It’s a virtue I don’t have. But when you at least accept that there is a shortcoming that you are aware of, sometimes you can do something about it.
This morning, I set out early and decided on the north part of Bayshore where I would be looking at the sunrise as it came up behind Tampa General Hospital. I know that isn’t necessarily an idyllic view but I was hoping that the skies might add some drama and generate some wild colors that could have drowned out the foreground.
When I got there, it was yet an hour before sunrise and as the sky became a little clearer to my view, I could see that there weren’t enough clouds to add the drama I needed.
At that stage, I could have left that viewpoint and headed further south towards Ballast Point. I even had time to head across the bay towards St Pete. But last week’s disaster over there and my own laziness and reluctance to move, worked together and made me stay.
There were a couple of guys hanging out to my right who were smoking a little weed and enjoying the early morning quiet. There were a few joggers that occasionally went by. And there were a couple of cormorants diving for breakfast, hoping to catch a sleeping fish or two.
But, all told it was a nothing morning. I’ve said it before, I am not a fan of clear sky sunrises. Although they are pretty, they all look the same and for someone like me it always seems like I have been here before.
I got it my head that I would leave and go home to the cats, but I chided myself for my impatience and made myself stay for a bit.
That’s when the unexpected arrival of a dolphin broke the routine and drove my excitement factor noticeably higher. It was still too dark to get clear shots of her, and I didn’t have a zoom lens anyway, and I didn’t have a notion of where she might even surface …. so it was never going to be a photo moment.
But nonetheless I was thrilled that she chose that moment to swim up the bay. I felt privileged.
There are a couple of shots of her breaking the water surface among the sunrise shots at the end of the blog. They aren’t anything special but it was a special moment to me.
I hope you enjoy.
As I drove home a little later, I was happy to have stayed and nature seemed to have rewarded me for doing so.
It made me think though, why is impatience such a trait that I always seem to have to battle? Why is it not yet something that I have conquered?
I realized in thought, that impatience is something that extends well beyond me and my shortcomings. It has become a pronounced trait across the world we live in.
For generations of mankind, we have removed the virtue of waiting from the values we teach our children. We give them what they want, when they want it. Not all the time, but enough to cause the loss of patience in the arsenal that they approach life with.
America is worse than most places in the western world in this regards and I suspect it is a direct result of the affluence and laziness that has infected us in this last hundred years.
Why wait when you can afford it now?
Why save when you can get instant credit?
Why wait for something to get repaired when you can replace it immediately?
Why wait in line at the grocery store when you can have someone shop for you and bring it to your car?
Why make a healthy dinner for everyone when the drive thru is so much faster?
The byproduct of all these choices is more waste, more debt, more laziness, and more damage to our health. And across the board, less patience.
So maybe I am being a fool to try to fight against what I see as a personal failing. Maybe I should just go with the crowd and only accept instant gratification.
This level of “instant living” is reflected in everything we do and far from slowing ourselves down in this decline, we accelerate willingly towards wherever it all ends.
Earn your four-year-degree in three.
Buy now pay later.
There is no waiting any more.
Unless of course you are a black person on polling day. Those folks can wait seven hours in line, but god forbid anyone tries to give them food or water. Let’s arrest those election-stealers … OK, sorry, that is a tangent.
I blame technology.
I love technology.
But I still blame it.
You see, technology is smarter than us humans and though we know how to use it, we never learned how to control it.
There are now generations (yes, plural) who never used a rotary dial phone and had to wait a couple of seconds for the dial to rotate all the way back from the “0” so you could enter the next number.
There are generations who have never experienced the act of changing a TV channel or adjusting the volume by having to get off the sofa and walk to the TV set.
There are generations that never had to plan to take the meat out of the freezer the night before in order to be able to cook it for dinner the following day.
Digital phones, Remote Controls, and Microwaves took away the need to wait and while we happily consumed these “innovations” our waste lines expanded and our patience depleted.
The phrase “patience is a virtue” has long since been forgotten and has fallen into complete irrelevance.
We no longer expect it from anyone any more, least of all ourselves.
“Sorry for keeping you waiting sir.” even though it was only a couple of minutes ago when I joined the line to buy the fast food.
It is to the point where you must be a complete loser not to have an express pass at the theme park. “Keep walking kids. Don’t make eye contact with those sweaty people. They are probably those F-word people. Foreigners”
OK OK, slight exaggeration, I know.
But my point is simple. While recognizing a short coming within myself, I see that the world around me not only doesn’t see it as a shortcoming any more, but in fact lack of patience is often praised and rewarded.
“He’s a real go-getter. Won’t take no for an answer. A highly driven, results oriented person. What a guy!
Let’s promote him, let’s reward him. Let’s elect him.
Virtues of past generations like integrity, honesty, decency, and patience are exactly that … in the past.
But then again, I can only effect change in me. So, I will continue to strive for more patience … you should too. It really isn’t that hard.
What are you waiting for?
… just a thought!