My Impatience with Patience

Written by Kendra

With my internship ending and my time in Montreal rapidly coming to a close, I am asked on a near daily basis about my next step. My response is usually “My parents’ basement”.

They tend to think that I’m joking.

If only.

Yes, at the ripe old age of 29 and a half I am probably moving into my parent’s home, for at least a month, in the ultimate act of the boomerang child.

There are a couple of reasons for this.  Well, really, only one reason. Money. Being effectively unemployed for almost a year, a consequence of doing unpaid internships for my grad program, have left my cash supplies thin. This coupled with the fact that I have neither job nor prospects and the fact that I do want to move back to New York (where my parents live) makes moving home a logical act.

I am not overjoyed with this fact, and I’m sure my parents aren’t thrilled either, but reality is what it is.

What bugs me, more than the social stigma associated with moving home, is the general sense of uncertainty that dominates my life. I would be totally cool with moving home for the month of August, for example, if I knew that I would be moving out in September.  But I don’t know that. I don’t know that the graduate degree I’ve been working so diligently towards for the past two years will do anything to help me secure a job that pays enough to allow me to repay my ever burgeoning student loan debt, never mind one that I find intellectually and emotionally engaging.

And, after a long standing indifference to serious relationships (I used to view them as freedom inhibiting chains) I feel emotionally ready to be with “the one.” Could someone please tell him to show up, already?

The German poet Rainier Maria Rilke wrote to be patient with everything that remains unresolved in your heart, to love the uncertainty itself like books written in a foreign language, and that eventually we may, if we’re lucky live our way into an answer. It’s a beautiful sentiment, but as a member of the “do something” generation, patience isn’t a life skill I’ve developed –  I mean,  I’m the kind of person who reads three books simultaneously, while carrying on four separate chat conversations, and writing an essay for school- but clearly it’s something that the universe is trying to teach me.

I shoot off a fellowship application and I’m informed that I’ll hear back in two months. I e-mail a networking contact and I get an out-of-office reply informing me she’s out of the office for the next 3 weeks. The more I push, for certainty, the more my life falls apart. I’m like a bull in the world’s teeniest china shop leaving a trail of smashed porcelain with my every movement.

I find myself bickering with friends over the stupidest things, I demand answers before their time, I pray to God for favors with a timestamp, and my stress is beginning to manifest physically.  I’ve developed what I jokingly call my sexy eye twitch, reoccurring bouts of insomnia, and a shoulder tension so severe that they’ve begun creating a shooting numbness down my left arm (nope it’s not a stroke, but I may be pinching a nerve). I’m starting to worry that my impatience is going to kill me.

However, I’ve begun to realize that while I can’t change my circumstance, I can change how I react to things.

I’ve bitten the bullet and started meditating. I’ve begun filling the pages of my journal which had been gathering dust, and I’ve started working out regularly. I’m also making a concerted effort to do less, to worry less and to just accept how lucky I am: I still have money in my bank account, my health, and fantastic friends. In fact I’m writing this from a friend’s couch in Vermont having spent the weekend watching two very close friends who are very much in love get married.

The stress twitch isn’t gone and I’ve accepted that I’m paying for a massage to deal with the shoulder pain, but last night, for the first time in weeks I slept through the night. And that is progress.

– See more at: http://www.stratejoy.com/2009/07/my-impatience-with-patience/#sthash.m9NbMxmA.dpuf

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