The Waiting Place


I once saw a quote that said “the best laid plans seldom unravel”. I think this got into my head and heart. It is extremely rare that I don’t make plans, and then make plans to back up those plans with a few more waiting just in case. This only pertains to daily life though. For whatever reason, on vacation, I am able to just relax and live.

The last few months have been spent planning and executing the next phase of my life. I will be speaking more about what is coming next very shortly, but there is a space in between what has happened and what needs to happen to get to the next phase. In that space is the hardest place to be…the waiting place.

Waiting has the tendency to drive me crazy. I come back from one vacation, look at the calendar and wait for the next vacation. I finish one learning project and then I need to wait until it actually pays off. I complete one activity for work and wait until the next interesting thing comes along. Waiting is not easy, and lately it seems that in the midst of all of my activity, it is all that I am doing.

When I am stuck in waiting, I must have a series of actions to get me through that difficult time or I will feel as my plan is being derailed. Here’s a list of some of the things that I do:

1.Read- I already like to read. However, reading when I am in a period of waiting encourages me in many ways. I may read something others have done to reach their goals. I may read something about a new location and the adventures the author had when they were there. It could be a book just for fun or a subject that I have had on my list to learn more about. Reading keeps me interested and focused on something outside of myself.

2.Write- Writing has always been helpful when I needed to organize my thoughts. Writing helps me focus my mind on what is causing me to be uncomfortable. It helps me to sit with my discomfort and examine it. I can learn more about why I do what I do and what I can do to change so that I can be a better person. Writing ultimately helps me to stay away from wallowing in a pit of self pity because I must wait.

3.Do Something New- There have been many periods of agonizing waiting in the last few years. That space between what I want to do so badly and what I must do in the present occasionally seem to stretch into eternity. A few of the things that I have done gained me lifelong friends, new adventures and new skills. I joined Conversation Exchange where I could practice my French and help someone with their English. I have joined conversation groups in my neighborhood. I have taken classes at the local community center. Bean and I have baked and cooked together. Lately, I have started ballroom dancing. It something I have always wanted to do and it is so much fun. And the list goes on.

4.Explore- Whether or not I am waiting for something interesting to happen in my life or not, it is always a joy of mine to explore. Bean loves exploring as much as I do. When waiting, it takes more effort to get up off of the couch and out of the door. I have the tendency to want to stop everything and just sit out my time. Then I remind myself that I don’t want Bean to have a memory of her mother just sitting in her favorite chair all day. I also remember that there is so much in our city and neighborhood that we haven’t seen yet. In the last few weeks, we have tried out Korean Barbeque, bakeries and grocery stores. We stopped in the gigantic candy store downtown, Bean’s favorite candy store in Chinatown, and simply played store outside. With the weather looking good on the weekend, we plan to do more exploring in the coming month.

5.Keep planning- During the waiting times in my life, I re-examine my plans. I remember a family member telling me once “I know you have researched everything and figured it all out, but…” Hey, that is just what I do. I suppose I would leave more to chance if it was only me, but I have a child to care for! Sometimes, it may look like I am making a daring decision, but if I am spending days, hours, and months researching it doesn’t seem very daring at all. There will be situations and events when I am spontaneous, but when expecting major life changes, planning is a must for me.

I re-examine my plans often to see if there are other ways of looking at the situation. If something fails to work out as imagined, what can I do? Is there a better way to come to the same conclusion? Does everything need to be done now or is there something that can be put off for later?

In my favorite Dr. Seuss book, Oh the Places You’ll Go, he tells us there will be times of waiting: waiting for the bus to come…waiting for Friday night…or a pot to boil, or a better break. The good thing is he promises us we will escape to go to great places where Boom Bands are playing. I am looking forward to getting there. Right now, I will do my best to be content in my waiting.

What do you do when you are forced into The Waiting Place?

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