When I started this blog, I couldn’t begin to imagine that I’d be writing from the lens of a pandemic, but here I am. Life has shifted, and so have the vistas of middle-aged women. One such revelation being patience.
If ever one was to have mastery around patience, now is the moment. Our environment growing up groomed us to have patience as technology didn’t exist in the capacity it does today. As a young woman, I believed I had little patience, developing an aptitude for it as a mother. My crash course came courtesy of our children as each of them marched through their terrible two’s. It turns out; I had more than I knew. It took these little screaming militant minions to mirror that to me. The perseverance and tenacity that each possessed were stellar.
My indoctrination commenced with our eldest son. It came out of nowhere. One moment we were baking cookies when he randomly hurled a fist full of dough against the wall. He was sent to his room and went kicking and screaming, throwing everything within his reach. With his baby gate up and in full out tantrum mode, what we felt would be a ten-minute stint turned out to be hours. My husband and I sat outside his room quietly nursing a bottle of Jack Daniel’s while he went stark raving mad, full out Damien possessed. It was impressive. He finally fell asleep standing up, hanging over his beloved teddy bear. I never experienced another tantrum with him after that. I knew I couldn’t succumb to him, but I was naive about the extent to which he would tax me. If I gave in, even a little, it would mean he’d have to scream louder and longer the next time. Our other kids all followed suit, each experiencing monumental meltdowns. They were great teachers. I’m grateful for how cleverly they expanded my patience.
Growing up, I remember my mother as being patient. Though, in her senior years, she might as well have filed a missing person’s report because her patience disappeared.
For our demographic, it takes patience to act like we’re pleasant all day. With internal furnaces blasting, hormones raging, unsure whether we’re going to weep profusely or annihilate someone while clawing back to a remotely familiar idea of who we remembered ourselves to be.
The shifts that have happened because of this pandemic has reaped havoc on all aspects of our lives. We can either go down the dark rabbit hole and act like a toddler, cross our hands and wrong the world or say, wait a minute, there’s a better way to handle this. Let me try something new on.
Patience has served me. At intersections, I’ve become accustomed to waiting more then a couple of seconds before advancing on a green light. People can honk all they want. On two occasions, it’s saved me from being seriously sideswiped by others lacking in patience while racing through a red light, one being a massive truck. It’s also kept my car insurance rates down. It has served me in line-ups watching adults behaving no different than a toddler having a meltdown. Ranting and raving that their time is more precious than another’s. Raising their voice and bringing struggle to themselves while providing theatre for others. Patience and lines are synonymous.
Then there are the companies who have you lock into their labyrinth of dialling—pressing eight for this menu, then nine for another until you’ve pushed every number, sometimes twice. Then you wait. Sometimes, so long, you grow another chin hair. Worse yet is when you hold for what feels like forever, only for someone to pick up and then drop the call, so you get to go through the frustrating experience all over again. Doing that to a middle-aged woman is like pulling the pin on a grenade.
Patience can be strangely exhilarating. I’ve welcomed people to move ahead of me in line or offered up my parking space and searched for another. In accommodating them, the Universe has consistently made allowances for me. All green lights on my drive home or whatever way it sees fit to configure the opportunity, it materializes.
I lack patience for things like complicated recipes, so I stay away from them and anything else that I don’t want to do. Time is precious to me. I’ve made the best of these strange times and have met some lovely people along the way. I’m appreciative of the time afforded to me by sales clerks who no longer juggle a slew of individuals and can be present to what I require. Feels a bit like yesteryear, when companies cared.
Having patience has taught me to let go. That there exists intrinsic wisdom. Though we can’t see all the variables, they can quietly align if we provide the time to create a space resulting in an outcome beyond our imagination. If the shit hits the fan, it’s not necessary to react and address everything at once.
Karma has taught me that it’s best to allow things to unfold naturally and without interference. That takes patience. Patience doesn’t mean you become a doormat. You know when you’re done and to walk away because you’re seasoned. Patience has taught me that the journey can have hills and valleys. Then you come upon the top of a mountain, where the whole picture unfolds in the sunlight.
Patience has demonstrated that the difficulties on the journey are guidance, not problems. It serves as an arrow pointing forward, providing a clear perspective to assess the situation from an empowering, not a reactive way and being open to an outcome outside of our design. Reactiveness has the same result as a toddler taking on demonic powers. Patience has taught me to trust the journey and be okay about being uncomfortable and in an unfamiliar place. We are notorious for wanting to repair, replace and fix. We’re a generation of fixers, and we’re good at it. To give ourselves space to examine whether something needs to be fixed or left broken because its time is done. A significant observation that our experience wants us to discover. In most cases, it can save us lots of time moving forward. Patience is having respect for others and having confidence in oneself.
Middle-aged women understand the wisdom behind patience simply because they have maturity. As parents, caregivers, grandparents, we know the benefits that come with patience. Those on a health regiment are aware they will need to grant themselves the time for traction to happen before they reap the benefits. You can’t produce a baby without waiting nine months or a genuinely intimate and satisfying marriage without an investment of years. You can’t grow a bank account in a day or savour the magnificence of a garden when you’ve just planted the seeds. Patience can show you how long, short or fluid time is.
There are so many marvellous things about being our age, and surrender is one that we get redirected to routinely. Arriving at a place where you have no attachment, and can walk away, is the most powerful place you can be. Patience reminds us we’ve been on this carousel, and though it appears we might have an idea of the outcome, the truth is we don’t. If we choose to linger around an issue, then that’s a choice attached to an outcome. If we’re doing it to be a martyr, then we’re not honouring patience but fear. Patience is about getting back to point zero—a neutral and objective destination.
I have a unique take on patience as an act that fosters doing, not waiting, and I don’t believe patience is a virtue. The idea of waiting forever for something to me suggests you’ve walked through the wrong door. Open another one. Life is designed with multiple outcomes, not just one. As for good things coming to people who wait, that’s another fable that has no resonance for me. Separation exists in the idea that ‘your turn will come.’ The Universe is filled with infinite abundance and things come all the time to people who are in trust and alignment with no expectation to an outcome. Patience beams when you’re in alignment. If you don’t believe me, try it.
We’re told not to see the storm but rather learn to dance in the rain. Patience is about asking yourself if you are present and in the moment then you don’t have to wait for anything. Living in the now is a constant in our lives.
The essence of patience is getting back in alignment before we move forward. It’s a gear we have, and its neutral setting saves us from speeding into what can be a harmful situation driven by fear.
Patience taught our kids we would support them through whatever it was they needed to go through. That’s called Love-another thread in the quilt called life.