Throughout this entire year, it feels like we have been waiting for something. For the virus to be vanquished. For racial justice tensions to be meaningfully addressed. Or for the presidential election to be completed.
None of those things have been completed; still we wait.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What are you waiting for?’ We also discuss another question as well, ‘Are science and religion compatible?’
But in a larger sense, it is easy to wait for something coming juuuust around the corner. Once it happens, life can begin.
Once you graduate from high school, you can get on with your life. A romantic partner would make things complete. That raise at work will make everything worthwhile. After the kids leave the house, we can do all the tings we have wanted to get around to.
Eventually, life marches on, if you are waiting for something or not. And yet, the allure of something big just over the horizon is very appealing.
What about you? Is there something in your life that needs to complete before you can move on to the next thing? What are you waiting for?
Related questions: How can we build confidence? How do you set priorities? Now or later? What are you saving for?
3 thoughts on “What Are You Waiting For?”
I am engaged in a chronic struggle with Anxiety. For those who know me, the Anxiety part is not a surprise, nor is the struggle. But the thing about Anxiety is that in struggling against It, you give It power. If you can’t be preemptive in addressing Anxiety (see below), it is best to let It have Its way with you, internally ask pertinent questions (like, “Why is this happening to me now?), and then let it pass.
So how does pertain to the “What are you waiting for?” question? There are three things I am not doing with the extra time I have to help me triumph over Anxiety:
1. I am not meditating at all. I can undoubtedly rearrange time in my morning to set aside 15 minutes for self-guided meditation.
2. I am not using my full-spectrum light (i.e. my “Happy Light”) to fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). While Depression is the primary thing SAD is connected to, agitation is also something some people experience. While I cannot guarantee my regular agitation and SAD are linked, it is worth seeing if they are.
3. I have several books and workbooks about reducing Anxiety. But, no lie, the physical act of picking up those books, opening them, and starting to read creates Anxiety in me. Weird? Sure. But I think the fact that I have books correlates to my acknowledgment that I have a long way to reduce Anxiety’s grip on parts of my life. Committing to reading these books acknowledges the stress/Anxiety I will feel in having to focus a lot of time on addressing the situation.
For those who don’t know much about my struggle with Anxiety, I should note that the medications I take have significantly reduced my Anxiety levels — It used to be at a near-perpetual state; now, It’s only connected to certain situations. Both my mental health med doctor and therapist have agreed that the meds have done what they can (unless I wanted to increase the dosage of meds and deal with increased adverse side effects). And because I don’t see that as an option, it is up to me to do the hard work of setting time aside to meditate, spend time with my Happy Light, and study up on tactics to reduce Anxiety.
What am I waiting for? I have no excuse. And, truthfully, the COVID-era, with it’s opening up of time not spent driving to and from work and from meeting to meeting, really does provide the time for me to focus more on solutions to Anxiety.
Since mid-March, when everything seemed to stop in response to the growing COVID pandemic, I feel like I have been holding my breath. And before I can release that breath and go back to life, I am waiting for a week, a month, a season, a year.
Intellectually, I know this is ridiculous. I know that life continues on. Since then, an aunt of mine has died. The roof of my house needed to be replaced. There have been several birthdays. Spring turned to summer which has given way to an intermittent autumn. Life goes on whether or not I am “holding my breath”.
If a year goes by before we get access to an effective vaccine (and it could be even longer, of course), then all that has happened is that I have one less year to be alive. Waiting for things to go back to “normal” (whatever that means) is pointless.
But emotionally, I can’t help but feel limited. Venturing out of the house, particularly when cases and deaths all around the country are surging, feels like an unnecessary risk. And my nerves feel too raw to continue with what I was doing, say, a year ago. Even reading, which I normally love, seems like a chore right now.
So I’m trying to find ways of accomplishing things I want to accomplish from home. Intellectual Roundtable, no doubt, is a big part of that. But I’m also trying to set a personal routine, which I sometimes struggle to stick to.
While waiting around the house for things to “get back to normal”, I decided I needed more structure in my life, so I made a list of weekly household chores and assigned them to a certain day of the week. Then at the end of the week, I check to see if they all got done. If the day needs to change once in awhile, that’s okay. When I start to get the blues, I think of others or name things I am thankful for.