On a daily basis from themoment she wakes to the moment she goes to sleep my 2 year old makes constant demands. From, “I want milk!” being screamed at 6am to “I want to watch Peppa Pig,” and “I want pasta for tea,” there is an unlimited series of requests which if aren’t met in precisely 2 seconds, can often result in a full face in carpet melt-down kicking and screaming until she gets her way or is somehow carefully distracted.
I Want It NOW!
It occurred to me the other day that whilst most of us learn to control our outbursts a bit better than a 2 year old, we are still not very good at waiting for anything. A recent trip to the doctor with the toddler, I was annoyed to be kept waiting for 45 minutes. And although I knew it wasn’t the receptionist or anyone else’s fault, I kept looking at my watch thinking of the all the stuff I still had to do – cook the kids’ tea, get them into the bath and bed before doing some work. Didn’t anyone realise that all this waiting around was cutting into my List of Things To Do?
Likewise, my husband refuses to watch any new TV series “live” anymore, preferring to watch stuff from the planner so that he doesn’t have to wait for any adverts and then jump straight to the next episode rather than wait a full week should we become so engrossed, (as demonstrated recently with our marathon watching of The Bridge).
More people than ever are now in debt up to their eyeballs because they want things Right This Minute! We are no longer prepared to wait to save up for the expensive holiday, the obligatory 4×4 car, or the latest clothes. So it all goes on the Never Never in order to gratify us. This Instant.
Have a Little Patience
I’m no different from anyone else. I find myself getting impatient and irritated if I’m kept waiting for the smallest things, from waiting 5 minutes in a queue for the public toilet to waiting our turn at the supermarket checkout.
It seems as soon as we are forced to stop, we notice it more. We get so used to being instantly gratified that we get upset whenever there’s a gap. The anticipation of wanting something and the actual achievement of that desire can affect everything from the little waits like waiting for a train or waiting for a meal to the lifelong waits of waiting for a job promotion and waiting for a baby.
Of course, I get it. I get that the real reason why we are all so against waiting for something is because our time is so precious. Most of us are so busy juggling the demands of kids, work, house and husbands that if we have to wait for anything even as inane as queueing in a shop, we start to think about the other more important things that we could be doing instead.
I’d love to be able to say we should all try and look at those irritating waiting times as a moment to pause, reflect, or have a breather. Maybe we should stop the clock-watching, stop the tutting and the sighing when we are forced to wait for something.
But in reality, I’m afraid that whilst my To Do List is sky high, that’s not going to happen.
Maybe we’re not really that different from toddlers after all.