For many people, waiting in line (or waiting for an elevator, waiting on hold when you need to get through to customer service…) is one of the worst things in the world — and for me this used to be the case as well. I have learned over time to make the best of the time that I must spend in line, and I would like to pass on what I now do that helps me.
The Romanian word răbdare, which roughly means patience, comes from the word răbda which seems to mean to accept, to tolerate, to endure. The word patience, incidentally, comes from the Latin word pati, which means to suffer. That about sums up my five year old son’s experiences with it when I request he has it!
The thing you should not do while waiting is to obsess over how long it has been that you have been doing so. When you do this you accomplish nothing other than aggravate yourself.
Breathing — I have written before about the wonders of the 4-7-8 technique for helping one get to sleep at night but it works wonderfully when one has an indeterminate wait. The technique, once more:
First, you exhale all the air from your mouth, as much as you can.
Take a breath in through your nose, and count to four in your head as you do this. Stop at four.
Hold that breath for a count of seven seconds.
Exhale the breath through your mouth for a count of eight seconds. You may wonder how you can exhale eight seconds worth of air when you only breathed in for four, but it’s perfectly feasible.
Repeat this two more times – in four, hold seven, out eight. In four, hold seven, out eight.
When I was younger and would get upset, my mother often reminded me that I should breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, slowly. Not only does breathing in through your nose help prevent illness (those nose hairs do a world of good, you know) but it is inherently slower and more deliberate.
Read! I have a small black bag that I take most everywhere and in it at least one book is always found. There are millions of books out there waiting to be read and so much to be learned, as well as a world of fiction to enjoy.
Be present! Look around and appreciate where and when you are. Who are the other people in the line with you? These are people you may never see again in your life, assuming that you don’t live in a town with a hundred and fifty-eight people where everyone knows everyone else. My grandfather would say when looking about, how many shades of green do you see? The world is an amazing and beautiful place if we allow ourselves to appreciate it fully.