21st Century Life

The Wait

Finding myself staring at a blank Word page on a Sunday morning is not necessarily conclusive to a state of endless happiness and joy. Add to that the fact that my daily emails contain nothing other than a notification of winter sales for Air New Zealand flights (if only I could!), a Facebook friend request from someone I do not know, and a reminder that learning a language takes time and effort from Duolinguo, and let’s say my mood is far from improving. Where are the job offers? Where are the exciting news from the other side of the world? Hell, I’d even settle for a weekly newsletter from Hunger TV or Dazed. But it’s Sunday, so I’m stuck with “Didi X” (name changed) wanting to become my virtual friend.

In grand dramatic style, I have therefore decided to let the 19th century literary geniuses’ habit of going into a state of “ennui”, or spleen, claim me. Who knows? I might even be able to write a masterpiece in this depressing state. Wouldn’t that be something? Who said you needed to be happy to create? Plus, as this is a Sunday, I can be as lethargic as I want, it’s not as if there are things to DO on a Sunday in Paris. Most of the city is reminiscing about the weekend or waiting for the week to start.

Which leads me to the very unhappy thought that modern life seems to revolve around waiting. Waiting for public transport, waiting in line everywhere, from the cinema to the supermarket, a cool club to the restaurant… Then, there is the waiting for something, anything, to happen, and my very personal idea of a nightmare, waiting to hear from someone. That someone can be anyone, a friend, a boyfriend, or, more nerve wrecking, a potential employer.

I have never had any patience. This is, without a doubt, my worst weakness. Waiting is, to me, excruciating. It takes away any power you might have on an outcome. It is passive at its core, and therefore the opposite of everything we all, to an extent, believe about ourselves; that we are active, positive beings in control of our lives. Waiting ends that beautiful dream. Not only are we not active, we are usually not very positive after a wait of, say, 5 minutes. After the “It’s going to be great! I’m so proud of myself for having written that cover letter!” comes the checking of emails every 2 to 3 minutes, the running of horror stories in your head “Did I misspell this or that word?! Oh God, I’m never going to get a job!” and eventually, on a Sunday morning, you find yourself preferring to slip into the lethargic state I mentioned earlier.

The wait is something we are all faced with, on a daily basis. But the tiny little inconveniences can turn deadly when they have no finite time. Queuing for a table at a restaurant is nowhere near as depressing as waiting for your job application to be reviewed and for someone to send you an email. Whilst disappointing, it can sometimes even be a relief to get a “no thank you” automated message in your inbox, if only to end the never ending wait and insecurity of wondering whether they got the application, whether you might get the job, whether this or that.

Waiting is the opposite of doing. And doing is basically what we are supposed to, well, do.

So why are we conditioned to accept waiting from such an early age? First, you wait for your parents to be allowed to take you home from the hospital after you were born, then, you cannot wait to go to school (you cannot, but you do, because there are no alternatives), you then get to school and wait for recess, wait for your grades, wait for acceptance letters to university, wait for late lecturers, wait for more grades, wait for a job opportunity, for a flat, for a bank loan… in short, our lives are spent in a never ending state of waiting.

Well, I guess this is not a masterpiece I am writing; more like the most depressing blog post ever written. Let’s try and infuse some hope shall we?

Maybe there are ways to make a passive wait into a winning formula of action and bliss. Maybe the endless waiting is the universe’s way of telling us to look inwards, to figure something out; or as an individual, we can turn the wait into a productive phase of starting something new, learning, exploring and discovering.

Waiting is an “in-between” phase that seems to drag on, the Sunday of your life. But some people seem to be able to be productive, even at the end of the weekend and before the next week starts. How do they do it?

There is something for just seeing Sunday as another day. Granted, everything is closed and you might use the day to clean your flat, only to mess it up again the moment Monday comes round, but it might make more sense to use it as you would any other day.

And how do you use most of the week? By being productive! By doing “stuff” (whatever they may be): work, hanging out with friends, hobbies, job applications, exhibitions and exploration. I’ve always hated Sundays, but maybe I’m the problem, not the day of the week. After all, it should be a positive day, it’s named after the SUN for crying out loud!

So let’s be bright and full of life. It’s Sunday, we are waiting, but before all the job offers are delivered to my inbox on Monday morning, I still have some time to learn Italian (learning a language, after all, takes time and dedication), to maybe make a new friend on Facebook and to snap out of the “ennui” that claimed me a while back.

And if all else fails, there is always the option of binge watching DVDs of 60s TV shows until the new week starts.

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