Ihave noticed that we have become a less-patient people. We hate standing in line, watching commercials, being held up in traffic and especially, if you’re anything like me, waiting for food.
We live in a society that is obsessed with instant gratification — it’s practically built into our subconscious to want things right away. I am not going to pretend I’m not guilty of this as well; I hate waiting more than five seconds for pretty much anything.
Our generation as a whole could probably be diagnosed with ADD. The other night I was watching TV with friends, and as soon as a commercial came on, everyone instantly became enraptured with their phones. We can’t stand not to be engaged for even 30 seconds.
Instant gratification is cool. Doing what I want when I want is a great thing that I will always appreciate. But is it better for you? When we become impatient with inanimate objects like the TV during a particularly long commercial, it conditions us to become impatient with each other, and that’s not so good.
I don’t want to complain about technology. That’s not the point, and it’s not entirely to blame for our generation’s decrease in patience. I don’t have the answer for why we want things right away, but I do have a few suggestions on how to regain your patience.
1. Read a book. This is good life advice, but it’s also a very disciplined activity. Amidst classes, homework, club activities, part-time jobs and a social life, it is almost impossible to find time to read anything longer than a tweet. If you can make time to sit down for 15 minutes every day to read a book, you’ll feel great when you finish it.
2. Don’t use a microwave. This sounds less like a helpful tip and more like a conspiracy theory. Microwaves are fine, but I have noticed they have an influence on how long I’m willing to wait for something. Why slow-cook a meal when you can microwave it for 30 seconds? Because microwaves cause you to scream in frustration when your freezer-to-stomach ratio is less than five minutes, that’s why.
3. Write letters to your friends. This sounds cheesy and unnecessary, and sometimes it can be. If you see someone every day, what would you have to say in a letter? I’ve been exchanging letters with a friend from high school since we graduated. We do use normal platforms of communication as well, like texting and Snapchat, but try to have at least one person with whom a primary source of communication is letters. It’s more fun than it sounds and it gives you something to look forward to when you check your mailbox.
4. Avoid being on your phone at social gatherings. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people ask me to “hang out,” which translates to “let’s all sit in a circle and stare at our phones.” At first it’s weird being the only person not browsing your Twitter feed; you won’t be sure what to do instead. My roommate introduced me to the UNICEF Tap Project. It provides a day of drinking water for every 10 minutes you don’t touch your phone. Suggest doing this at your next outing; everybody wins.
I can’t guarantee that these suggestions will change your whole life, but they will keep you from having a nervous breakdown the next time you’re stuck in line at the post office. You’re welcome.