For someone who’s usually on the front line, waiting on the sideline is one of the hardest things you think you could be in.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-doubt, to wallow in misery and self-pity, feel irrelevant and stuck. But remember that waiting is also part of the journey. There are other things that can be found in it, not just struggle. There’s beauty and tons of opportunity.
So instead of locking yourself up in your dark bedroom when life is taking its time, here are some things to remember and do to win the waiting game:
1. Organise and clean your space.
It’s actually therapeutic. Move some furniture, rearrange your closet, give away things you’re no longer using. A change in the environment can soothe the soul, and allow new ideas to come in. You can even check my Tidying Up post, and discover some things for yourself.
2. You are never alone.
It’s getting redundant. Everyone’s saying it, but fact of the matter is that although your friends and idols may seem to have unlocked the secrets of life, everyone is still figuring things out - asking the same questions, and trying to conquer challenges that do not get posted on social media. Everyone is waiting for something. What makes the difference is what you do with the time you’re given.
3. Count on your friends and family.
We often tell our family about our problems when we can no longer find a solution on our own. We think they will judge us and that they will not understand the situation. Change this habit by telling them how we feel, even if it’s not a problem, even if it’s just a joke we heard while riding the bus home. It’s always good to remember people, even if we can’t offer anything big and likewise. Our loved ones will always be our greatest supporters.
4. Reward yourself, even if you feel broke.
I totally get it. You feel your wallet and bank account is crying that you’re tempted to call 911. But there’s always a reason to reward yourself. There’s always a reason to celebrate, and it doesn’t mean going grand. From brewing your favourite cup of coffee to binge watching your most awaited series. Something that speaks to your core. Personally, I go to art galleries to relax. I write random thoughts and poems in my quiet time. I’d go to a book sale and go through endless piles of books and magazines, not to buy anything, but to appreciate covers and read headlines. It could be anything, really. What’s important is you do something you enjoy. That’s your reward – you get to be you.
5. Accomplish something.
Not all accomplishments need a reward or a recognition. It could be giving your pet a bath or just doing the laundry. Get up early and make a list of small tasks you want to do that day. You’ll be amazed by how good you feel afterwards.
6. Learn something new.
Learning never stops, unless of course you decide not to do anything with your life. But being human also means being constantly hungry for change – for growth. While you wait for that “you got the job”, “you passed the exam”, “the operation went well” or even the “he / she finally said yes” kind of call, why not invest in yourself? Listen to podcasts. Watch tutorial videos. Read a book. You get the idea. Trust me, it’s for you.
Assess memories, be in the present, and project into the future. You can revisit your accomplishments, your motivation that brought you this far and gather enough reason as to why you should be moving forward or have that forward thinking mindset. You get the chance to separate the storylines in your mind from the realities that surround you.
There’s no harm having another dose of happy pill in your life. Sometimes you really want to just cuddle up in bed, but this will also help you become stronger – strong enough that you’ll have the energy to sustain the chapter you’re entering.
9. Enjoy solitude, but do not abandon yourself in loneliness.
And lastly, just be. Slowing down once in a while is also good for us. Even soldiers at war get their downtime. Take it as a chance to recollect yourself.
Back in 2016, that time when I wasn’t at my best – clients can’t decide what they want, not getting a call back – I felt miserable. One day I was reading some articles, and this ever so popular line by Will Durant (or by Aristotle) comes up.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.”
It was one of those mindset changing moments. I felt calmer and brave again. You don’t have to figure things out, and you’re not stuck – you’re in the process. So keep fighting, no matter how long the wait may seem to be. You got this. You’re a survivor.
Stay inspired and Later days!
Niguel is an experienced creative and marketing professional pursuing his dreams while growing with infinite possibilities.