In this Internet age of instant gratification, is PATIENCE an outdated virtue? And if
it isn’t, how can we possibly adopt a practice of patience in an increasingly impatient world?
Essayist Andrew O’Hagan, in a recent issue of The New Times Style Magazine, praises the speed and ease allowed by our connectivity to everyone, everywhere, all the time.
In his article, “Sign of the Times,” O’Hagan says, “I now feel—and this is a revelation—that my past was an interesting and quite fallow period spent waiting for the Internet.” In answer to those who question the validity of online friends and community, he says, “Physical loneliness can still exist, of course, but you’re never friendless online. Don’t tell me the spiritual life is over. In many ways it’s only just begun. Technology is not doing what the sci-fi writers warned it might—it is not turning us into digits or blank consumers, into people who hate community. Instead, there is evidence that the improvements are making us more democratic, more aware of the planet…pressing us to question what it means to have life so easy, when billions do not.”
I resonate strongly with Mr. O’Hagan’s commentary. Until I began using the Internet to find answers, my adoption conundrums stayed unresolved. Step one was publishing The Goodbye
Baby-A Diary about Adoption, my account of what it was like to grow up in the 50s and 60s during the era of “closed” adoptions. Following the book, I discovered a vast adoption community online: book reviews, discussions, forums, all manner of exchanges centering on adoption. Adoption from every angle: birthparents, adoptees, people wanting to adopt, adoptive moms and dads. The Internet, I can honestly say, helped me come to grips with with reclaiming my adopted self.
If only that were the end of the story. Once I declared myself “recovered,” the old adoption issues would sometimes sneak back in, sometimes return with a vengeance. Like weeds in my rugged “au natural” back yard, they never really went away. Basically, I learned to diminish their influence, and that is still a work in progress. The goal: An attitude adjustment.
Change may come slowly, but with patience, we can change even ourselves. I’m adopting the following rules for the next 30 days, after which I’ll compare my patience quota before and after.
And here’s a recipe for adopting a practice of PATIENCE. I invite you to try it
Give yourself time. For example, in going places if you have to follow a car 25 miles per hour in a 40 MPH zone, allow leeway. You may arrive too early, but in most cases that’s better than arriving late.
Develop realistic expectations: Life is full of the unexpected. Avoid the idea that things will run like clockwork.
Refuse to give in to anger. It is dangerous to your mental equilibrium.
Realize that delays are temporary. As the saying goes, “This too will pass.”
Be proactive: Find ways to make positive use of waiting time. Listening to audible books or reading on a Kindle app, texting a friend with words of encouragement, planning a menu while waiting in the dentist’s office. You get the idea!
I had to be patient with resolving adoption issues, and the approach worked. Now I’m
applying the same principles to life in general. In invite you to join me in a thirty day trial. Please comment or Tweet me about your challenges and/or progress. I patiently await news of your experiences!