Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Waiting

Waiting is not my favorite thing. Probably because it is one way to demonstrate patience, also not my favorite thing.

However. So many times, it feels as if the only option is to wait.
* for a response to something
* for information
* for a choice to become clearer

"They" always advise against waiting. As in, "while waiting for responses to work you've submitted, work on something else." The theory is, this response you're waiting for won't define you. You continue to be yourself, you continue to do your work, regardless of any one particular response.

In other words, you don't cede your power to whatever it is you're waiting for. And for "power," read "time," "energy," "personhood," "identity," and other good words like that. I think of the Reeboks ad (because I'm old like that): Reeboks let UBU.

So: don't wait. That's great excellent wonderful advice. I take it when I can. When the waiting is about work, say.

But sometimes, a simple "yes/no" response to work isn't what you're waiting for. You're waiting for information. For a recommendation about a way forward. You've enlisted the help of an expert, and you are interested or invested in what that person has to say.

Even then, though, hanging around by the phone isn't the only option. Or rather, it's possible to do both: to work on something else while waiting by the phone.

It's also possible to continue working, for a limited time, on that thing you don't have information for, through the use of hypotheticals: if this, then that; if this other thing, then that other thing; if THAT this, well, then maybe THAT that.

And maybe sometimes you recognize that in any of those hypothetical cases, THIS particular solid truth remains, and then you work with that.

Which is not to say any of this waiting is comfortable. So there's a time limit on waiting. There's a time when you assume "no" and move on with that answer. There's a time when you pick up the phone yourself and say "Hey there. Fine, thanks. And you? Great, glad to hear it. Now, how about that info you're getting for me?"

And until that time limit, which I like to impose myself (more assertion of self-hood, what control issues?), I try to remember to do my work. Be me. While waiting.

Yep. Just waiting, here.

P.S. You know that Anais Nin quote: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

I'm like that with phone calls. There comes a time when having to pick up a phone is less painful than waiting for that call. Which is a factor in the equation I use to figure out when my end point is.