Waiting is hard when you don’t know how to be idle

Even when things are falling place.

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So, a while ago, I posted about beginning a transition that I didn’t feel like going into detail about because it was complicated, eventually mentioning that I had quit my old job in the middle of a pandemic, with the intention of finding one that better met my expectations. Amid all that I was preparing for other projects and blah blah blah…

I had to be strategic about my exit from my old place. I had to make sure I had enough savings for all the projects I had planned and started, plus a little extra to take care of things in between the old role and my next one. Common sense, right? For the most part, my strategy was a success. I completed the projects I had planned (including the bathroom renovation) and more importantly, I landed my new job in good time, and I can thankfully say my new place has way more to offer than my previous place did, from both a personal and professional standpoint.

Needless to say, it took a whole lot of planning and even though this transition is about 90% complete, the remaining 10% is the stuff I find hard. Waiting.

Don’t get me wrong, I am naturally methodical and relatively organised. I would even go as far as to say that patience really is a virtue for me. I can wait. I just get anxious waiting with nothing to do. It’s the feeling of helplessness and boredom that really grinds my gears. It’s a kind of restlessness I feel from being idle too long. The more random things I do one day, the less there is to do the next. So, I’m intentionally leaving things unfinished, which is against my nature, so it feels weird.

I know the problem is not everyone else. It’s not like I’m ever being made to wait an unreasonable amount of time for things to fall in place. The truth is, I just need to learn to enjoy doing nothing. At least as much as a normal person does.

I feel like growing up in a Nigerian household as a girl meant that my idleness was frowned upon, and often disallowed. If I wasn’t studying, I was helping in the kitchen, or cleaning, or running errands or studying (its common knowledge that Nigerian immigrant families push their children towards academic excellence at all costs, as it’s often seen as the only route to long term financial security), so I would say that I only really started having idle time after I left for uni. So, it’s fair to say that I’m still learning how to be idle – and it’s driving me up the wall.

The funny thing is I am better able to appreciate idle time when I am busy, so I know I shouldn’t take this time for granted. And I am aware that I have a lot to be grateful for given how chaotic everything has been since 2020.

But it’s just, argh. You know?



Published by Ẹlọghosa

Thought librarian | Commentary on culture and personal development | Quietly Dramatic

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