used to be worse. It's fine to know something one way or another: yes or no. But don't give me a "maybe" and then ask me to wait another month. That's torture. "Not knowing" is one of the cruelest tortures because we can't let go. We have to dwell on it. We'll constantly shuffle between hope and dread, and we count the days like nothing else matters.

The thing to do, of course, is to tell yourself "forget about it; don't wait." It's easier said than done.

We will continue to wait -- just can't let it go. But there are ways to help us stop dwelling and maybe even temporarily forget about the waiting.

Keep yourself occupied. The busier the better.

If you have a family or kids, it should seem easier because you're so busy I doubt that you would have time to sit around and dwell on the wait. Every minute of your life is taken, and you'll be left with little more than a few minutes here and there, between changing diapers and scrubbing toilets, to catch a nap or take a bite of your stale sandwich. "Wait?" you ask. "What is that?"

Some of us are not so lucky. We have way too much time on our hands and we've already taken our 10th naps. It's time to walk around in circles and bite our nails again. What if they say yes? What if they say no? What if they don't even call? Then the angel on the left shoulder says, "Relax. Life goes on either way." And the devil on the right shoulder immediately snaps, "That's what a loser will say. You're a not a loser, are you?"

I do find some tricks to "fool" myself into forgetting about the wait. Obviously, one of them is to keep myself busy. Getting married and having babies right away seems out of the question -- and honestly, counterproductive -- but there are other things. Traveling, going out with friends, seeing movies, getting drunk. And, of course, making projects.

Usually, when I'm waiting on something, I'd launch myself into a million different projects: making a video, updating my website, cataloging my entire toenail clippings collection. (Okay, I'm not really that weird.) Of course, there's that darn novel to deal with but it's hard to keep myself occupied when I'm blocked, so writing (including updating my blogs) seems out of the question. And obsessing over a rewrite would only drive me crazier. Fortunately, I have many other hobbies. Unfortunately, they usually involve spending cash.

Then Bam! The result is in and I won't even see it coming.

Another thing to do is to curb my anticipation by concocting various alternatives based on the expected results of my wait. What does that mean? I mean I would start making a list of what I want to do once the wait is over, that I'm free from it all:
  • I can finally take that vacation!
  • I can finally shave my head
  • I can finally get rid of those notes and 14 versions of the damn file
  • I can finally schedule that botox appointment and disappear for three weeks
  • I can finally plan my funeral

The trick usually works to calm myself to the point that I'm almost ready to let go. I say "almost" because life is not fair, and being human is all about being neurotic. And what's more neurotic than plunging myself into that yes-no-maybe cycle all over again and then come up with yet another list of things to do AFTER the wait is over?

That should keep me busy for another two hours.

See you later.


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