Having to wait is seldom considered desirable. Most often waiting is associated with delay and annoyance, like waiting for a bus or the traffic to move or your accountant to call back. But holding one’s horses is not always irritating. Think of waiting for Christmas. Or the arrival of a friend. Even something as pedestrian as hanging fire for dinner or for a movie to begin. Waiting can at times be a teasing preamble, a temptation of what what is to come. There are even times when waiting proves to be more exhilarating than the event itself.
Waiting does however universally cause anxiety of some degree, good or bad. In its happier incarnation waiting is called anticipation, looking forward to something, not just loitering or impatiently calculating the minutes or hours remaining. There is the added veneer of expectancy, even suspense.
At the moment I am in such a state of enthusiasm. I needn’t bore my dear reader with the trifling details; waiting for anything is always personal and the object is not guaranteed to move another as it moves oneself. Heightened longing is not peculiar to any particular category of person; it can strike anyone at any age. One would think that after a certain point in life the possibilities of amusement have been exhausted but this apparently is not so.
While one waits, one contemplates. An inertia takes over, prohibiting extraordinary undertakings until the latest passion is accomplished. It is setting the stage for what is to come. A scan of the constituents of one’s life mechanically occurs. Where will the awaited object or person fit into one’s life? The strength of the occupation is not diminished by the recognition that almost everything about oneself was at one time or another awaited, once longingly envisaged. The novelty of what one is waiting for nonetheless stimulates its attraction.
It would be wildly foolish of me to liken the absorption with the anticipated arrival of a newborn babe, for the focus is often nothing more than objective, a mere thing. But even then the uplifting spiritual feature is there! The object is meant to transform albeit in a small way. It may be a reward, compensation for something.
Meanwhile the abstract view of one’s being lends itself to this mature way of dealing with what is expected. The details of everyday living are slotted and categorized, put into their place pending the arrival of the foreign element. It is however a project as artificial as attempting to stop the clock. It is quite impossible to arrest the status quo for any length of time no matter how significant the object of one’s attendance may be. But it at least enables a fleeting glimpse of the whole before its components are revised, the inevitable shuffling of anything new in one’s life.