“Patience is the companion of wisdom.”
According to my parents, I came into this world in a hurry (like, almost born at home) and rushed through everything else. Walked early, talked early, skipped the bottle entirely and went straight for the trainer cup — everything except potty training. The parents made the mistake of trying to rush me, and if there’s anything I hate, it’s being rushed.
Waiting is one of the most difficult things for me to do. I grumble at nobody in particular when traffic slows to a crawl. My knees practically start convulsing when a webpage doesn’t load fast enough (how did we ever survive the age of dial-up?). I get plain mean if I have to wait too long for my food. Don’t even get me started on slow drive-thru’s (it’s called “fast food” for a reason, right?).
Not that I’m promoting instant everything, but if I’m honest, patience is just not this girl’s virtue.
“It’s all about the process,” my cousin and I say in unison, mocking sarcasm and rolled eyes giving away our exasperation. Maybe we’re related after all. I’m picking her up from school to spend the weekend at my house.
We understand each other because we’re both going through it, we discover. We both desperately want to be good at what we do — design for her and writing for me — and we can’t wait to get there. It’s one of the things I’ve been struggling most with; despair sets in and I think, “I’m never going to become the kind of writer, the kind of person, I want to be.”
My plane of vision extends further than it should for a 23-year-old. Most people my age are thinking about the next step: Should I go to grad school? Should I take this job? Should I date or marry this person? For some reason, I find myself searching for the crystal ball that will take me ten, 15, 20 years into the future.
“You have arrived.”
Probably the only person I’ll ever hear those words from is Maggie. My GPS.
Sometimes I forget that being 23 means that I’m probably not that great at what I do, that I still need years of experience and mentors and critics and books and trial-and-error and failures and successes to get to where I’m supposed to be in the future. I forget that the people I so admire already paid their dues; they ain’t spring chickens no mo’.
Some twisted part of my psyche keeps telling me that I don’t have time to dilly-dally, that I’m already 23 and I haven’t accomplished anything with my life yet, and I’m going nowhere fast. And why am I so behind? No matter how many times people tell me, “Lynnette, you’re still so young,” I can’t shake the feeling (the fear?) that, in the blink of an eye, my life will be at its end and I won’t have anything to show for it.
“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience.”
Sometimes I fail to notice that I’ve already grown and changed, even over the last year. I spent an entire year being too scared to do anything, to move forward. This year has been about reading as much as I can, getting words onto paper or blog (even if it’s garbage), pushing myself to put myself out there. About being disciplined and determined.
“You have to walk before you run,” my cousin says wisely. I hate it, but it’s true. I can’t let discouragement or disappointment get the better of me. I have to let go of my super-Asian-overachiever-OCD-perfectionist timetable and be patient with myself.
Some things cannot be forced, the hard things, the frustrating things, the mundane things, the tiny successes nobody celebrates — they give us the opportunity to write the story of our lives. They make us who we are. I want to believe it’s worth the wait.