There is one virtue I recently discovered I don’t have. It’s not like I ever thought I had an abundance of it, I just hadn’t given it much thought and really didn’t know enough about myself to realise how much it was lacking. Now that I know, it has become so glaringly obvious that I can’t believe that there was ever any doubt in my mind. And I love it.
I don’t see it as a bad thing – I mean, it’s not great but everyone has their flaws. If anything, I’m grateful that I know myself well enough to be able to happily identify this for what it is. The journey of self-discovery even just to this point, took a long time (objectively – even someone with the patience of a saint would have found this to be a drawn out process) and this is one of my favourite discoveries. In the way of an old, eccentric woman who no longer gives a shit, I can now excuse a number of feelings and annoyances to myself. Feelings being the operative word – this doesn’t mean I get to be a massive bitch and use my impatience as an excuse – I just want to be able to not overthink and feel guilty about how annoyed I get in certain situations. I can finally say, like one of those people who knows themselves “I’m just not patient enough for that” and work around it rather than berate myself.
That’s the thing – when you know you have a flaw, you can work with it. For me, being impatient doesn’t mean I can never show any patience, it just takes a little extra thought, willpower and direction. I have trained for and run a half marathon, I have waited out a job I didn’t like in order to get the work visa I needed, I quit drinking, I have changed up my diet and exercise enough to lose 16 kgs. All of these things take patience and so I know that I am capable of it. But it requires concerted effort and determination. It doesn’t come as easily to me as it may do to some others.
The impatience shows itself when I try something new and I’m not good at it. All of a sudden I feel immense annoyance at the activity and at myself, usually followed by giving up and proclaiming that I hate said activity. It doesn’t matter that I know that only practice makes perfect, I want it straight away. It happens when things don’t go my way as soon as I’d like them to, or if something I think should happen in a certain way, doesn’t. I feel it when I have to sit and make awkward conversation at the beginning of the evening before everyone really feels comfortable and the party has warmed up – I used to respond to this impatience by just drinking through the awkward stage. As a result I’m not really sure what’s supposed to come between awkward beginning of a party and the end of the night. Outwardly you may only notice a slight change in my mood and reactions. I don’t like to be excessively mean but it can be hard to conceal when something is really not happening the right way, or as quickly as I want it to. I may become short or even make snarky comments, alternatively I could withdraw entirely.
The why doesn’t seem as important – maybe it’s because we moved around so much when I was a child. Maybe because I never stuck at any one sport or team. It could be all sorts of reasons. Or it could just be inherent. It doesn’t seem to matter as much. It’s something I can handle. Just a little quirk which makes me me and which I can now learn to accept.