Well, well, well. Below is a screenshot of half of the texts I received from United Airlines yesterday. We were literally delayed nine times in a six hour span. We deplaned twice only to reboard and then sit on a sunny runway for an hour and half. Our second time waiting an hour on the runway. Apparently, snowy weather in Chicago wouldn’t allow us to take off in Albuquerque because O’Hare had shut down most of their runways.
As I walked the aisle of the plane trying to keep a curious fourteen month old entertained, I pointed out all the people waiting patiently with their books, iPads, laptops, some meditating, sleeping, chatting. I told Jack that he would spend a lot of his life waiting and that he better get good at it. This made a few strangers on the plane laugh. The whole experience made me ponder the very act of waiting. We were traveling back from Albuquerque to O’Hare after a beautiful time in Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico. I think one of the most crucial skills in life that no one talks about is waiting. After all, aren’t we all waiting for something? I’ve spent my life waiting. Waiting to get a driver’s license. Waiting to get into college. Waiting to find a job. Waiting at the post office. Waiting in Starbucks. Waiting to find a husband. We’ve all seen the person who huffs and puffs at the smallest of inconveniences. Like a small child. If we are really honest, we have probably been that person too. Waiting is hard. It becomes exponentially harder if you don’t do “waiting well”. Your agitation won’t make anything in life go faster. The plane to take off quicker. The line to move along more swiftly. Your soulmate to magically appear. In fact waiting with anger may be the worst way to spend your precious minutes of life. So how do you learn to “wait well”? I ask this as I look down at Jack’s diaper bag. Snacks, Toys, Books…always a good start. Packing gratitude may be the biggest game changer. If you are going to love travel as much as I do, you have to embrace this waiting scenario but the truth is we are all traveling this world whether we like travel or not. Waiting well is an art. A skill to acquire early and often. Two men in the seats in front of me struck up a friendship that spanned eight hours of waiting. A blond woman from Connecticut spent a solid hour on the phone with United almost in tears. Time spent. But well? I wish there was a class to teach us to live on purpose in every moment even the moments we didn’t ask for or plan on. Especially those. To find some good, some joy, some fun even in the the most frustrating of times. Next time you are in line, remember this IS your life. Are you going to “wait well” or well, just wait?