If you’re an artist it often seems like every night is game night-waiting game night. The difference between waiting game night and normal game night is that the waiting game isn’t fun or enjoyable, it lasts too long, and it’s hard to beat.
Yes, we artists are no strangers to the waiting game. At any given time it seems we all have something we’re waiting for-a phone call, a job offer, a big break, our dreams to come true-you get the idea.
I think the biggest thing that I hate about waiting is the fact that I feel like my life is on hold. I feel like I literally cannot do anything else until the waiting has ceased and I get to the end result of whatever it is that I’m waiting for. Although life doesn’t actually stop when you’re waiting, it does seem super slow and boring. In fact, waiting is so boring that it almost feels like a waste of time and in an instaneous society, we are not about wasting time.
“Much good happens in the space where nothing is happening.” -Christa Wells
Reminders for When You’re in the Midst of the Waiting Game
We seem to think that anything slow is a problem-but is it really? Here are some things to keep in the back of your mind while you’re waiting.
Hindsight is 20/20
I read this quote in Emily Freeman’s book A Million Little Ways and she used an excellent example of the sun setting to illustrate just how much happens in the waiting process. If you watch the sun setting, nothing appears to be happening. However, quite a bit is actually happening each minute. In fact when you see the darkened sky of night and then think about how the sky looked about an hour ago, you realize just how much happened in that short space.
This is how the waiting game is for us. When we’re in it, it seems to last forever but how many times have you reached the finish line, looked back, and realized that there actually was a lot happening in that slow space? That space is the place where you sharpen your dreams and desires. It’s where you learn about yourself. Looking back, you often realize that there was a purpose in your waiting. Can you think of an example in your life when you felt that way?
Pay Attention to the Details
As a Disney cast member, I spend quite a bit of time in the parks. This is great, however, it doesn’t mean I’m exempt from waiting to get on the rides. In an ideal world I would have a fast pass and not have to wait at all for anything. However, there are several rides where it actually pays to wait.
Disney is very deliberate in how they do things. A ride isn’t just a ride, it’s an experience and that experience begins with waiting in the cue line. Disney cue lines are now often interactive, environmental, and designed to make every step of the way a part of the story.
Sure the wait is long and slow and the ride is ultimately the best part. However, the cue line is full of details and nuances that the fast pass line often misses. The longer you wait, the longer you are immersed in every detail of the story and the ride is more than just a ride, it’s a journey. You get to live in the world of the story and the longer you live there, the more value the ride has. Life is no different. The slower the process, the more details we pick up along the way and these details help shape our own stories.
Waiting Teaches Us Valuable Lessons:
I recently visited my friends Christine and Andy who have a six year old girl named Finley. When I arrived Finley was bursting with excitement and anticipation. Christine explained to me that today was a very special day. Today was the day that the Moana doll that Finley earned would arrive.
My friends had just started giving Finley a chore/allowance system. Every time she did a chore, she was given a quarter and she could spend the money as she pleased. Well she decided on a $27 Moana doll which probably seemed like an astronomical amount for a six year old trying to add up quarters.
Sure her parents could have just bought the doll for her but that would eliminate so many valuable lessons. It took Finley a month to save, but she did it and she did it on her own by working hard.
I will never forget seeing an excited little girl wait by the front door for the UPS truck to arrive, run outside screaming when it finally came, tear open the box, stare in shock at the very thing she had waited so long for, and then hug that doll like it was the most treasured thing in the whole world.
Work ethic, discipline, focus, value, and worth are some of the many lessons derived from this example. The longer you wait for something the more valuable it is and the more cherished it will be when you finally get it. We don’t realize how many of these lessons we have lost in our instantaneous lifestyles.
Listen I know waiting is hard and may never be easy or fun. I want everything instantly and I hate when my life is up in the air or I feel stuck but that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. The waiting shapes and sharpens us, teaches us value, and often gives us glimpses of things we would otherwise miss.
So the next time you find yourself waiting, just keep moving forward day by day. You may not feel like you are doing anything, but as long as you are moving forward something is indeed happening and working within you. Your time will come and when it does I hope you are able to say “the wait was worth it.”