What does patience mean to you?

My journey began over a year ago now. Since I am 23, that 1 year is about 4% of my life. From the outset, I had no idea if the Peace Corps would even work out. I still don’t, really. And I still have no idea how long it might take either. Last January I thought I would get shipped out in the fall. Now it’s “next” winter already, and I’m still not close to leaving. The journey has been a good practice in patience.

Patience boils down to the ability to wait for X, but the actual application of patience can mean so many different things. It could be the struggle to wait for your friend to finish his story before you share yours. Maybe it’s circling a weekend away on the calendar that is months out. Perhaps you’re saving your money for a delight in the distant future. Or maybe you’re waiting to completely shift careers and do something new like me.

What kind of patience do you possess? Many people (myself included sometimes) are unable to wait for the friend to finish his story, so we interrupt. Lots of us “can’t wait” for that fun weekend away, so we writhe in anguish until the day arrives. And how many people will screw saving the money and buy X on credit instead? So…maybe patience isn’t as prevalent in our society as it could/should be.

That is what I’m learning now. I have never been in a situation like I am now, grinding day to day while biding my time until I can try something that I’ve been waiting on for over a year and searching for for much longer. I can delay gratification with the best of them, but sticking with a job for over a year while I wait on a passion has been very difficult.

Maybe none of us would possess patience if we didn’t have to. If we interrupted our friends every time they told a story, we wouldn’t have many friends left. So we have to hold back most of the time.

Could too much patience be a bad thing? I think so. If I waited on the Peace Corps forever, I would be in my current job forever. I think there are lots of people out there who work at a place for a long time because it’s comfortable and the fear of change is too great. Or think of the overly-patient parent, who lets his son keep slacking while never establishing any authority.

One thing is for sure, I never really thought about patience before applying to the PC. Now I see it staring back at me in the mirror every morning.


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