I hate waiting.
I’m a planner and a doer, but I’m horrible at being patient. I need activity; tangible movement towards my goal. I’m fine with a goal taking ten years to accomplish, as long as I’m actively doing something every day of those ten years.
I am really, really bad at stopping to smell the roses.
When I was a young man, somewhere between ten and twelve years old, my father taught me how to mow the lawn, trim the edges, pull the weeds and just generally do the landscaping in the summer. A vital part of the process, according to him, was pulling out a lawn chair when you were done, and sitting in it with a glass of lemonade and looking at the lawn for a while. I asked him why it was so important to do that. His initial joking answer was “so you can see all the spots you missed,” but his more serious answer was that it was important to take time to reward yourself for the hard work you did by enjoying what you worked for.
That was the part I was worst at. I enjoyed mowing the lawn; I could put headphones in, listen to music and let my mind wander while I did the relatively simple task more or less on auto-pilot. But when it was over, I wanted to be on to something else. I didn’t want to linger.
I’m the kind of person that always has something cooking. There’s always a dozen project ideas eager to fill in any spare gaps in my schedule. I have children that it’s easy (and fun!) to lose hours with as they laugh and climb on me. I put a lot of hours into work ambitions. I honestly can’t remember a time in the past twenty years when I didn’t have anything to do. I don’t remember the last time I was bored.
But I also don’t remember the last time I stood still for more than five minutes. I tried meditating recently and failed miserably. I don’t relax well. If you need a more clear picture, just know that I feel deeply and personally attacked by the following comic:
Anyway, I haven’t given up. I always try to maintain a student mentality; I live to learn. I’m very open to suggestions and ideas on how to better enable myself to step back and relax now and then. So if you’ve got them, please share!