The Importance of Being Patient

“You’re quick,” said the TSA agent.

“I do this a lot,” I replied.

As a frequent airplane commuter, I have my TSA procedure down. I know how frustrating it can be to have a line held up when you have places to go, especially when you’re on a strict time schedule. And I refuse to contribute to the frustration. Two bins, shoes off, laptop out and BOOM! Done.

But over time, travel has taught me patience. More accurately, life has taught me patience. The people who stop in the airport entryway, confused on the direction of their gate, aren’t there to irritate me. It’s not a conspiracy. They just don’t have the experience necessary to be as efficient as a veteran traveller. Having patience makes me a better person.

Recently, I received a text from a friend who had some natural trepidation about an impending move. They are starting over in a new State, building a life fresh but with much geographical distance from their longtime group of friends. They were concerned about how to meet new people. More so, they were worried that they had made a mistake in moving.

Now, meeting people is easy for me. In true Midwest fashion, I make eye contact and smile at everyone. I have virtually no social anxiety. Every opportunity to meet someone new is an opportunity to learn:about them, about myself, and about the world. In fact, my ex used to playfully tease that for me every trip taken was just another friendship formed.

So I heard myself saying encouraging words to my friend:

  • “Volunteer at a local charity.”
  • “Become a member of an Art Museum and attend events.”
  • “Create a MeetUp account and join in activities that you’re curious about.”
  • “Talk to people at the gym.”

And then I remembered how it felt when I moved cross-country from Ohio to NorCal a little over 8 years ago. My natural inclination is to be social and my job lends to that. Many nights I stayed home alone with my pups while my then-husband was working his restaurant hours. Sometimes it was a respite from my incredibly social professional work schedule. But at other times, it was painfully lonely. Having always had a strong circle of friends, I wondered when and how I would build my new circle.

I had met people the first couple of years, mainly through MeetUp, and while I formed friendships, it wasn’t until seven years in that I met my (California) best friend.  A mutual friend, whom I had met at Boot Camp, introduced us and its been the best addition to my life in years. Our chemistry was immediate and our bond has grown exponentially. She and I seem to be platonic soul mates (PSM), cut from similar cloth albeit from two vastly different worlds…and with different prints.

And I was reminded of the quote from Aristotle:

“Patience is bitter but it’s fruit is sweet.”

Wanting something doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to immediately present itself. It’s what we learn along the way that’s important. Mostly, I learned about myself. And while it took  longer than I had hoped to find my dear, new PSM, she was definitely worth the wait.

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