Monday, June 29, 2009

The Unbearable Lightness of Waiting*



I've been doing a lot of waiting lately.

Waiting for my test scores. Waiting for my body to heal after a few years of neglect at the expense of career. Waiting for someone to buy the home I left behind since moving back to the Bay Area from Southern California. Waiting for school admission, then waiting some more to get off the waitlist when said admission panel had to wait to decide whether to offer me a spot in the incoming class.

Waiting is inaction. It requires patience; discipline to and faith in the favorable outcome you've been waiting for, whatever it may be, will due soon. Recall Penelope from the Odyssey, who waited decades for her husband Odysseus to return from the Trojan War, all the while warding off advances from 108 "odious suitors" (according to the wiki).

But it's much more difficult to pull off in practice, especially living in a society that often emphasizes action over thoughtful, careful contemplation; brawn over brains and the triumph of win-at-all-cost. Yet even I have the pang of restlessness; of disatisfaction with what is, but too unnerved to act if action would ruin the chances of achieving what I seek.

And so I'm waiting, much as I've always had, for good or naught. Acting by not acting, hoping for the best, expecting the worst, haunted by the infinite possiblilities of what may had been and taking solace in the familiar.

It reminds me of Carl, the old protagonist of Pixar's "Up" and the film's heartbreaking first act. But that's a story for next week (after I see the rest of the movie -- the cinema had a blackout during my screening...).

*title courtesy of reportergirl

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