(A call to action, or directions to where I’m itchy? Maybe both).
First, I would like to agree with my esteemed colleague from New Zealand Karyn who commented about sitting still and watching it all. There are a surprising number of personal growth moments that are currently springing up for me, and one of them is a real understanding of the power of patience. And like many life lessons, this one dawned on me as I watched a sweaty man swing a racket.
I was early for a squash match one evening, and I spent the idle time watching a small group of players who are much much better at the sport than I am. One of the three players on the court was clearly the best player, and he was making some shots that I thought were impossible without CGI assistance. He had real natural talent, and I honestly don’t think I could ever be that good. That’s alright, I’m realizing that a part of growing up and maturing is recognizing that you probably won’t be the Olympic athlete and astronaut who solves crime in his spare time, and that there are some things that you are not good at. Focus on the things you can do (and want to do) and have fun with the rest.
But the real revleation I had while watching Senor Squash play in front of me came from the long shots that landed at the back of the court. Normally, I panic and swing at shots like that with reckless abandon , and I get the kind of non-results you would expect. But this fellow did something very strange: he waited. There were moments that I was sure he had waited too long and the ball was going to drop to the floor, but he would flick his wrist at the last second and make the shot. And the shots were good too. By waiting and planning his return volley, he could make a much better shot than a big lummox swatting madly at the ball. So, went into my squash game with a new theory to test. Did I make the shots like my secret, sweaty mentor had been making? No. Not at all. But, there was a small improvement in my game, and that’s good enough for me.
Now I’m trying to roll this patience plan out to the other areas of my life, specifically in my social interactions. My anxiety usually pushes me into being flustered and reacting badly,which makes my social anxiety even worse. So instead, I’m going to lay back a little, and relax as I wait for my shot to come. I tried it out last night at a big , geeky gathering for bloggers and it did help. I also re-affirmed how much I love my own voice and my ideas, and if somebody’s going to listen, then I am going to talk. A Lot. And I am okay with that. You have been warned.