It’s spoken of and written about all the time: As we get older, the less we care what other people think about how we look, what we say, or anything that would have driven us into a frenzy of self-loathing in our younger years. So, to all you people out there over sixty I want to pose a question aimed directly at you: How’s your patience holding up?
I spent over two decades in television sales and during those years it would be difficult to put a number on the months, even years, lost while waiting in lobbies and reception areas for clients to see me. I never put a calculator to it, but it would not surprise me in the slightest to discover that I had spent four forty-hour weeks a year sitting on my behind waiting for someone to do something so I could get on with my day. Or, in my personal life, waiting in doctor’s and dentist’s offices, or just waiting in the car for my wife, whose promised five minute trip into a store turned into an hour. Needless to say that by necessity I learned to be extremely patient and endured those years without a whimper. Well… there might have been a few whimpers. The point is, these are just examples. The list alone with no narrative could go on for several pages, I’m sure.
Ever-increasing impatience now defines me. And, I really don’t give a tinker’s damn if people think of me as curmudgeonly. Here’s the thing, and the reason I’m writing this blog at this time, I’ve always responded to someone’s direct request for help, and quite often immediately. I would not have been asked for assistance if they didn’t need it at that moment, or so I wish to believe. Here’s where the crotchety kicks in; when someone asks for help and I leap up and walk or drive to them ready to offer assistance but they decide I should wait patiently while they take care of something else first. Sorry, but I’m not going to wait patiently, or at all.
Several times in the past week this has happened. The way I have chosen to handle these situations is to simply say, “Okay,” and walk away without explaining why and not be there when they finally get around to actually needing the help. Let’s call it my version of a teachable moment about when to request the help. If they’re dumbfounded; good.
As we age, what would be the incentive to wait for anybody or anything? I know that to say “life is too short” is cliché, but it does fit quite nicely here. The clock spins faster as we age, or so it seems, and whatever our remaining goals are have to spin equally as fast to fit them into this lifetime. So, I hope you will excuse me when I refuse to wait until you get around to it… whatever ‘it’ happens to be.