Instantification? Um, no.Posted: July 1, 2011
Last Friday I talked to a friend who lost her 83 yr old dad suddenly June 3rd. (For regular readers, I hear you groaning, ‘Seriously? Another post about death? Who do you think you are: Elisabeth Kubler-Ross?’ Nooo, this is about something else, promise!) As we talked she said, “But it’s been three weeks already! I took a week off and cried for a week!” I laughed and replied, “So? Three weeks is nothing.” After much conversation she said, “Well, I just don’t want to wallow in this.” I said, “Wallow? Wallow? Are you kidding me?! Three weeks of grieving hardly constitutes wallowing after losing someone you lived with for over half of your life and your son lived with for his whole life. This is normal! It’s normal for you & your son to feel this way.” I added, “Remember, it takes nine months to create a life. It takes more than three weeks to mourn one!”
Our conversation made me muse about our desire for everything to be instantaneous, perfect, ‘Faster, Better, Stronger,’ no matter what transition we’re going through. In reality, few things are instantaneous. Lightning? Earthquakes? Heart Attacks? Strokes? Meteorologists, geologists, and doctors would probably say, “Um, not really, conditions were brewing for some time; that’s just the end result.” Love at first sight? Dr. Brian Weiss would say that was brewing for some time too!
Besides taking nine months for a fertilized egg to mature into a ready-for-the-world baby, think about it: It generally takes twenty-one years to raise a child, get them through high school and college to the point where they can make their way in the world. Ever built a home? That takes lots of time. Planning, building, window treatments, furnishing, landscaping; the entire process can take two years. And I’ve known people who’ve taken a full year or more to plan a wedding.
In May I was in a series of job interviews and answered a question, “Well, it usually takes six months to fully learn and transition into any new job.” One of the hiring managers doing the interview had only been with the company two months and replied, “Here I think it’s more like a year.”
So if we look at the cycle of life; how long we go to school, go to college, our first job, apartment, finding the person to marry, getting married, having kids (or not), raising kids (or not), houses, etc., it all takes a lot of time. Actually, a lifetime.
Building a business is the same; even the most successful businesses today weren’t overnight sensations. Google was initially incorporated on 9/4/98, but didn’t IPO until 8/19/2004. Facebook launched in 2004 for college students only and wasn’t open to the public until late 2006. They haven’t even IPO’ed yet. And there’s lots of discussion in the social media world about the ROI of SM; how long it takes to see ‘tangible’ results from social media.
Even fast food isn’t actually fast. Animals have to live and grow to a certain weight, be slaughtered, processed, frozen & shipped before cooking. Likewise with the potatoes; someone has to grow, process and ship them before they’re fried up. And someone is cooking that food; be it microwave, fryer, etc. … that drive-thru meal that seems quick in your daily process really isn’t that fast.
A favorite example is my garden. I’ve had the good fortune to live in the four corners of the US: the NE, Pacific NW, Southern California and now the west coast of Florida. My favorite flower ever since I was a kid has always been bird of paradise (probably that past life in Hawaii). When I lived in San Diego county, I planted birds of paradise and they took time to bloom, but they bloomed. Last spring I decided I was back in the land of palm trees, so it was time to plant birds again. I didn’t consider how much it rains here in the summer, or know that birds are actually from South Africa and hate too much water. Also had no clue how the rain would collect in my little garden. So the three beautiful birds I planted May 2010 that each had three distinct plants died down to just one plant each by January. Thought about transplanting them to a pot this spring but didn’t get to it, and now the rainy season is here. In early June, I noticed one actually has a bird coming! After my excitement, I thought *thirteen months* after planting! (I may have a little bet with that bird over who is going to ‘bloom’ first in our new location;-)
To say that life is just a series of transitions is decidedly unsexy. But whether you’re a student, new graduate, in your first ‘real’ job, planning your wedding, a newlywed, pregnant with your first baby, a new parent, transitioning from or into a job, building a house, moving states, job searching, healing from an injury, grieving someone you’ve lost, or going through a divorce, patience is definitely required. All transitions take time. If you are gentle with yourself (no judgement) as you go through whatever transition you’re in, you’ll be happier. Even the really good stuff we want to happen often upsets our previous patterns/routines causing us to lose our equilibrium and feel a bit out of control until we create a new balance. It’s really the out of control feeling we don’t like; but in reality, it happens with every transition.
If this post hasn’t totally zenned you out to, “I’m right where I’m supposed to be,” then follow Tiny Buddha on Facebook or Twitter; repeated exposure should do the trick! http://tinybuddha.com/
Anybody want to make a wager on who blooms first: me or the bird? 😉