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What’re We Waiting For?

October 4, 2012

When I was a college-graduate, still living at home, I couldn’t wait to get out on my own.

I dreamed and planned for my first apartment.When I had my first apartment, and was living on my own, I couldn’t wait to get married. I was convinced THAT would be the point when my life would begin.When I was a newlywed, we immediately began dreaming and planning to buy a house of our own. Everything would be perfect. We picked the town, the school system, and found the PERFECT (and I do mean perfect) little Cape Cod in Gorham, Maine (see above). We were convinced we would raise our children in that sleepy college suburb, 30 minutes (and lots of idyllic cows) outside of Portland.

When we had a house of our own, I started planning out my nursery. The upstairs had a tiny little bedroom that would be just right – and later an office when the kids were old enough to move across the hall into the gigantic second bedroom. With built-in under-eave dressers. Two of them. And they could sled in the backyard and explore in the woods behind our house along our little creek. And there would never be dirty laundry on the floor because we had a cunning little laundry chute to the basement. (I told you, this house was PERFECT.)

Life had other plans, though. and just one year later we found ourselves deprived of our precious Yankee cottage and ensconced in a boring 1950’s ranch in Fremont, CA. I threw an inner temper-tantrum for a month or two, but finally settled into our new life. I kept dreaming of the day when our lives would finally begin – when I had a baby. But my DH wasn’t quite so eager and it was five years before we decided to give it a go.

Finally, Scooby blessed us with his presence and I couldn’t wait to have another. I knew we needed to have two – our family would be perfect then.

When I got a great job, I couldn’t wait to get promoted. When I got promoted, I couldn’t wait to quit and be a stay-at-home-mom.

Now I’m married, I have a house and two kids, I’m semi-retired and I’m finding that I don’t know what to wait for anymore.

Am I now waiting to get old, out of shape, and irrelevant? Yuck!

What, exactly, was I waiting for in the first place? Happiness? Contentment? A better job, more money, a nicer house? Do you ever find yourself putting off what you could be enjoying now, because someday, somewhere, around the corner, the RIGHT time will arrive? In the expectation that when your ship comes in, all will be perfect from that day forward. Is your china sitting in the cupboard, untouched? Waiting for a special occasion just special enough to warrant its use? What dresses or shoes sit in the closet, unworn, what perfume unopened, what dishes, or candles, or table linen sits dust-covered and useless because this normal life, in general, just isn’t special enough?

I love the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus, because it really summarizes this point – a brilliant but impoverished composer waits his whole life to create his magnum opus – never getting that chance – only to find, at the end of his life, that it was his life that was the magnum opus.I don’t want to wait anymore. I want to live in the now. I want to wear that dress, I want to use the dishes, and I want to pay attention to what’s going on in the middle of the journey.

I don’t want to get to the end and realize that what I had been waiting for, I actually had, all along.

When are we going to get going? Chris says.
What’s your hurry? I ask.
I just want to get going.
There’s nothing up ahead that’s any better than it is right here.
Robert M. Pirsig
What are YOU waiting for?
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14 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2009 5:53 pm

    >Your article could have been written by me, well, er um, let me say that you expressed exactly the way my day dreams have gone along through the years of my life. I have always had the tendency to miss the "NOW" while waiting for my next dream to come true. Thanks for helping me to think about this today. Sometimes I forget that my purpose is not to GET, but to GIVE and to live in the moment. I love you.

  2. December 21, 2009 7:29 pm

    >What a great reminder. It's so true. I wonder if it's human nature, or a specific ailment of modern American culture? Your post reminds me of the Point of Grace song "Turn Up the Music." If you haven't heard it, you must! It's one of my mom's favorites.

  3. December 21, 2009 10:22 pm

    >I couldnt agree more…a huge premise for my step to get into life coaching. If we could just live like this all the time…the world would be an amazing place…i heard a quote today that piggybacks with this so well…our source of suffering is always related to our resistance to what is…i will certainly be asking you for some ideas and proofreading once i get my blog and website up for my coaching gig in 2010…hope to see you on xmas eve 🙂

  4. December 22, 2009 7:46 am

    >Very thoughtful commentary, Adelle. I've tried to keep from doing this too much, often without success. Unfortunately, it seems that people who have suffered great loss and trial are the best at actually "living in the moment". They have come face to face with deciding what really matters in life. Possibly they have had a glimpse of eternity that we haven't and know that a lot of this timebound stuff really isn't important. And that's really what we ARE waiting for, I suppose; eternity.

  5. December 22, 2009 7:57 am

    >Postscript to my first comment: After reading a couple of your other bits (Grief, Blindsided), I think you qualify for having suffered loss and trial. So, maybe that's why you are able to so accurately express this struggle, because you are getting toward the winning side. 🙂

  6. January 20, 2010 3:11 pm

    >Beautifully said. It's so true that we fall into that trap of waiting for the next thing that will mean our life has begun. It's hard to stop and say "Wait…this is my life." Great post!

  7. February 7, 2010 11:35 pm

    >Wonderful words – it touched me deep withing and made me cry – thinking of all the times I have waited as well. But as I have learned lately, life is about the journey and I am working each day to enjoy what is in the moment and special about now. Thanks for sharing and getting me to think about what matters most.

  8. April 14, 2010 2:02 pm

    >Thank you for putting into words my own thoughts and feelings. I am older now. Supposed to be wiser now. That assumption is so very wrong. The truth is I am still waiting.Still………waiting….

  9. April 18, 2010 9:50 am

    >Wow. That post struck me over the head. I didn't even realize that that was exactly how I've been thinking. Once I move to a place I like…once I get married…once I get my own house…once I figure out my career… I'm young and vibrant and have a great boyfriend and there's no reason it can't be perfect NOW. Thank you. 🙂

  10. April 18, 2010 11:35 pm

    >i always thought like you did, then one day i had a baby who was born with a rare disorder. this made me stop and take life one precious day at a time. every moment you are not present in the hear and now, is a moment in your life you have waisted and will not get back. i found your blog through looking through my friends, my name is anne xxx

  11. October 5, 2012 3:23 pm

    That was the perfect little Cape Cod! I loved that house, too. But mostly because that’s where you were.

  12. October 5, 2012 10:23 pm

    I cannot recall the short story, maybe by Kate Chopin, but I don’t know. The male character waits too long and realizes at the end of the story…sad!

  13. Elisa permalink
    October 6, 2012 6:30 am

    So true, I’ve wasted many a night crying over lost and postponed dreams. I finally realized that the detours were a blessing and lessons I needed to learn to appreciate and live my life to the fullest, and teach my two precious daughters to do the same 🙂

  14. October 7, 2012 1:18 pm

    Amen!!!!

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