Patience is a lost art in today’s world. We wait for nothing. Instagram is one of the top 5 apps across all devices, behind Snapchat and Facebook, two other apps designed to give its users instant social media access. Spotify and Pandora are included in the Top 10, both of which offer instant music. If our WiFi or data connections aren’t working, we threaten to throw the device out the window or find a new carrier. If the line at Wal-mart is too long, we lament the fact that they never have enough registers open. We purchase Amazon Prime for its 2-day shipping. We subscribe to Netflix and watch Friends there, even though we own all 10 seasons, because the binge-watching is easy and instant.
You catch my drift.
Not only am I worried about what this is teaching our children, but I am worried what it’s doing to our own lives. Our senses of sanity and our blood pressure. We’re conditioning ourselves to be impatient creatures in a world that mostly offers instant gratification, but what about the big things? The stuff that matters? How can we refine our character and live a life that’s truly at peace, if we’re constantly expecting instant gratification?
How long does it take some women to get pregnant?
How long did it take you to land your dream job?
How long did it take your parents to be able to retire?
How long did you have to go through the muck before things got better?
How long was your marriage on shaky ground before it became stable again?
How long did you have to wait for Breaking Bad to come out on DVD?
How long did it take your child to learn how to completely, 100%, independently use the potty?
The benefits of waiting are great. I’m not saying instant gratification is a bad thing, because in some cases – like Starbucks drive-through and Zaxby’s french fries – it works and it’s right and it’s delicious. I’m just saying we’ve let it saturate our culture to an extent that we don’t know how to wait, we don’t know how to be patient anymore. But I would say that the lost art of learning how to be patient can be an incredibly valuable tool in your bag o’ tricks.
Today, take a breath. Enjoy a moment that you might not otherwise enjoy. Don’t move on in your brain to the Thing 12 before you’ve even finished Thing 1.
Let your experiences mean more to you as you take the time to enjoy them. Breathe. Enjoy life.