Waiting sucks but it’s a big part of life. Over the weekend I had to wait and it gave me an opportunity to re-learn some life lessons I have forgotten lately.
This weekend I waited for about two hours in the parking lot of Fox Brothers BBQ. They have the best brisket on the planet. Even though their beef is delicious I normally wouldn’t have waited that long to eat anywhere.
I went with my brother and my two nephews. We were meeting a large party celebrating the graduation of one of my brother’s friends.
We got there and we were told it would be an hour to an hour and a half wait. It was a little cloudy out but it didn’t look like it was going to rain for a while and I was feeling pretty good.
The others in the party starting to arrive about 45 minutes later and they were standing in a large group talking and laughing. I talked to the few people I knew and withdrew to get under the roof that projected about a foot past the smokehouse. The sky began to darken and storm clouds began to gather.
My nephews joined me under the awning and we waited for the rain to come. Thirty minutes later it came and soon party was single file huddled under about a foot of the roof overhang against the smokehouse wall, trying to stay dry. We were told it would be another five minutes and our table would be ready.
As the rain increasd the people eating outside were getting soaked so they all went in. So our wait time increased again.
We finally made the run for the door and crowded into the area right in front of the kitchen. Another twenty minutes went by then finally they had one table available for only 12 of the 22. We let the younger folks and those from out of town take that table. Another ten minutes ticked by and finally we were seated.
The staff were amazingly friendly, the food was hot and delicious and the other customers were all very cool. Was it worth the wait? Definitely. Not only because of the above reasons but because of what I learned.
During this two plus hour ordeal I learned a few things. Waiting is both a physical and a mental activity and in order to patiently wait I had to take care of both my body and my brain.
Here are five things I found helpful when waiting.
1. Take care of your physical health. My brother after he found out the wait time went to the bar and brought myself and my nephews cold bottled water. He is a thoughtful dude.
Dehydration causes mental and physical effects that make waiting uncomfortable. Don’t be thirsty if you don’t have to be.
2. Be productive
Before it rained I finished up my blog post “Squeaky Sneaker” standing in the middle of Fox Brothers’ parking lot. I even took my shoe off and took a photo for the post while waiting. If you don’t blog, read up on something that will improve your life or learn something you can share that will help someone else or strike up a conversation with someone new.
3. Look after somone else during the period of waiting.
My two nephews hung with me and I looked after them most of the time we were waiting. That helped keep my mind off my own discomfort.
4. Be in the moment. Even though I was not thrilled to be waiting in a parking lot for 2 hours , that reality all I had in that moment. While researching my “squeaky sneaker” blog post I ran across a Zen quote that really helped me while I waited
“nothing happens next”.
The moment is all we have and that is enough.
5. Be Grateful for what you do have.
There were times I really struggled mentally. I thought what has my brother drug me into?
In those moments I consciously reminded myself about how grateful I am that my brother includes me in everything, that he got me my phone, he’s paid for thousands of dinners and how awesome my two nephews are.
Gratitude is a powerful emotion that helps to calm the brain and body. When we are constantly striving for what’s next our brains and body are stressed. It causes cognitive dissonance. Our brains strive to rectify this by plotting a course in order to achieve what we want. Our brain motivates our body by producing feelings of discomfort.
If we acknowledge what we have already, that allows resonance to replace dissonance in our bodies and brains.. When we do this its like all of our cells take a deep breathe and relax in unison.
All of life can feel like we are perpetually waiting in some type of parking lot, waiting to satisfy a desire in the future. We wile away our days waiting in nervous anticipation for the next promotion, the next comment on our new blog post, the perfect girl to come into our lives, a better house to live in, a fridge stocked with grass fed beef or pain free body. But if we are constantly waiting to feel happy in the future, what will our present be like today?
The truth is that life is essentially waiting for death. What we do with the moments we have until we die constitutes our life. Why wait for a future moment to be “happy” when we have so much that we can do in the moment to feel peaceful and fulfilled?
The same lessons I learned in the Fox Brothers’ parking lot waiting to eat delicious brisket also translates to my everyday life.
These are the five things I’ll keep in mind today.
1. Take care of your health.
2. Be productive with your time.
3. Focus on alleviating the suffering of others.
4. Be in the moment. Enjoy where you are and with who you are with.
5. Be grateful for what you do have.
I read a quote once that said, a great book is something that reminds us of what we already know. This is true about these five life lessons. I know what to do to be happier but I lose my way a lot. Sometimes it takes a 2 hour wait in the Fox Brothers’ parking lot to remind me of the simple things that I can control to be happy now.
Hope you have a great day.