on not waiting

On Not Waiting

I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘waiting’ recently and have decided that it’s dangerous business.

Waiting is a state in which we, humans, inevitably find ourselves from time to time. Waiting for the year to end. Waiting for the next three day weekend. Counting down the days. The dangers of waiting are numerous: we don’t enjoy where we are, we’re not fully present in life, we can easily become negative or jaded and we don’t fully appreciate what we have.

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Sometimes it’s fun to wait. When it’s fun, we call it ‘anticipation.’ I love anticipating a vacation, or a holiday or a reunion with my family. But when we wait, or even anticipate, we push through the days, willing them to go faster, checking off the boxes on the calendar, tick, tick, tick.

Today I am waiting.

I am waiting for my sabbatical-job-leave-situation-thing to be resolved. I am taking phone calls and exchanging emails, but today it feels like waiting. The leave that I fought so hard to secure, the break from the career hamster wheel for just-a-minute-while-I-catch-my-breath? I got it. And now I’m waiting for it to end.

Why?

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My current state of waiting is entirely my doing and my fault. While I spent lots of time imagining and planning a short term period of travel and adventure, I didn’t think beyond a few months.

I completely bought into some dream scenario that this job business was going to ‘look’ a certain way. In my mind, I was going to secure a new role by October, spend the holidays with family and fly out to adventures unknown on January 1st.

Maybe I saw that in a movie somewhere.

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No one promised me a date. No one dangled a final role in front of me that was mine for the taking come January. The role that I thought would pan out didn’t get funded, priorities shifted, people moved jobs, normal stuff. New opportunities filled the void. There’s one I really want, one I kinda want and one that I’m considering just in case.

It’s all, on paper, FINE. Nothing is broken. One of these jobs is bound to work out.

But that need for closure, or for commitment or for something in writing? That’s on me and I can’t seem to shake it.

So today, when I feel like I’m waiting, I sit with this question: is it possible to feel closure without the closure?

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In previous periods of waiting, I’ve had plenty to keep me distracted. There was inevitably work, and weekend plans, and lots of other pursuits to fill the gaps in between. Today, the distractions are fewer. The day I’m waiting for is not marked on a calendar in my planner. The flight to adventures unknown is not booked. I don’t know know when ‘IT’ will happen.

It will happen…right?

For now, in this moment, here’s what I can do to get out of the waiting game. Focus on what I have today. Pursue new things when the impulse arises. Have a dance party. Let go of expectations.

Let me type that again so it really sinks in to my brain: Let. Go. Of. Expectations.

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Releasing expectations is my achilles heel. I have nothing if not millions (zillions?) of expectations. I can tell you with nearly absolute clarity what my life should look like in a few months.

I have visions of a new Scandinavian inspired urban apartment, of a fully booked social calendar with people I don’t yet know, of a revamped wardrobe to fit my new glamorous job (by the way, glamour is not a word I’d use to describe any job in my company, but that doesn’t stop the expectations from crowding in).

All those expectations are there, in my mind, in high definition focus.

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My goal for today is this: just be here.

Be here with my in laws, who are some of my favorite people in the world. Be here in sunny Florida, close to a beach.

Be here. Just. Be. Here.

Someday, and probably someday soon, I’ll look back at this period of flux, of waiting, and wonder what I spent all that time worrying about. I’ll gaze around at a full and stressful life in a new country and wonder why I didn’t savor every single minute of planned downtime. I’ll look at my crammed calendar and wonder why I spent so much brain space waiting for this.

Because today I can appreciate what I have. I can have a dance party. I can pursue any and all tiny impulses that I have. I can take a random road trip to Florida just because I feel like it. It’s magic.

And I don’t have to wait a minute for it.

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  • February 4, 2017

    Being present in the now is something many of us (especially Americans) have a hard time with. I never wish time away because we can never get those days back.

