I am not naturally patient, but my level of agitation, irritation, and brusqueness is suddenly on the rise. There is a reason for this sudden change in my demeanor. The leisure summer days are gone. No more long afternoons of reading on the back deck, no more time to meander through quiet waters in the kayak and no more opportunities to plan any long distance rides on my bike. Suddenly, summer vacation is in my rearview mirror.
Since earning an income is still necessary and teaching is still my preferred occupation, making preparations for the new school year has started. For the last two days I’ve been in my classroom moving desks around, taking inventory of curriculum and gathering with my colleagues for the necessary meetings. But I’ve noticed the sudden busyness in my life has made me impatient.
For instance, in preparation for a formal presentation, I gathered with my colleagues to discuss our agenda. My co-worker, a woman of great detail, used way too many words to explain a simple concept. I had to sit on my hands and bite my tongue. I had a very strong urge to reach out, cover her mouth and tell her to shush.
Following on the heels of a busy day at school, I traveled through town to do a few errands. Our community is still filled with summer tourists walking, biking and driving about in casual mode. In my haste, I nearly collided with a man on a bike who did not stop at a clearly marked stop sign. Lucky for him, I stopped, but raised my hands to point out that he was the one with the stop sign, not me. Then I recognized the man on the bike. He is a local, someone I know. He did not notice who I was and I was grateful. My actions, driven by my short temper, only embarrassed me.
Finally, arriving home, I sat down to check my personal emails. There were a few that needed a response. Already pooped out from a full day, it took all I had to muster up a few kind words with which to send out responses. I know that one of my replies was more curt than courteous, but I’ll make it up with them later.
I do not like what busyness produces in me; impatience. And impatience produces a petty preoccupation with self, resulting in selfishness and self centeredness. I’ve noticed my short fuse, my high level of unease, and snappishness. But, I know it is better to not perseverate on my irritability, rather it is better to focus on remembering patience. I know how to be kind, composed and calm and I can remember to do what I know how to do.
Why bother noticing impatience? It is a new day. I have a clean slate. I can begin again with what I know is right and good. Thanks to impatience, I can remember patience.