Patience is something that I’ve always struggled with. Whenever I’m in a situation that I can’t control, where I have to rely on something or someone else, I feel my stress levels and blood pressure rise. I’ve read blogs and articles on how to control and let go of my impatience, but this past weekend was a true test of my patience.
I drove up North to Hornepayne (my home town, where I grew up) this past Saturday with my parents and sister to visit some family for a couple of days. Since we drove up with my parents, we had planned on taking VIA Rail back to Sudbury on Monday. The train is normally scheduled to depart from the VIA station out of Hornepayne at 5:00PM, but earlier that morning we were told that it was already showing a 4-hour delay. This is where my impatience first came to the surface. Not only did it mean that we would be leaving 4 hours later than expected, but it also meant that we would be arriving into Sudbury at 5:00AM rather than 1:00AM. My first thought was, “If this train is any later, I’m going to be late for work in the morning”, which made me even more agitated. The train ended up arriving at 8:00PM, which made me feel a bit more at ease. It meant that the engineers had made up some time and we would likely make up even more on our way to Sudbury.
My sister and I got settled in, played a few games of Yahtzee, and then we decided to get into bed and watch a movie to fall asleep to. She ended up waking up before I did, around 5:30AM, and after an hour of tossing and turning she thought, “Wow… It seems like we’ve been travelling for a while”, so she decided to hop down from her bunk and ask the attendant how much longer it would be until we arrive at Sudbury Junction. When she came back into our roomette she had a certain look on her face. She started out by saying, “Don’t freak out”. I knew it wasn’t going to be good. “We’re twenty minutes outside of Parry Sound.” It took me a minute to register what she’d said. I have taken the train many times and I’ve never gone through Parry Sound to get to Sudbury. That’s when I realized… they forgot to wake us up. We were now two and a half hours past our stop.
Once we arrived, there was a taxicab waiting to drive us back to Sudbury. What normally takes 9 hours to get home took a lengthy 14-hour trip.
To say this was a true test of my patience is actually an understatement. But, all of that, I was able to keep my cool by practicing a few of the techniques that I read about!
- Recognize it. Recognizing your impatience is the first step. Once you recognize it, you can then start to work towards eliminating it. One thing that usually helps me is thinking, “There’s nothing I can do about it”. When I take some time to realize that the control is completely out of my hands, that’s when I’m able to start to relax.
- Shift your focus. Instead of dwelling on the problem and focusing on the thing that’s irritating you most, shift your focus to something else. When I was in the taxicab on the way back to Sudbury, I played my music and tried to nap. Rather than dwelling on the fact that I was going to be three hours late to work and the fact that my luggage had been dropped off in Sudbury and was now locked in the station (meaning I’d have to make a separate trip out to the station to pick it up at a later date), I shifted my focus to something I enjoy.
- Learn to enjoy it. I recently came across a quote that reads, “The secret of patience is to do something else in the meantime”. How often do we get extra time given to us? When was the last time you thought, “I have way too much time on my hands”? I would bet it’s been a while. It has been for me! Learn to enjoy the extra time that stems from being patient.