Patience & Persistence
If two words in the English language could get married, I bet it’d be patience and persistence.
Both complement and almost require one another in order to exist.
Patience had some interesting definitions around the web. Let me share a few:
the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset (google.com)
good-natured tolerance of delay or incompetence; solitaire: a game played by one person (wordnetweb.princeton.edu)
the art of delayed gratification; an essential ingredient in parenthood and adoption. (godsfamilies.org)
firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition; the continued or prolonged existence of something (google.com)
(persist) prevail: continue to exist; (persist) persevere: be persistent, refuse to stop; (persist) stay behind (wordnetweb.princeton.edu)
(persist) (-ed) – not giving up, especially when facing difficulty (pinkpowergirlsrock.com)
(persistent) Deciduous leaf blades that remain on the tree for more than a year (treespade.info/)
Persistence is continuance despite difficulty and patience is tolerating difficulty.
I suppose one could exercise one of these traits without the other, for instance I can envision someone training for a marathon but having a hard time accepting that they’re not instantly able to run 26 miles after a few weeks (persistence without patience), but in general I think persistence and patience go hand in hand.
Lately I’ve felt not-so-willingly forced into the hands of both persistence and patience.
I’m awaiting the arrival of decision letters from graduate programs, which I have been readying myself to attend (in some shape or form) for the last 7 years or so.
I’m awaiting the closure of a personal injury lawsuit that started 2.5 years ago.
I’m awaiting the future for Dan and I, which may be influenced by graduate school and/or the lawsuit to some extent, but mainly our own experiences/ decisions, etc. Our relationship is something we are continually living and working on.
It’s pretty difficult to foster patience and persistence.
There are definitely days when I just want to know what the future holds – I want to know if I’m making the best decisions possible to achieve the end closest to ideal, and for goodness sake, I’m just weary of waiting. I want tomorrow to hurry up already. I want to live my life, not feel stuck in a perpetual limbo of potentiality.
Then there are days when I’m content in the present – I can appreciate sitting on the precipice of impending change and look around, survey the landscape, if you will, with staying still as the only action I have to commit to right now.
But for someone who believes in self-empowerment, individual choice, and simple independence, staying still is a challenge. It’s a test of persistence because I am committed to various paths which I must continue on, and it’s a test of patience because I want so badly to dance, skip or run down the paths but I’m being forced to walk, and walk slowly- at a pace undefined by me.
When I’m feeling the waves of frustration at the lack of control, stirred by the winds of anxiety seeping into my thoughts, I freak out (e.g., cry, furiously scribble thoughts on the nearest sheet of paper, lose sleep, eating copious amounts of chocolate, etc.) and I try to find solace. I try. Lately The Eagles’ Learn to be Still provides a soothing reminder of what I must do for now. Not forever, I remind myself, just for now.
And I try to accept the fact that life itself is not a sprint, but a marathon. So in some ways, it’s good that I am being required to exercise patience and persistence because these skills will surely help me far into the future in ways I am not even aware of at the moment.
But it is challenging – of body, mind and spirit – to be still. To continue. To wait. To continue. To wait.
For those of us needing a little zen while we progress in a waiting position, here is a link to I Am Waiting by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Thanks for reading, S