Waiting Is the Hardest Part

by Bill Brenner on June 18, 2013

One of my biggest struggles has always been impatience. I hate waiting, whether it’s being stuck in a long line at Starbucks or getting adjusted to life’s changes. Since I recently started a new job, the challenge has grown particularly steep in recent weeks.

Mood music:

It’s all good, really; I’m enjoying the new job. But I’m always obsessed about where I want to be in the process, and that has made for a world of hurt in past jobs. That hurt is usually all in my head, thoughts that run wild and make me sick or irritable.

The normal thing to do is take it a day at a time, learn the ropes and realize that it takes several weeks to start hitting the right groove. But that’s not me. I come in with a long list of what I want to accomplish and get bummed out if I haven’t burned through half the list after the first two weeks. If I write 5 blog posts, I feel like I should have done 10 or 15 by that point. If an idea for a new web page isn’t live a month after I’ve laid down the first design, I start to feel adrift.

If I were a carpenter instead of a writer and editor, I’d be bummed out about not getting an entire house built in the first month.

The reality is that a person usually has plenty of time to get acclimated. Some jobs ramp up faster than others. When I worked in a record store in my early 20s, I only had a few days to learn the ropes. By the end of the first week, I was expected to be restocking shelves and working the cash register.

But that’s retail. In the world of writing and editing, the ramp up is a longer process, especially when you’re doing the job in a setting that is not based on an editorial operation.

What I need to do now is going to take time. Relationships must be made and solidified. Ideas have to go through multiple channels for review. That’s as it should be. Push things through too fast and you’ll create a legacy of half-baked works. Push too hard on people you’re just getting to know, and they’re not going to want to work with you much.

So I’m working on taking the new job a day at a time. Doing so should be easy. My new workmates have made me feel welcome and comfortable.

My only enemy is in my head. He’s an old adversary, and I suppose he’ll always be there. It’s an enemy born of false and impatiently conceptualized expectations. He pushes me to move fast and recklessly. But I can’t let him win.

I’ll be working the coping tools hard in the coming weeks as I find my footing. Waiting is hard. But more often than not, it’s necessary and you have to accept it.

And so I’ll continue trying.

Cracked Glass Photo Credit: W J (Bill) Harrison via Compfight cc

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