An article ‘Your Life in Numbers’ recently caught my attention. Apparently, an average human, who lives for 80 years, will spend 26 years sleeping plus an additional 7 years trying to sleep. We spend 13 years working (not including overtime) and women spend 136 days getting ready as opposed to men who spend a measly 46 days doing the same!
This led me to wonder how much time we spend – just waiting; at the doctor’s office, at MacDonalds and for friends who seem to have lost all concept of time. How many years of our life have we spent (or should I say ‘lost’) waiting for something or someone.
In days gone by, when no one had ever heard of booking tickets online, we stood in line to buy cinema tickets. Sometimes the pre-film shows would have already begun while we inched our way forward. At other times, the tickets would be all sold out just as we reached the ticket window – a good hour just lost to the sands of time.
Summer holiday time is here. We will spend a good chunk of time planning and thinking of our dream vacation to come. However, I shudder to think of the hours that will be spent at the airport to get through immigration, customs and waiting for your luggage to arrive which, developing a mind of its own, might decide to land on another continent altogether. I would consider myself lucky if the flight was not delayed or, heaven forbid, cancelled altogether. At this point I would drown myself in a puddle of my own tears.
Waiting in a doctor’s office is a true test of my patience and I have failed every time. I am barely there for a few minutes and I start to fret and fume and think, “Goodness me! I could have read ‘Anna Karenina” twice over in the time I have sat here”. A rather gross exaggeration but that’s how I feel. The fun is compounded when you have a rambunctious child (or two) with you.
Another great situation that tests the patience of otherwise perfectly placid and rational men/women is waiting in a traffic jam. I understand that everyone has somewhere to be, I get the frustration but saying “C’mon, C’mon! C’mon!! in ever increasing decibels will not open up a clear path for you nor will slamming your palm on the steering wheel perform a miracle.
One of my other ‘waits’ is at restaurants that do not accept reservations. You go in and hope you get a seat. If not, like me, you can stand around looking at everyone’s food and calculating how long it will take them to finish it. In my mean moments I think, “Did you really have to order dessert?” or “Do you think you could chat less and eat faster?” It is a good thing no one can read my thoughts.
It seems I have wasted a good many hours just waiting and fretting. I have now decided to adopt a more Zen attitude or spend time listening to a podcast or learn a new language while waiting. If all fails, I can go back to slamming the steering wheel with an open palm and wait for a miracle to happen.