My entire life has been a waiting period–
–waiting for summer to come. For high school to end. For college to begin. Waiting for the next trip, the next adventure, the next stage. Waiting for graduation and the “real world” to begin. Waiting for the moment when I finally know what I’m doing with my life.
Yet, as soon as I reach the place that I spent so much time waiting for, I find myself longing for the next place. I allow Worry’s thin, cold fingers to shackle my mind and shove it down What If Blvd. Anxious thoughts spin round and round like dead leaves in the wind, not really going anywhere, freezing me in my stumbling tracks. Now, don’t get me wrong–while many of these consuming thoughts come packaged with dread and anxiety, an equal number are brightly painted with hopeful anticipation. But, the more time I spend waiting for whatever comes next, the less time I spend enjoying the moment that I am in.
Waiting is a master pickpocket.
Anticipation convinces the individual that what’s coming will be different–maybe better, maybe worse–but worthy of one’s thoughts above all else. It sneaks up behind, stealthily slipping past our defenses, and distracting us just long enough to steal the here-and-now right out from under our noses.
I could swear that Shauna Niequist had watched a movie of my entire life when she penned,
“I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin.
I want to live a life like the one Shauna Niequist describes in her book, Cold Tangerines:
“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud.
And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life
is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes.
I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open
and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing
and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now.
I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties
and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down,
and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh,
glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”
“But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of us will ever experience.“