Playing the Waiting Game

03/09/2015 01:05 pm ET | Updated May 09, 2015

In a constantly changing market of creative and corporate expectations, starting the road to meet our personal expectations begins with taking a first step. But finding the first step and waiting for it to happen seems to be the hardest of steps. And until steps start to happen, we sit and wait for the green light. So the question is: How do we know when we're actually on the road to success and not just "waiting around"?

This whole thought started when my friend Jon went to the Apple store to get his computer fixed. He and the Genius started talking and both found out they were artists. Jon, very much on the young side of the path towards artistry, was stunned to hear the Apple man say: "Well, I wanted to be a writer. See how well that turned out?" He had been waiting years for his writing career to take off. But when economic necessities took precedence, I guess he had to get "realistic" and took a perfectly respected position at a great company. But it wasn't what he truly wanted to do. Let's just say Jon was a bit stunned at this, rather honest, release.

There's only so much space in this world for each "thing". There can only be so many doctors, so many construction workers, so many waiters, even, because we, as humans, live in a finite space. Demand is constantly the high and supply is most definitely the constant low. Yet, we continue to fight for these spots. We want these things so hard that we will wait for hours, days, years to be in that potential light for even 30 seconds. We look at people like Lena Dunham who started killing the game from birth and think: "Should that be me? If that's what the game is, should I have started playing five years ago?" So we hustle. And then we wait.


For a long time. Or at least that's how we see it. Some less than others. We see others and wonder why they only waited a fraction of the time for their thing. And then we bog ourselves down so much when we compare waiting times that we subconsciously move ourselves farther and farther away from the possibility of our thing. We become our biggest fan and our own worst enemy. While we wait, we get creative to make the waiting time shorter. They say the best way to move forward is to stay active. So we stay active. But then staying active sometimes doesn't seem to do much. So we slow down. And so continues this cycle.

And though we're young, we continue to have that same thought: "Is this thing ever going to happen? If so-and-so is getting the thing, does that mean I won't have it?" But even though this question weighs us down, life presents us with little victories that tell us the possibility is very much the definition of the word itself: possible. Instead of not pursuing it and wondering "What if," we'd much rather settle for playing the cards, knowing the odds may not be in our favor.

While we wait, we allow our imagination and far-away thoughts to drive us forward and tell us that if we dream hard enough and work hard enough, it can happen. It's what we've always been told. But then we sometimes wonder: At what point is our dream not equally matched by potential and skill? We convince ourselves we'll never have to answer that, yet we fear it everyday. But in this face of self-adversity, something beautiful or amazing happens and life reminds us why this thing is the thing worth waiting for. And sometimes if we don't know what the thing is, our thing is wanting to want a thing. Either way, waiting for the "go ahead" seems never-ending. But we do it because life would be boring if we all just settled. We'd much rather battle it out.

Because we only have one life to live. And though waiting may take up a great deal of it, we hope and pray the waiting will reap its benefits. We'll just have to throw the dice and pray for the best. We'll never know otherwise.