Patience is not one of my virtues. It never has been. Although I am aware of this, that hasn't stopped me from being impatient. The best I can do is stop in my moments of angst and remember to be patient...or at least grateful.
Yesterday on the beach--where I have most of my profound insights--I let myself feel. I have been frustrated because everything--work projects mostly--seem to be delayed lately, leaving me with gaps in my schedule.
This means that I'm not as busy with work, which is a trigger for me. If I'm not working, I'm not earning and I start to freak out about making enough money. It also means I can either take time off or scramble to generate more work. (Being a journalist is cool like that, because I can pitch more stories when I have time. The problem there is that the story approvals typically come back just when I the delayed project will start, and I will be swamped.)
I notice a pattern: When I'm busy, I'd rather not be working and I start to wish for time off to, say, go to the beach. Vicious cycle, I tell you. (Life of a freelancer.)
I realized yesterday that this feeling of frustration is really me being upset that I'm not busy. Moreover, it's a feeling of being bummed about not having work assignments coming in. I don't like when exciting things aren't happening.
As I sat there on a gorgeous semi-sunny day, I wondered, "How bad is this? Who cares if you're not working all the time?" Me. I'm the only one who cares. I'm the only one sitting here, upset in paradise, about not working.
Now, let me say this: I work. I just don't always work an 8-hour day. I am blessed to often earn an hourly rate that means I can work less hours than most people. Plus, I don't have a commute. On the flip side, I have days where I work 12+ hours. My schedule is all over the place. I try to balance it. Delays get in the way, and then I get ticked off. But it's not really the delay that unfurls me. It's the feeling that new opportunities aren't pouring it. (Have I mentioned I'm also bummed that my kids book is taking forever to publish?)
So right now, there are some gaps. Not like I don't have tons of other things to do with my time. I guess I just want to make sure enough money is coming in. That fear kicks off the bad feelings. And I know I feel crummy but I didn't understand why until I sat for a moment, breathed in salt air and really got in touch with what was happening inside.
The truth is, I'm kind of addicted to knowing I have work lined up. Don't you have to be when you're a freelancer, though? Maybe I function better when I'm busy. Still, I know many times when I am busy, I wish for more free time. There's that stinky vicious cycle again.
Today, I worked all morning. And now I want to go to the beach. And I can. I'm practicing patience that all these delays are okay. They're in my life for a reason. I'm grateful for this time, and I'm not going to let anxiety about money ruin that for me. It will all be okay. I am enough even if I am not working a 40-hour week this week.
You don't just acquire patience...you practice it. You keep practicing it because let's face it, you may never have it. You can only be mindful of the angst that impatience can cause you, and take breaks to try to let go.
And while having to "practice" patience may be frustrating, it's good to know that we can work on things. And in the meantime, I suppose, enjoy beautiful scenery while we're at it.