The Waiting Game

Have you ever felt like you’ve been waiting for something? I obviously don’t mean standing in line to pay for groceries or sitting on the toilet to unleash the cataclysmic fury of your bowels–yeah, that’s right, I hold no misconceptions as to the fact that my blog is a toilet read. You thought you were being sneaky?—although I can’t deny that those are both worthwhile causes.

(I know starting off with that first sentence gives the impression that this will be a motivational post, but I hope, at this point, you have a clear idea of where I’m actually going with this, e.g. not in a motivational or even particularly helpful direction.)

I haven’t done anything nearly as productive as the above two hypotheticals—recently, I mean, I don’t need to be hospitalized just yet—but I’ve been in a strange limbo for a while.

Do you ever feel like you’re waiting for something? Only you’re not sure if that’s possible because you’re not sure what it is, and don’t you have to have something in mind in the first place to be waiting for it to happen? Don’t you have to at least have actually done something of substance, as opposed to lying prone for hours in complete darkness, sequestering yourself beneath a heavy duvet, your lone bedfellow the expectations you can’t fathom into words?

What are you waiting for?

When I started writing this post four days ago at an ungodly hour, I was still out of the country and basically a squatter in my grandparents’ second-floor bedroom. I’d slept through three hours of late afternoon as part of my preemptive, hardcore Jetlag-Adjusting Measures and tried to make up the missing five hours with a short nap, but my eyes were stretched wide and unblinking underneath my eye mask.

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An accurate representation of me, courtesy of somewhere on Pinterest

No more than a foot away from my right ear, a WWE belt-shaped silver clock—you could tell it was the classy kind because it assumed the consumer capable of mentally transposing numbers onto its navy face—sat on the nightstand, the second-hand needle inching its way tirelessly around and around in circles. Each tick and its echo made reverberations, ripples in my head.

I remember, when faced with the decision of whether or not to get up and move the clock to a less ear-splitting distance, lucidly thinking to myself that we would just have to see who broke first.

And then I paused, because hold on, did I just suggest that I would wait for the clock to stop moving by itself before I would lift a finger to move it away from my person? If this were really a competition, it would’ve ended the moment it began, because the clock had already outlasted my sanity.

A cornier blogger would’ve cited that clock as inspiration, while a better blogger probably wouldn’t have acknowledged it at all. Either way, it did get me thinking of a number of similar instances. (In retrospect, it really does figure that I would immediately think of analogies for an annoying clock instead of just unplugging it from the outlet.)

Me: doesn’t advance to level 475 of Candy Crush after my 50th try, accuses universe of discrimination

Also me: constantly replays level over and over again without remotely altering my strategy

Me: expects content to rain down into my entitled hands

Also me: collapses into chairs, couches, and cats, and flat-out refuses to do anything of interest

If you’ve noticed, out of the three posts I’ve published this year, exactly zero of them made it out on a Sunday as kind-of-promised. It’s because I’m trying to stop waiting. More accurately, it’s because I suck at trying to stop waiting.

Last year, without my own approval, I settled into a routine with blogging. Something interesting would happen—or something dull I made into a bigger deal than it should’ve been, as I have no journalistic integrity—and I’d record it with a little commentary. I relied on situations to make things funny, and when nothing extraordinary happened to me even when I did actively seek out trouble, “nothing happened for me to write about” served as an excuse for me not to post. So I’d wait another week and when nothing happened then either, I’d dredge up some trivial occurrence or just not post at all. Usually, this method was eventually met with some success, as I can at least count on one disaster a month, but it’s not entirely sustainable.

If you watch Casey Neistat—I don’t—you might understand. Neistat (see, we’re not quite on a first-name basis) is a wildly successful YouTuber who posted a daily vlog every day for more than eighteen months before quitting because he wasn’t challenged anymore. He’d fallen into a routine and he no longer enjoyed making those videos because they’d gotten too easy for him.

(… The thing about comparing yourself to successful people is that you really have no right to do so when they surpass you in practically every aspect, including but not limited to work ethic and product quality and overall appeal as a human. Prefacing things with “like [insert successful person’s name here], I…” only theoretically makes you feel good about yourself.)

Really, our one similarity is that we essentially fell back on what’s more comfortable. But while “comfortable” meant “easy” to Neistat, it just means “easier” to me. Because my routine wasn’t easy for meclearly not, as I failed pretty spectacularly toward the end. It’s not easy, but it’s easier to wait around and write about things that have messed me up rather than what I’ve been actively doing to mess me up. Or, god forbid, thinking.

Me: complains about how my life has no direction

Also me: makes zero effort to give it direction

What am I waiting for? It’s like I spend each day stalling for the next, waiting out the days until my purpose magically descends from the heavens in some effervescent celestial shower. It’s such a passive outlook on life, and I don’t know when I developed it, this plan to just do what I’m doing until… what? I become less of a miserable sloth?

See, I know exactly what I’m waiting for; I just pretend that I don’t because I don’t think what I’m waiting for exists. You not knowing the answer rather than that there not being an answer at all is a much easier thought to cope with, because then you’re the fallible one and you can save the whole worrying thing, all that is dark and existential, for a higher power. Theoretically, at least. Sometimes you’re a person who can’t stop thinking so much that you loop over to not thinking at all.

The best way I can describe this sensation is falling out of time, like I’ve slowed down and everything has sped up without me. For example, if life is the Great Race, time is the hare and I’m the tortoise who got eaten five minutes in by a crocodile.

 

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Let it not be said that I’m not graphic. (From: fieldherpforum.com)

 

For all the waiting I do, I should probably be a lot better at explaining it to people. This entire post was practically dedicated to articulating this constant state of disassociation, and I still don’t know if I’ve made anything clear.

My theory is that you’re only allowed to reveal your Dark Side when you’re famous—otherwise, it’s mostly irrelevant—because it’s kind of presumptuous to assume people want to read, let alone care about, your deeply personal musings. So I acknowledge the gaffe. If you hate it, let me know and I’ll just save this stuff for my hard drive next time, I guess. Or maybe it’s one of those train wrecks from which you can’t look away.

Finally, if motivational posts always end with calls to action, maybe a demotivational one should parallel. Whenever I finish inspirational posts on how to turn around your life, I always nod, say “good point,” and then proceed to change nothing about what I’m doing. So I guess you can expect some cute story next week about the latest thing that’s happened over here.

As the great singer and actress Anna Kendrick once said, “Oh God. I just realized I’m stuck with me my whole life.”

Thanks for reading.


Like my page on Facebook! I try to post on Sundays, but you already know.

Also, if you’re looking for a blog recommendation, try The Good Greatsby. He’s a funnier man than I, because I am not a man. But he’s still funnier, regardless.


11 thoughts on “The Waiting Game

  1. Being stuck with me my whole life isn’t so bad. Theoretically at least. The keys are to leap out if the way, acrobatically if you so desire, when purpose falls too close and to never reveal your dark side if anyone with a blue light saber is in the room.

    Like

      1. I’ll swing by in the morning and pick him up. I think he belongs to Hedonism Bot. In the meantime resist his charms as best you can. Throw on some Gwar videos, down a ghost pepper mojito, do whatever it takes, You can’t take ennui lying down.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We didn’t choose the waiting game. The waiting game chose us.
    Me: Acknowledges the fact that things like these happen to everybody
    Also me: Uses that knowledge as an excuse so that I wouldn’t have to change anything about myself
    Me: Continues and accepts the waiting game

    Liked by 1 person

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