If you happen to know me (and I mean really know me), there is a good chance that you also happen to know that I’m a very impatient person. Always was.
As an impatient person who loves to create and work on projects outside of her 9-5. Unfortunately, 9/10 of these projects require patience. Lots of it. So after years of battling with my need to create and develop the patience required to ensure that my creative projects make it to the final stages of completion. I realized I needed to make some changes. Nothing elaborate but rather small habits that allowed me to create a nurturing environment for long-term patience that is required for almost all creative endeavors.
So what habits did this chaotic and possibly undiagnosed ADHD millennial develop to help with her lack of patience?
- I read a couple of chapters of my current book on a daily basis. I found that reading allowed my brain to relax. The words on my Kindle painted slow images in my mind and I often drifted into another world. The patience it requires to finish reading a book is often one that goes unnoticed, but over time I realized that this habit allowed me to be patient with other (albeit smaller) tasks in my life.
- I took up gardening. It was 2 cacti and 1 Dracaena plant but that still counts in my opinion. I made sure I read up on how to take care of them and watered them every couple of days to ensure they stayed alive and thriving. During the moments where I wiped the leaves of the Dracaena plant or check the level of moisture in the soil of my cacti, I made sure I focused on that alone. Even if only for a couple of minutes. I realized that in a day and age where the notifications on our phones demand our constant attention, retaining a longer attention span was a skill. A skill that can be nurtured through small tasks like this one.
- I took up painting. I’m no Freida Kahlo but I’ve always loved the way colors looked on paper. So in the late evenings when the world was focused on the late-night news, I took a glass of wine and tuned out the rest of the world. I made sure to take my time with each section of the painting as opposed to completing an entire painting in 3-4 hours. I focused on the details even though every fiber in my body wanted to complete the entire painting in one sitting. When it came to patience, art was the greatest teacher.
- I volunteered to teach English online. This kept me humble and left me feeling grateful because I was able to help those in need. Since most of my students came from a non-English speaking background it took a lot of patience to get them to understand basic vowels, nouns, and verbs, etc. But I loved it. Seeing their faces break into a smile during our Zoom calls because they finally grasped what I was trying to teach them, made it all worth it. That feeling of pure gratitude is so wholesome, that it helped me shift my perspective on my struggles.
Truth is. Acquiring a sense of patience is an art form and while it may not be one that I have necessarily mastered yet. It has helped me navigate through a lot of low blows in life and at a time like this where everything seems so certain. I’m able to find comfort in the fact that, if I’m patient enough, this too shall pass.