Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Patience.....

Some resolutions are keepers.  And so, once again, I will examine the concept of patience.

It is too much to ask that I resolve to become more patient.  Resolutions should target the possible, as TBG phrased it when constructing the sentence was more than I could manage.  Target the possible, not ask for the impossible.  I know myself all too well - becoming more patient would be frustrating and impossible.

I have held this resolution for over a decade; it comes into play most often in check out lines.  I stand behind women (and it's always women) who take each item out of the cart separately, placing each item with care and concern on the conveyor belt, watching each item as it is rung up and flung into a plastic sack (because she never ever ever carries a reusable bag of her own), and then, when the cashier smiles and tells her the total, she takes her purse off her shoulder and begins to look for her checkbook (and it's always a checkbook).  And I wait.  And I wait.  And I wait.

Can you feel the fury rising as I type?  Asking me to become patient is patently absurd.  It's not in me.

But what is in me is the power to rise above it.  I know this is true because there have been moments over the last ten years when I found myself smiling at a situation which normally would send me into a tizzy.  Those moments don't happen often, but when they do, they remind me that I am capable of change, that I ought to try harder, that feeling happy is better than being aggravated.

I can make myself happy by imagining a beautiful scene.  I listened to a podcast with Esther Sternberg, an immunologist who's done work on the interactions between healing and one's immediate environment.  Citing research showing quicker, happier healing when facing a wooded area rather than a brick wall, she wonders why the word placebo is always qualified with just.  If it works, why denigrate it?  And why can't it be more than a placebo?  Why can't it have actual, psychological and physiological effects?  Her work on this is fascinating and translational; it goes from the laboratory to the mainstream with little effort.

And so, today, when some fool needed to pull out of the parking lot, cross two lanes of traffic, and end up going ten miles below the speed limit after cutting me off, I pictured the native grasses along Rte 79, with the sun fading and the light glowing in what Little Cuter, in her professional photographer mode, calls the golden hour.  I was still furious, but I was smiling through my rage.

This is a resolution worth renewing.

6 comments:

  1. Although I also tend to be not very patient most check out lines need slowing down IMHO. You can't tell mistakes are being made if half your items are scanned before you can see the screen! One customer should be allowed to leave before the next is started. I keep saying I'm going to start writing checks again in an effort to slow it down but haven't yet. The car that cuts you off and then slows down - that particularly tries my patience too!

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    1. If it was care and not stupidity I would be less bothered, I think :-)
      a/b

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  2. i try to always allow myself plenty of time to do things, which is pretty easy since I'm retired. So when I'm faced with the slow person in front of me, I just at remind myself that I'm retired now. I am in no big rush to get anywhere. That person is probably all stressed out and preoccupied with how they're going to juggle a dozen things - or they're just an inconsiderate jerk - but I can just relax and listen to music or a podcast or chat with someone or just daydream. It took awhile to reach this level of calm and I still get impatient sometimes, but I find I enjoy shopping much more than I used to. As to the maniacs on the road? I don't think there's a way to reach any sense of calm or patience. All we can hope for is sufficient intestinal fortitude!

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    1. I, too, try to remember that everyone has issues and perhaps the fool in the car is rushing to an emergency or distracted by something awful.

      But still...... :-)
      a/b

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  3. Yes, patience is not easy for me either. I used to say when I was teaching young kids that I got paid for my patience, so I had to maintain it at school. At home, not so much. Now that I am retired, I generally have more time so being patient is easier. But, oh, look out when I am in a hurry.
    I'll have to work on that mind movie thing.

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    1. Going to a happy place is NEVER a bad idea, Linda <3
      a/b

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