I remember someone telling me a story about their favorite writer, who refuses to wait. He thought time was precious, waiting was a big, useless waste of that time and so: he just never waited. He wouldn’t storm into any meeting still going on, he wouldn’t cut in line and he wouldn’t throw a fit over appointments running late, but he just didn’t spend his time waiting. Whenever he had to wait, he would write. Always. No exceptions. The moment he had to wait, he just grabbed his notebook and picked up right where he left off. That’s how he wrote his bestsellers.*
How cool is that?! Do you have any idea how much of our lives we spend waiting? Apparently it’s averaged around two to three years of our lives! Two to three years of our lives, we sit around twiddling our thumbs waiting for public transit, the doctor or our friends to show up!
So might as well do something while you wait, right?
- A very revolutionary idea would be to practice mindfulness while you wait: really be where you are for a moment. We spend a lot of time up in our heads and not paying attention to our surroundings, it can be really centering to come back to them. So use all your senses and start being in the moment. Be in the Now. It’s an excellent relaxation technique.
- Bring reading material with you wherever you go (I might as well cover the other revolutionary idea while I’m on topic). Believe me, all those little peeps of time in between appointments and classes can add up to a ton of literature, scientific articles or time management books you will have read after a few months. I read Spirit Junkie mostly while using public transit and waiting!
- Write a to-do list for that day, week, month, project, birthday party. Kills time and sorts out your head all in one!
- Write, in general. Whether it’s articles for your blog, the introduction for this course’s paper, a letter to someone, a detailed description of the day you’re having, venting frustration about a fight you had on paper. Clears your mind, lifts your mood and before you know it, the wait is over.
- Talk to someone! Whoever is around, whether they’re waiting too or just look interesting to strike up conversation with, chat with a stranger. It’s great for your social skills and getting to know other people can be a great lesson sometimes. After a great conversation you can walk away very happy and inspired. That would be nice, right?
- Eat or drink something, especially if you’re waiting for a no-food-allowed kind of thing. It’s good to be well-fed and well-hydrated. I always bring a banana and a bottle of water with me**.
- Give your hands a little pampering. My hands are often neglected: I use them for everything and when I go to bed I suddenly feel how dry they are. I like to rub in a little hand cream whenever I am reminded. I love the smell of Dove, so that’s my usual pick, but Lush, Sabon and any fancy perfume brand have wonderful hand lotions as well.
- Send love and light to someone you care about. Picture them basking in a bright white light with a smile on their face. Try surrounding them with love and positive energy. It could be to anyone; from your parents to your friends to a colleague you know is having a hard time in their personal life. I believe this is good for your own mental state as well as how you approach your relationship with that person; by doing this exercise you’ll be more open and loving towards them. Add to that I personally do believe my energy must have some effect on the world and other people, and that by doing this exercise I make sure the effect is a good one.
- Do some of the exercises to increase positive energy (click)! I’m guessing you’re going to do mostly the silent ones like me: I like to do the Energy Shower Visualisation!
- And why not try your hand at some light manifesting while you wait? I have some perfect exercises for that right here!
- Create a folder on your phone with the favorite text messages from your favorite people so you can scroll through them: declarations of love from your lover(s?), memories of a great night out with your best friend, funny things your sister said or a nice compliment of someone you don’t talk to often. It’s a great way to remind yourself of your blessings and the wonderful people in your life. On that note: Pictures from your Vision Board (hello, we heart it and pinterest!), wonderful inspiring e-mail exchanges and holiday snapshots have similar effects.
Time is so incredibly precious. How we spend out minutes turns into how we have spend our days. And our days are our lives in miniature. With that in mind, standing about idly doesn’t seem right now, does it? Don’t you want to use all of the time available to you the best you possibly can? Whether it’s waiting for the bus, in between appointments, a ten minute delay: it’s still time you could use. Why waste it?
Be like that writer. Refuse to wait. Use all the time you get in this life, and use it well.
*It’d be so much cooler if I remembered who it was about. The only thing I still know is that he wrote fantasy books with the protagonist in a moral dilemma of being able to do great things with bad powers but having bad powers. Or something. Any ideas?
**I’d be such an excellent chimpanzee.