My oldest son came over the other night. He was at a crossroads with life and trying to figure out the best route to take. Not one to be caught up in the machine, like his dad and many others from my generation, he is trying to figure out his own, unique, fulfilling path.
And he’s pissed.
We talked about the things he thinks he wants to do; the things he thinks he wants to be. But we also talked about why all of this seemed to be taking so long. The uncertainty of it all was really taking its toll and he was tired of waiting.
“What are you waiting for?” I asked. My question was met with a blank stare.
“Waiting to get started or waiting for something to start?” Another blank stare. This father-son conversation was about to get deep. So, I poured us both a bourbon for this mental joyride we were about to take.
We went back and forth on all this time he believed he was wasting. I tried hard not to pontificate how I wish I was twenty-four again because, of course, I have all the answers now.
At about the same time the ice cubes started to rattle at the bottom of our empty glasses, we came to the realization that he really wasn’t even sure what the hell he was waiting for. Just that he wanted to be whatever he is supposed to be. Wherever he is supposed to be.
And he wants it all now. Not……Whenever it is supposed to be.
So, we talked about “the waiting”. And why it was so frustrating.
In this world of instant gratification, where we have information at our fingertips and can complete many of our daily tasks with a touch or a swipe, why does it seem like we are always waiting for something?
We wait for the water to boil. We wait for the mail to come. We wait for that project to finish. We wait for the kids to stop crying. We wait for the light to change. We wait for school to end. We wait for the week of vacation to get here. We wait for the flight to take off. We wait for the flight to land. We wait to get a text back. We wait to have that first kiss. We wait for ………you get the picture. We’re waiting for the waiting to end.
In Spanish, the word “Esperar” means to wait. To stay where one is. To pause. To delay. To hold back. To stop. To twiddle one’s thumbs.
No wonder we are all so frustrated. Esperar-ing sucks.
But esperar has another meaning - To Hope. A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Longing. Yearning. Craving. Wow! I regret not paying better attention in Spanish class.
I talked with Joe about how I also can find myself frustrated with waiting for Something to Happen in both my personal and professional life. It’s not easy to start over at the midpoint. But there is also a lot of excitement. An excitement that I haven’t had in a very long time. An excitement that lifts me up and gets me going. A longing, yearning, and craving that makes the waiting seem much more palatable.
We talked about enjoying the time he is spending in the pursuit of his promised land. The excitement of knowing that during this time that he is spending, he is learning and discovering more about himself and molding the future self that he will be.
I poured another bourbon for the both of us (he was going to sleep over so it was ok). We wondered if we had just stumbled upon the answer to my question.
While he may not know exactly what he is waiting for, whatever it is, his promised land is most likely going to turn out to be exactly what he is waiting for.
And that waiting doesn’t seem so hard anymore.