One of the life skills I have been actively working on for decades is patience. I used to be incredibly impatient, but it didn't take long for me to recognize that no one benefits from that kind of attitude.
However, cultivating patience can be a challenge. Take yesterday, for example. I had a ticket to see Stephen King talk about his new book. I left work a little early with the thought that I might be able to grab something to eat on my way there, but the traffic was terrible and it took me almost twice as long as I might have expected to reach my destination. By the halfway point, I had already given up on the idea of stopping anywhere and I had to just concentrate on making it to the venue by the time the doors opened.
As I drove through the parking garage to find a spot, I saw the line for the event. It stretched down the block, into the garage and up the ramp. For a moment, I seriously considered pulling back out of the spot and just going home, but since I'd already paid and it's a pretty big deal to see Stephen King, I put on my gloves and went out to stand in line in the cold.
Fortunately, the line moved quickly and I managed to get my ticket from the will-call desk and find a seat a reasonable distance from the stage. The presentation wouldn't start for almost 90 minutes, but I surfed the net on my phone while I saved a seat for one of my friends who was on her way.
Stephen King was highly entertaining and quickly reminded me why I like his books so much. I really wish I had brought a notebook to write down some of what he said. Fortunately, a book blogging friend of mine also attended and here is her recap of Stephen King's presentation.
The big lesson in patience came after we all left our seats and grabbed our copies of the book that came included in the ticket price. I made my way back to my car and spent almost 15 minutes waiting for the cars behind me to let me back out. No dice. There was complete gridlock in the garage and I could tell that nothing was going to get better any time soon.
Even though it was fairly late and I was tired and hungry and more than ready to go home, I decided to turn the situation to my advantage. I could have just sat there and been frustrated, but instead I shut off the engine, got out, and headed for the stairs at the corner of the garage.
I wasn't sure exactly where I was going, but when I made my way out of the garage I saw a coffee shop across the street. Hooray! I bought myself a small cup of coffee and a ginger molasses cookie to have as a pre-dinner snack, then settled myself comfortably on a stool by the window to wait out the traffic.
There was a time when I would have been seething with impatience over being delayed like that, but I have long since let that kind of attitude go. There's no point in getting worked up about things over which you have no control, especially since the consequences of being late are essentially nil. After all, no one was waiting for me to perform surgery; I was just heading home to feed the dog and warm up some pizza.
Patience is a work in progress, but I think I'm getting there.