How Being Patient Is Not Easy, But Is So Important
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Adulting

I Am Learning That Being Patient Is Not Easy, But It Is SO Important

The biggest lesson of adulting is how to develop (and consistently maintain) an attitude of patience.

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I Am Learning That Being Patient Is Not Easy, But It Is SO Important
Kelsey Dietrich

I am recently realizing that I am not a patient person. Perhaps this is because I am a product of growing up in a society that places such a high value on the rapidly-evolving world of technology; faster is always better, plain and simple.

However, it's not so plain and simple.

I am finding myself overly obsessed with the convenience of fast notifications and simple replies from the party in which I was vying to receive information from. In daily life, the satisfaction of quick communication is something that can be much too easy to take for granted. In having access to the Internet to search literally anything that pops into our mind, at the tips of our fingers, 24/7, we become reliant on that safety net that there will always be quick answers to our inquiries. When we aren't searching for the answer using the search engine of our preference, we are reaching out to other human beings to stay connected in a plethora of methods: email, text, and social media. While this offers an amazing opportunity to exchange ideas to those who are located in faraway places, the downside to this connectedness is the increased chance of relying too much on the ease of communication. In other words, a result of the technology-dependant world we live in is that we are expecting everyone around us, all of the time, to constantly be equipped with the information we seek at the exact moment we request it.

Reality check: this is not true and sets us in an extremely unhealthy mindset to become trapped in.

I know it's unhealthy because I have developed a high sense of self-awareness regarding this relentless need for immediate response and realize that this is not a good way to continue going through life. Most certainly a generational issue, I am finding myself disappointed when professors do not update grades immediately after the most recent exam or when I send a school-related email to a peer, professor, or group and don't receive even an acknowledgment of a receipt in at least a week. That disappointment evolves to frustration as I begin to feel negative about the lack of response. Soon, I find myself spending more time attempting to conjure a narrative of why I haven't heard back. Thoughts can either be worrisome: I hope everything is okay, or judgemental: Obviously, this person doesn't prioritize work if I haven't heard back yet. Either direction that these thoughts go can be harmful; I do not actually know why the third party is "taking too long," yet what I do know is that my thought-process can be problematic.

With all of the acute stressors that are already present in modern-day life, why am I allowing others' timelines to affect me negatively?

As long as I successfully completed my responsibilities regarding the workload (i.e. taking the exam, turning in the final 12-page paper, composing and sending a thoughtful email, applying for a job, interviewing for an internship, requesting maintenance to stop by the apartment, etc.) then that's all that I should remain concerned about. Of course, receiving feedback about whatever it is I am waiting for is important; however, the timeline in which I end up receiving this feedback is one that I cannot control.

Learning how to accept that events will occur whenever they just happen to occur is most certainly a challenging thing to do. Whether I set these expectations myself (obsessing over receiving an answer at a specific moment) or if the other party is setting these expectations (when "you'll hear back by the end of the week" doesn't actually turn out to be true), acceptance of the present moment will be required to move beyond the expectations. Sometimes things happen when they are least expected to, and that can be either earlier or later than the fictitious timeline written out in the world of my mind.

Moreover, even in a crisis situation, there will be some sort of wait-time for the recipient to be acknowledged or tended to. Knowing that people are all doing their best to complete their jobs is important to keep in mind. Just how I have a priority list, in life and in completing a major project, everyone has priority lists. Things will get done eventually. In the meantime, it's just important to check that I have done all that I am held responsible for and to detach from this notion that I need results...

RIGHT. NOW.

Thus, I am learning that having the skill of patience is tremendously challenging to develop (and then maintain)! However, knowing how to cultivate a healthy attitude regarding the potential positive consequences that may arise from being patient is forever worthwhile.

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