How to wait for things, from an ex-New Yorker

Social distancing means cleaning out Google Drive, where I found this piece I wrote last year while living in New York City. I wanted to keep a cheeky tone, but wrote out of a place of true frustration as I kept finding myself in scenarios where I had to — God forbid — wait for something. I love reading this a year later from a more intentional and paced Southern California life, not to mention while living shelter-in-place.

It’s Saturday night and I’m walking down Essex Street as slowly as a New Yorker possibly can without looking suspicious. I meander pass some graffiti and never-ending construction, staring sadly at the new Target that recently opened. I’d been out all day, took my time getting ready, and even blow-dried my hair. Regardless, it is 7:58 and I’m just walking up to my neighbor’s apartment. His dinner party starts at 8.

In a world of “Sorry! My meeting went over, be there in 10!” and “Can you believe the trains are running local?!” I’ve found that punctuality is not a commonly shared value.

While waiting, I used to mindlessly poke around on social media, double-tapping photos of infinity pools in Indonesia. Or, pass those minutes mentally ticking off the reasons this person is incompetent at time management. While it’s easy to fill this time with distractions, I wanted intentional and purposeful ways to fill my moments of waiting.

So what’s a chronically punctual person to do?

Be ready to wait.

Consider the person you are waiting for, and what you want them to take away from your interaction.

Reflect on your day.

What went well? What is going poorly? What would I change? What do I want to do differently tomorrow?

Be still.

Lastly, passive-aggressively text the person you’re waiting for.

Instead of viewing time waited as time wasted, I’m using these strategies to take those moment captive and change my own perspective. We will never live in a world where everyone is punctual, but we can be proactive, understanding and flexible.

I want to improve my writing, among other things. This is my sandbox. Topics not limited to: design, feelings, education & relationships. Based in LA ☀️