The Zen of Waiting

I’ve spent a lot of time waiting in the past week. I’m in the middle of the recruitment process for a casual job and a medical assessment is required, so I have been back and forth having a battery of tests done. As I write this I am currently sitting in the waiting room of my local medical centre for my fourth (and hopefully final!) appointment of the past week, and as I do so I find myself thinking about the notion of waiting (probably because it’s now 55 minutes after my designated appointment time).

There are two types of people when it comes to waiting; those who wait patiently, and those who do not. I am slightly ashamed to admit that I am the latter. As much as I don’t want to be the kind of person who gets annoyed about having to wait, my natural reaction is to start off feeling calm and positive then to get more and more frustrated as the minutes pass – I mean, what’s the point of an appointment time if it’s just an arbitrary suggestion of when I might possibly be seen?

Usually at this point (56 minutes and counting…), I’ve run out of things to keep me amused and my annoyance would normally have developed into full-blown frustration… that is, unless I choose to do something to address my rising irritation. Because the only thing in this situation that I can control is my reaction – getting shitty isn’t going to make things go any faster, so I just need to accept the situation and be patient.

That’s the thing about waiting; like everything, it’s all a matter of perspective and choice. When you choose to see things positively, waiting becomes not a waste of time but rather an opportunity to take time out. It’s as simple as making a decision to think differently about waiting; for me, I decided today to feel grateful for the opportunity to wait so that I could sit with my own thoughts and, as reward, several new creative ideas came to me not long after I chose that mindset. One of them was the idea for this blog post, so I began writing it and immediately felt even more grateful, as I’d been a bit stuck for what to write this week. And guess what happened? Two things: (1) The words flowed freely and easily, and (2) The doctor called me in mere minutes after I started, leaving me to finish this post when I got home (and after getting the all clear for my medical assessment!).

In a world where being busy all the time can be seen as a badge of honour, and where many of us (myself included) try to control every last minute of our days, being made to wait actually does us a world of good. Waiting reminds us that we cannot control everything, and it forces us to accept that fact with grace and ease. Waiting, in general, is a good thing. And besides, isn’t anything worthwhile worth waiting for?

So the next time you find yourself waiting, just be grateful and lean into it. Because when you feel gratitude and patience and positivity, those good feelings will multiply and that’s when great stuff happens. Or at least a blog post when you couldn’t decide on what to write about…!


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Jeremy Godwin is an Australian author, speaker and coach who specialises in self-development, personal growth and mental health, and is currently seeking treatment for a serious Eurovision addiction. His new book, No-Nonsense Advice For Living, is out now – get it on iBooks or Kindle. Follow his blog, Stuff I’ve Learned (So Far) About Life, Liberty & Leprechauns, here

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