Skip to content

The waiting game

    Everybody waits. It seems hardly worth elaborating but the business of waiting in one way or another is a standard feature of modern life.

    But how do you deal with that time? 

    The vast majority of people see waiting as a waste of their time. In public they will crane their necks to see what the hold up is. Others will stare intently at their watch as if it were a magical device which could end the queue. Real sufferers will complain out loud generating either scorn or vocal support. Queueing is seen as fundamentally wrong and proof that ‘the system isn’t working’ etc etc.

    But it really is worth taking a step back and considering what queueing means to you. Rather than following your feelings and getting angry (which wont help anyway) try to figure out what happened to you when you were young to make standing in a line or waiting for a call centre worker to respond so difficult. Are all queues difficult for you or only those which constitute say, duties for others? Were you brought up by impatient people who were always in a hurry? Are you subconsciously copying them? Are you teaching your own children impatience? What do you think of the version of you that is so irrational and angry?

    The second theme here concerns time. Whose time is it when you are waiting? The chronically impatient can get angry while waiting because they queuing robs them of their ability to do their thing – to prove themselves in one way or another. Queueing time can be a ‘no-time’ in which people cannot get on with their tasks and for some this can be very frustrating. Has the drive of the ego to plan and succeed created a version of you that is not quite the ideal you are straining for?

    I won’t insult anyone by suggesting that they adopt a calmer manner while queueing but I do suggest thinking through these questions. At the very least they can create a pause, perhaps one long enough to slow yourself down and align yourself to the moment. Its worth a try.

    Now I’m just popping down to the post office for practise.