Dear Younger Self: Patience Is A Virtue
Just take a breath, it will be okay.
Starting from childhood, it seems like we've always been in a hurry. Whether we just couldn't wait for an event happening at school, a sporting event, or simply just couldn't wait to grow up, we have always been too excited to wait for something. Throughout the years, impatience and excitement (for me) has almost always been met with the one word... "patience."
Yes, I know, we are living in a culture surrounded by instant gratification. If you don't want to wait in line at Starbucks, just open the app and order your drink before you even go to the store. If you want to watch a movie, just open up Netflix and it's right there. If you are bored and feel like talking to someone, write something witty on Twitter and you're bound to get some interaction fairly quickly. Want a date? Make an online dating profile and you could find someone to go out with that same day.
Patience is not a word that is in most people's vocabulary these days, and it's definitely not something that's in daily practice for a lot of people. Millennials specifically have grown up in a culture that has developed a mindset of, "we want it now and we're not going to stop until we get it." It's like we have the top of the mountain in our sight, but we don't recognize the path we have to walk to get there.
What we all have failed to realize is that anything worth your investment and your energy takes time. There is no instant gratification when it comes to the important things in life, or when it comes to achieving our goals. This took me a lot of time to realize and learning the concept of patience is not something that happened overnight.
Patience is something you have to learn.
Seeing how I am a human being, I am not innocent on the subject. I have fallen victim to the frustrations of not getting what you want when you want it. I still fall victim to it sometimes. We always will have something come along that we see and get excited over, and we might lose our tempers when you have been waiting for something and it's still not happening.
I remember wanting things (or having aspirations for something greater) and then get irritated when it actually came to making those aspirations come true. Why? Well, I hadn't really learned the concept of patience. I didn't have enough experience to know that it takes time for things to be set in motion. I also didn't realize that it takes time for you to be around the right people.
It's easy to get impatient if you look at another person's life from the outside and think, why does everything seem to come so easily for them? The truth is, it might take you years to do something that another person might achieve in a month. Even though that might frustrate you at times, that is no reason to lose sight of your own path in life. Don't get caught up in what other people are doing and allow the hustle and bustle of their lives make you impatient about your own.
Patience is a necessity.
I am now 29 years old and have matured a lot since my teenage years. I know quite a few things now that I wish I knew then, and I would love to sit down with myself 10 years ago and tell her everything. However, there is one specific thing that sticks out, and that is the knowledge that patience is a necessity in life.
Right after high school, I was in a hurry to find something that I could do with my life, or find what I was meant to do. I immediately went to college after high school and after three degree changes, I lost sight and interest in just about everything and dropped out. What was supposed to be a short absence turned into 4 years of me working for minimum wage.
I was looking at what other people from my graduating class had done, and sitting around wondering why things hadn't looked up for me. I was also experiencing most of my friends moving away for different universities or jobs while I sat in the same town I grew up in. Seriously, why was whatever was meant for me taking so long?
Focus on the future.
If I would have told my 18-year-old self that I'd go back to college at almost 25 and complete a graphic design program, and become a paid freelancer without pretending to be something I'm not... I would have thought you were crazy. Not just because of the achievements, but because it took so much time. Why wait for all of that time to go by?
Well, sometimes the best things in life aren't immediate. Sometimes you have to lose things to find something better. Sometimes you have to be patient and trust that something didn't work out for a reason, and that something even better is still on its way.
Looking back at those four years, I learned that not only can the road to success often be a lonely one, but it just takes time for you to figure out what you're really interested in. You also have to find what your strengths are. Eventually, the right things stumble into your lap and you do find things that you're meant to be a part of. Not only that, but you do find people that you're supposed to connect with. Both the situations and the people you find will accommodate the person you really are and continue to help you grow into a better human being.
Don't lose sight of what the future holds, and remember that just because it doesn't happen quickly doesn't mean it won't happen at all. I feel like if I would have known then what I know now, I would have been a lot happier and content with exploring my options. But everything always makes more sense in hindsight, right?