Back at the start of 2017, I set myself a challenge. This year was to be the year I worked on patience.
Over Christmas 2016, I discovered a new band wagon to jump on. “Word of the Year” is an anti-resolution concept, built around the idea that it is easier to stay true to one word than it is to stick with several different goals. Being someone who sucks with sticking to goals (even my blog goals tend to be forgotten about by June), the idea of one word to remember seriously resonated with me. (Yep, I’m chucking in the “spiritual, meditative, entrepreneurial” speak now!) I figured that if something was resonating with me that strongly that I would be a fool to dismiss it. So away I went, choosing one word by which to shape my 2017.
The Word of 2017: Patience
I really didn’t like waiting around. If I want to accomplish something, I want to accomplish it now! As a child, I favoured painting and scrapbooking over knitting and cross stitch because I can see the results so much quicker. Even my love of writing comes from a lack of patience. Words on paper/screen = results! (Probably why I also suck at proofreading)
2016 was the year I got fed up with being impatient. As a blogger, I began to want to see more long term results as I sought to turn my blog into something bigger. As I contemplated careers, both academic and business, I realised I needed to accept it would take years to build whichever I chose. Looking forward to turning 25 as a single of 4 years encouraged me to become more relaxed over the question of marriage and relationships.
Developing patience became the only way forward.
I chose “patience” as my word of 2017 for two reasons. Firstly, like I said, I suck at it. Secondly, I thought it would be easy. Focus on being a bit more relaxed. Don’t rush around because I haven’t allowed enough time. Allow for time to relax rather than spending my lunch breaks creating more plans and more content. Effectively, I wanted to focus on developing patience in order to look after myself.
Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy. It turns out I’m more highly strung than even I realised. Also, chaotic organisation really doesn’t help with being more patient. Leaving the house for a 9am start meant having to get up 7am so that I wasn’t as rushed in the morning. Equally, staying up late the night before meant I had to learn not to beat myself up when I didn’t make it to the library for 9am.
None of these are conducive to patience. In fact, learning not to beat myself up when I have to sleep in was the biggest challenge. I live my life by the clock. Everything needs to happen on the hour, or at least half hour. As I began to focus on patience more, my clock-structured life began to change.
From Time-Focused to Patience-Focused
It started with little shifts. When I was rushing between places and realised it, I purposely slowed down and asked why I was rushing. If I was stuck in traffic or a meeting, patience-focused meant accepting that there was nothing I could do but wait for the traffic to dissipate or the meeting to finish.
Becoming more relaxed over time has enabled me to be patient in other areas of life. If a friend turns up on my doorstep or asks me to meet them for coffee, I’m less likely to freak out about not having the time. I feel more able to either explain that I’m busy on that day or able to find work arounds in order to see them.
Even better, I feel like I have more time because I’m not focused on it! My great grandma used to say “less haste, more speed”. Basically, the less you stress over something and rush around to get it all done, the quicker you will actually finish it. Incorporating patience into my life has given me more time by removing the stress and haste from it. Purposely being patient forces you to take a step back and choose to be less stressed.
Stress is the opposite of patience.
Writing this post has made me realise that my year of patience wasn’t what I expected. I haven’t learnt how to queue better. When I have ordered something off Amazon, I’m still super excited about it and want it to arrive yesterday. And I still wish away my weeks while at work. Seriously, it would take way more than 365 days to be perfectly patient.
What it has taught me is that encouraging patience in my life requires more awareness. Being aware of what I can’t change in the present. Just handing over the situation I am in to God because there is nothing I can do to change it. To choose giving more time but doing less over rushing like a mad woman in order to do everything. None of this seems to have much to do with being more patient. Yet all of this stems from a decision to focus on one character trait, patience.
Relationships with friends and family improved because I was less stressed and rushed. My work became more enjoyable because I didn’t beat myself up for not meeting targets. I was no longer hung up on my inability to post regularly on all my social media channels simultaneously. Essentially, I have become a happier, calmer, more patient person.
Word of the Year 2018 – Will You Join Me?
Next month will see us having celebrated New Year’s Eve and be entering 2018. New year means a new word. My question is, are you ready to drop the resolutions and adopt a word to shape that year?
Over 2018 I’m going to be focusing on the word “Determination”. I’m going to be sharing a little something of why I’ve opted for this word on the CC.CC. newsletter in the new year. If you want to find out more, and maybe join me in shaping 2018 around a word, then you can follow the newsletter here: CC.CC. News
The post 2017 in Review || A Year of Patience first appeared on CounterCultural. CounterCouture.