“What we are waiting for is not as important as what happens to us while we are waiting. Trust the process.”
– Mandy Hale
A good number of us reading this have experienced most of the stages in life and are currently in one stage or another. From infancy, to adolescence, to teenage-hood to adulthood, to taking on responsibilities, getting jobs, to getting married and having children and to even retirement in old age- the stages seem to keep coming one after the other. There is always something new to look forward to in life or something we are waiting for to happen.
An amazing phenomenon about life that I have come to recognize is the insatiety of man and his continuous quest for greatness. Most of us never get to a point where we just sit down, cross our legs and feel like we have arrived. Instead, there is always this constant hunger and drive inherent in almost every human to become a better and more developed version of themselves. There is this sense of pride we feel when we can look back and confidently say that we are not where we used to be in some particular aspect of our lives. So with each passing day, we continue to push ourselves; physically, mentally, financially, spiritually and intellectually to become better and better knowing that even when we become the best, we would still want to strive to become better than the best.
And in pushing, it is quite easy to get so enveloped and overwhelmed in the process and all its little achievements that we need to accomplish to get where we want to be. In pushing, it becomes even easier to become ungrateful and impatient control freaks wanting to take charge of the whole process and speed it up “just a little bit” so we can be where we want to be as soon as possible forgetting that there is only so much we have control over.
Then there is this huge headless worm called Society. Sometimes, Society is not particularly bothered about what you are trying to achieve in life in your own little way. However, Society is there ever present and ever breathing down your neck, ready to remind you everyday that you need to just take a look around and realize that you are not where you are supposed to be (as if Society knows where you are supposed to be in life at every given time). Society is there to set and impose its own goals on you so you subconsciously adopt them as yours; own a car before 25, become a millionaire before 30, for the women, get married before 30 (because by 27, all the men on planet earth would have finished and you have to move to mars and even the men on mars would be like “neh”), build your own house before 40, become a serial entrepreneur before 28 (even if you do not like it or love your 9-5 job and you are doing great things there and on the side. No. You must become an entrepreneur because you are poor when you only have a 9-5 job even if it pays really well. I’m not talking of multiplying one’s source of income), wedding goals, best friend goals, couple goals, boyfriend goals, girlfriend goals, mommy goals, daddy goals, children goals, money goals, car goals, house goals, “goals” goals (because how dare you have goals that are not goals). Na wa.
So we subconsciously adopt these Society-imposed goals as ours (some of which are not so bad, I may add) and find that in time, we forget all about our own process and become impatient, frustrated and annoyed that things are not going how society says they should go, not how we want them to go. We forget that our process is not the same as the next person’s and our end may not be theirs. We forget that it is possible to have a different success story from the next person and the joy of being unique is in having your own story to share.
And so we get caught up constantly looking around and comparing our lives to others who seem to have it all together (nobody has it all together) and wondering why our own process is taking longer or is slower than others. We subconsciously find ourselves calling some stages in our process “delays” because Society has prescribed the specific time within which certain things need to be achieved and if they have not, they are delays. And so even when we speak to people about where we are in life and certain things have not happened for us, we refer to them as “delays”.
Who told you it is a delay?
Let me use this illustration. Imagine walking down a street alone and you know where you’re going to so you just keep walking, perhaps listening to music and enjoying the cool breeze of the day. You eventually get where you’re going to and all is well. Now, imagine walking with your friend who is taller than you and has longer legs than you do. Your friend might most likely always find himself walking ahead of you because he has longer legs and then might say “speed up a little you’re walking too slow”. But when you were walking on your own and looking ahead at your destination, it did not feel like you were moving “too slow”. However, the minute you start looking at your friend’s path and normal pace of walking and compare it to yours, you feel you’re going too slow and want to catch up by all means.
Also, I have found that more times than often, we experience moments of waiting; waiting for that job, that relationship, waiting for that one opportunity or something else that you eagerly expect that is not forthcoming at the time you want it to. Sometimes we find that we are waiting for just that one step that might catapult us to places beyond our imagination. But guess what? There will always be times of waiting. Like the quote at the beginning says, it is what we do while waiting that is important. We can choose to be negative and beat ourselves down for not achieving certain goals or realizing certain plans within the time frames we or Society have given ourselves or we can keep going!
I am learning that at each stage of life, there will always be people ahead of me or behind me and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I have learned to fall in love with my own process and path (inclusive of the “set backs”, milestones accomplished and even dreams not yet achieved) while learning to surrender my life and plans to God. I have also learned that someone else may have a greater opportunity at getting the same things I want and this may enable the person get those things within a shorter time than I would, and that is perfectly okay.
I am also learning that I may have to work twice as hard to achieve a goal or accomplish a task and that is fine, I’ll find two more ways to accomplish or not accomplish that task. Above all, I have learned that everything eventually falls into place and takes shape one way or the other. Just because my process has more hurdles or days, months or even years of waiting should not mean that it is more disappointing. Instead, I choose to see it as an exciting experience and I am learning each day to live in that passion.
Remember that there is only so much you can control. Learn to live each day in light and love while putting your head down, holding your pen steady and working on achieving those things you have set out to achieve. The minute you look up to look around and compare yourself to others, you loose all the focus you need in your process. Things may not seem to be working out how you planned them or may not be going as fast as you want them or as fast as you dreamed. Things may not even seem to be looking up for you right now and you may feel like losing hope all together. But remember, each person has his own story. Each person has his journey. Each person has his path.
Be patient. Trust God. Own your journey. Trust the Process.