When I was growing up I was often told that ‘patience is a virtue’.
I always felt this to be useless advice.
I mean, like OK, sure, patience is a virtue. So now what? How do you actually do patience?
(And is it just a fancy name for waiting?)
Needless to say with my only child dislike of instruction I never sought to make patience my virtue. Or even my friend. Indeed I am a rather impatient beast, due entirely to the fact that I absolutely abhor uncertainty.
I am that person who reads the endings of books before the beginning.
I am the person surreptitiously on their phone checking the ending of the movie that’s just begun.
I remove uncertainty wherever possible.
I know it ruins things (endings for instance) but I just can’t. If there is a choice between sidestepping the emotional trigger points woven carefully into a tale and not knowing when one will explode beneath you, I will always chose the former.
It’s not because I’m wed to happy endings either. I don’t honestly care if it comes up roses or ends up War of the Roses; I just need to know beforehand.
So this year, with my decision to change careers, and the elaborate waiting game that has ensured, has been a touch hellish.
So much waiting with no resolution.
And up ahead? More waiting.
I decided back in March that if I was going to put my money where my mouthy criticism was and have a crack at visual arts I should do so now. I decided this 14 days after enrolments closed for 2015 and 11 months before the 2016 academic year would commence.
How would I deal with that kind of waiting?
Well, first I tried to forget that I’d ever wanted to do it. I changed jobs. New team. New company. New areas of law. Whole new learning curve. It worked for a bit – in that steepest incline, awash in information and expectations. But then the curve levelled out, and I had more time and less stress and it was only July.
7 months to go.
5 months to go now.
I’ve broken it down to all components – 3 months until interviews, 4 months until results, 5 months until the 2016 academic year commences. With or without me.
But as to patience? I’m still at a loss.
I feel so swamped by time I am paused, motionless and constricted in powerlessness. It almost feels like that toe-curling moment in the surf when you know you have to go limp to lessen the impact of being dumped by tonnes and tonnes of water against bottom of the ocean.
I try a lot not to think about what till happen next year if this doesn’t pan out, and not only because my throat has developed an inconvenient habit of constricting when I do. Because it’s not just a waiting game, it’s a long shot in a dark room (to both mix and muddle analogies). And so while I smile with painted lips, shuffle papers and gift collected (or stolen) gems of wisdom to clients, my mind bubbles and seethes incoherent with excitement and panic full of plans and fears.
And perhaps that’s what patience is. I’ll have to wait and see.