Monday, November 26, 2012

Be Patient and There’s No Time Like the Present: Opposing Philosophies?

I have to admit, I’ve never been a patient person. I’ve always got too many things I want to get done to sit around and let nature take its oftentimes slow, meandering course. If I see something I want to do and think I can do, I just do it.

Recently though I’ve had to learn much more about patience. You see, this summer I underwent some painful and rather worrisome surgery, and while the lump they removed did not turn out to be cancerous, there was a high probability that it could have been. Being told by a doctor you have a 75% chance of cancer is scary and makes you look at your life quite differently.

Recovery from this surgery has allowed me to experience for the first time what it’s like to be unable to do many of the simplest of things that we take for granted. Like eat, or sleep, or breathe, or talk. During my recovery just getting through the day being able to do these things felt like a very precious gift. Especially considering there was this ever-present worry about whether any of the biopsies I underwent would show cancer (I had three biopsies done during different stages of the surgical process and recovery).

That’s why I think a union of the two radically different philosophies of patience (waiting) and “no time like the present” (not waiting) makes perfect sense to me. One should be patient when one has to be, but still strive to get things done when one can. Because our Time is precious and it is finite. Yet we squander so much of it on trivial things (like watching TV, video games, blogging—wait what?). There will come a point when we feel we may run out of Time, and when we do we’d all like to feel like the Time we had was put to good use. That we accomplished things; that we said and did the things we needed to do and wanted to do. That we cared for the people in our lives as best we could.
So patience is important, but we still have to keep heading to shore—to that goal that seems so far away but really is only a matter of Time before we reach it. Because if you stop for too long, take too many naps perhaps, your ship could sink and then splash! Time just sunk your battleship. So get on with it—with whatever you’ve been putting off until tomorrow. Take a hold of your dreams, make them goals, break them into steps and then, one step at a time, reach your goal.