waiting is a part of life

A direct downside of the instant gratification and microwave culture that we have all been exposed to is that we humans have forgotten the virtue of waiting. Yes, I call it a virtue because it’s a trait of the most courageous amongst us, not a sign of timidity or weakness.

Just imagine, how much waiting there would have been in the ancient times. It took several weeks to travel. It took several weeks or months for mail to arrive. And in case of a plague, epidemic or pandemic, it took several months or years for things to get back to normal again. 

Throughout history, people such as Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, John Keats, Viktor Frankl, Nelson Mandela, James Stockdale, Malcolm X, Mahatma Gandhi and many more have gone through prolonged times of adversity and waiting until things took a turn for the better for them. Countless people have spent a great deal of time in confined spaces and places in order to wait out a crisis.

Imagine what would be going on in the heads of the troops who have spent years being deployed overseas. Do the same with refugees and immigrants who are trying to build new lives for themselves and their loved ones in a foreign country, or think about those people who have spent years recovering from their injuries.

We can’t escape the fact that waiting is a part of life. As Ryan Holiday writes, “Life is full of waiting. It’s filled with moments of forced stillness. We’re delusional to think we’ll be exempted from this—that things are going to happen at our pace and on our terms.” 

Yes, we have been waiting for months now, and it sure feels like we’re going through hell. But do you think going outside for non-essential purposes, visiting public places and acting recklessly, or defying safety guidelines to prove a point are going to make things better for you?

Come on, folks! We humans are better than this. And if we really choose, we can all master the art of waiting. We have absolute control over how we respond to this crisis, and no matter how long this pandemic prevails, we have it in us to act safely and wisely until we find a permanent solution. 

Yes, courage is standing up, becoming fearless and doing what’s required, but courage is also knowing when to sit down, practice caution, and not do things. Arthur Conan Doyle once said, “It is stupidity rather than courage to refuse to recognize danger when it is close upon you.” There’s a fine line between courage and stupidity and we must always be mindful of it. 

We must learn how to be patient. We must learn how to be calm. We must learn how to be wise. We must learn how to thrive. We must learn how to wait. Your future, my future, everyone’s future depends on it!