  • February 4, 2017

    I feel like I’m very much in waiting mode for many things right now and it sucks.
    Penny Sadler recently posted…An Abandoned Chateau In Napa Valley Gets New LifeMy Profile

  • February 4, 2017

    Sorry that comment wasn’t finished. I’m waiting for a lot of things to come to fruition and it is so hard. So this idea that you present is very timely for me.

    • February 5, 2017

      glad we could help…

  • February 5, 2017

    I don’t like waiting for something because I rather not define what that something is. If I expect something to happen, then I’m disappointed if it doesn’t. If it happens, it sometimes can feel not as great as I thought. I also wonder if defined expectations limit the outcome instead of seeing what the universe serves up next.
    Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie recently posted…Is the New York CityPASS Really Worth It?My Profile

    • February 5, 2017

      that’s very true. We’ve tried to be very zen about our situation…hopefully the universe will be kind to us!

  • February 5, 2017

    This was an interesting read! Having no expectations is usually a good idea while traveling. It can be tricky to go somewhere you’ve heard so much about and not have expectations, though!

  • February 5, 2017

    It’s important to recognize the value of being present, and in the moment. As a new parent, I was always waiting for my child to move to the next life stage, sometimes impatiently. Now my eldest is off at college. In retrospect, time actually passed extremely quickly. I’ve learned to seize each day and enjoy it as if tomorrow isn’t promised. Daily gratitude is where it’s at. 🙂 Best of luck with your future travels!

    • February 6, 2017
      Julie

      I think there is a saying about how the older you get, the faster time goes. I find that so true as I get older. My parents, who have 5 grown kids, are always talking about how they can barely keep up with the speed of time!

  • February 6, 2017

    Great reminder to be present. To be here now. To just breathe and appreciate the moments. As you mentioned, it’s difficult but it is necessary. Thanks for sharing your story. And as you wait, may you enjoy each moment!! Good luck.
    Rosemary recently posted…Chinatown Bangkok: Where to Have Amazing Street FoodMy Profile

    • February 6, 2017
      Julie

      Thanks – today is a hard day of trying to remember to be present, so thanks for your kind words!

  • February 7, 2017

    This is very timely. I was telling myself the same thing this morning – be in the now. I’m also at a waiting stage – waiting for my flat to sell so I can start new projects. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out as we plan but it’s important (albeit difficult) to concentrate on the good around us. Good luck with all your future projects!

    • February 11, 2017

      thanks! Good luck with selling your flat. We went through a similar situation a few years back when we were trying to sell a house prior to moving to NYC. Took WAY longer than we expected, which was frustrating. Eventually, we decided to just go ahead and move and wait for it to sell. Once we made that decision and began to the transition, we got an offer and sold the house. Go figure, right?

  • February 7, 2017

    Living in the here and now is such a powerful thing and I recommend mindfulness & meditation, if you don’t already practice them. They have helped me really live in the present & I’m so glad because time really does fly by, especially with my little boy growing up so quickly before my eyes 🙂 Polly
    Our Seaside Baby recently posted…Our Week in WalesMy Profile

  • February 8, 2017

    I can certainly say letting go and not having too many expectations can be hard at times. Especially when traveling.Need to learn to be more in the now and have a great time.

  • February 11, 2017

    I love deep posts. They are great to read every now and then. I agree with you for the most part but I think it all depends on what your waiting for. For me, part of the excitement of going to a new place or getting a new piece of equipment to add to my gear is so exciting. I love the feeling of waiting for something exciting. However, waiting for that cheating girlfriend or husband to change is not good. It really depends on what your waiting for.

  • February 20, 2017

    As someone who has had a countdown app on her phone for the last 13 months (5 to go!) of when I can begin my career break, I can certainly empathize with this – trying also enjoy the time I have left here, while looking ahead. Lots of platitudes come to mind, but suffice to say, I look forward to following your next adventure vicariously!
    Leigh | Campfires & Concierges recently posted…8 Destinations For Your Next Girlfriends’ GetawayMy Profile

    • February 23, 2017

      thanks! Good luck on your career break…where ya heading?

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