Nobody likes to wait. We all want what we want when we want it, preferably without having to ask for it or work for it. The last few months have been an intensified period of waiting for me, and I am here to tell you today that I am really sick of it. Sick at heart, bored, restless, anxious, angry, and yes-pessimistic. I want what I want now.
My husband has been ill for the last six months. I am one of the lucky ones, because he is getting better, but he has been sick enough to not work very much, to have to stay at home on the couch most of the time, to feel truly lousy, to be afraid he is never going to feel better, to wonder what the rest of his life is going to be like. He has always been extremely fit and healthy. In the last thirty years, I can count on one hand the number of times he has been sick enough to stay home from work. He has always been the strong one, the one who took care of everyone else. It is shocking and terrifying. So we have both been sitting quietly at home, for the most part alone, waiting.
We also are trying to sell our house. We want to move closer to our kids and our granddaughter. As much as I knew we would not sell the house overnight, I am still upset that we haven’t! It is weird to have most of our stuff packed away, to spend every day trying to keep everything looking like no one lives here. I don’t want it to be November and nothing has happened. I don’t know where my winter clothes are. I don’t want to have to go drag them out for another winter here. We have loved our life here. It will continue here for a few years because he will continue to work here and commute. But our life’s focus has shifted to wherever our kids are. And we are fortunate that they are all in the same place. It seems like squandering an amazing opportunity to not be with them as much as we possibly can. So there is that. Sitting on the couch, keeping things clean, waiting for someone to pick our house. Ugh.
So I know that these problems are minuscule compared to what most people face daily. Life is very hard and there is waiting involved in everyone’s life. But these are my problems, and they seem bigger because they are closer. It is a matter of perspective. How do I get the perspective where they assume their proper size and don’t make every moment a misery? How do YOU do that? I really want to know because I need all the help I can get.
Here are some things that I know help. I just have to do them.
1.) Gratitude. There is always something to be thankful for. Spending time ferreting out just how many things you have to be grateful for is a mental and spiritual exercise that immediately improves your perspective. I know this is true because it works every time I do it.
2.) Attentiveness. To choose to live in this moment and glean every ounce of life and beauty that I can out of it will immediately take me out of living in the future and back into the present where I belong. Every moment is filled with potential for joy. I really believe this. I just hate doing the work sometimes.
3.) Prayer. I know, it sounds hokey. But lifting up my problems, my dreams, my hopes and desires, and my negative emotions to hands that are so much bigger than mine takes a load off. Big time. And those hands are attached to a benevolent being. And yes, life sucks a lot of the time and it can be argued that a benevolent being would not let it be so hard. But that negates the reality of choices that humans make, in a world where we are granted free will to screw up our lives, and the lives of others, in any way that we choose. Until the law catches up with us. Or the consequences. So I will pray, and know that prayer changes me. And that God keeps my tears, and everyone else’s, in a bottle.
4.) Empathy. When I involve myself in the life of someone else, on any level, it gets me out of my own head and my own problems. And it might even do someone else some good as well.
5.) Singing. Try it. It really works. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-Mr2pmuad4
I don’t consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin. Leonard Cohen