The Unclaimed Joy of Waiting

The batter hit the oil-lined pan and I waited, spatula in hand, for tiny bubbles to form. The thought of pancakes had lured me out of bed, tired and hungry. Hoping to hurry the process along, I raised the temperature on the stove eager to kick-start my day.

“When did we become so impatient?” I found myself wondering. There was no real sense of urgency, only my own desire to occupy the seconds as they ticked by rather than lean into the stillness they invited.

How often do we resist the urge to simply be, or fail to notice such opportunities altogether? We grow restless waiting in line, sitting in traffic, or slogging through Thursday with our sights set on Friday.

No matter how much we prioritize, delegate, or simplify, much of our lives will be spent in eager anticipation of what’s next. But the passing days are not defined by the arrival of each new destination or accomplishment they bring, however significant or mundane it may be.

When we become so focused on getting from point A to point B, we neglect the abundant potential that lies in between. A few moments of silence can provide a morning’s worth of restoration. A traffic jam can be the perfect excuse to catch up on an audiobook. A crowded waiting room can be an opportunity to unplug and bury yourself in conversation. A tedious task can invite creativity and collaboration.

In our fast-paced society, time waiting has become synonymous with time wasted. We’ve become so accustomed to its negative connotations that we struggle to see that its value is dependent not on how we define it but on how we spend it.

Imagine if you didn’t live in dread of long lines or morning commutes, but simply lived. Imagine if you weren’t just a weekend warrior, but a Monday through Wednesday warrior. Imagine if you committed not only to your daily calendar, but to 10 minutes of daily solitude.

Seek joy in waiting. Challenge yourself to slow down and savor. As you make breakfast, make peace with the minutes left unfilled. As you go about your day, step out of impatience and into presence.