We are losing our patience so much that I fear in the future our satisfaction and level of happiness will not be fulfilled because they happen to quickly. In the past we waited for hours, sometimes days, to have a meal, now we get impatient when something has to cook in the microwave for more than a minute. In the future I think we will be disappointed if we aren’t fed before we have the chance to feel hungry.
There is something satisfying about having to wait to receive something. When I was a little kid I can remember anticipating Christmas for months ahead of time, and then when that day finally came I was filled with more joy and happiness than I knew I could experience. A few years later, I figured out about Santa’s big lie and my parents eventually became lazier. The anticipation and reward were lost. I can even remember getting excited for some homework assignments back in elementary school that required research because it was a challenge that took time to find all of the answers. Now-a-days, all it usually takes is a quick Google search and a few seconds of patience to get the answers you are looking for, no more searching through encyclopedias, research books, and old newspaper articles to find what you are looking for. People are overly impatient with school in general. Most students that I talk to are always like “fuck school, who needs it anyway?” What they often really mean is that that they wish they are impatient and wish they could somehow bypass the process of learning and experiencing and just download the information they need like they live in the fucking Matrix or something.
Our world seems to be moving faster and faster every year that I manage to successfully spin around the sun, and people’s level of patience seems to be dwindling in the past. All of the new technology has really propelled our American culture into a violent fit of rage screaming “More! Now!” It’s a sad realization that there aren’t very many people out there who still can appreciate sitting around and doing nothing, or taking a drive to go somewhere that they could to right around the corner, or people who can wait for you to roll a quality blunt.
Smartphones are probably the biggest indicator of this problem, maybe they are even the problem itself? Anyway, we will save that article for another day. People always seem to be texting away constantly, stalking their friends and people they don’t know on Facebook, or simply just scrolling through the apps on their home screen with no real intention. The problem isn’t that people are using their phones, it is why they are using them. Back in the day when phones were used to exchange your voice, thoughts, and opinions with another human being, people actually paid attention to what the other person was saying and how they were saying it, they genuinely cared. In today’s world I feel that most people use their smartphones to avoid other people. Seriously, how many times have you caught a friend or someone you know out at a party, the strip club, or somewhere else where people are gathered to socialize with one another and that person is sitting there ignoring everyone and playing with their phone? Are they playing Tetris? Pretending to text someone they wish would text them? Who knows, it’s probably both. When I take the train to get around the city, I always notice how over half of the people on the train are on their smartphones. I have to admit that I do use my phone on the train, but I only use it in certain circumstances. If I just downloaded a new game, I am going to play it, because I have no patience for things like that. If I have to respond to an email or delete a bunch of them, I will use my phone on the train. If I just thought of or experienced something hilarious and I need to tweet it that moment (because my A.D.H.D. WILL make me forget), then I will use my phone. Other than that, I usually just try to enjoy the often uncomfortable awkwardness of being in such close proximity of complete smelly strangers. The reward comes when I get off the train, grab some coffee, fresh air, and a smoke on my way to school or work or whatever.
People should really try to get out and do something the old fashioned way every once in a while. The old saying “good things come to those who wait” was probably not meant to explain the future society’s problem with patience, but, it does. Wait for something for the right amount of time and it feels so good when you finally get it or sometimes it’s even the process of waiting that is most rewarding. If you got that same thing instantly, you probably wouldn’t even remember why you wanted that thing a few hours/days/weeks/months/years later. There isn’t much gratification in anything that comes easily, and there is a weird connection between our perception of the time something takes and how easy we consider that thing to be.
What can we do to restore our patience? Are we screwed?
***Patience rewards us not with the gift or answer or result, but it rewards us with wonder, thought, creativity, inspiration, well formed thought/opinions, and so many other intangible perks that are often worth as much, if not more, in our heads and hearts than the thing we were waiting for originally.***