Waiting in line could consume a large portion of my day. Sometimes planning ahead avoids some of the crowds, but at some point everyone has to wait.

We wait at the post office, the grocery store, the bagel shop, the drug store, crowded cafes and movie theaters. We wait for flights that have been delayed or rescheduled. We wait for trains, buses and elevators.

I’ve often been in the “waiting place”, and I admit I don’t like it. I’ve had to learn how to change my thinking about the way I wait.Often we do not have control over whether or not we have to wait, but we do have control over our attitudes while we are waiting. We can choose whether to waste that time being frustrated about the long wait or we can use that time to accomplish something interesting.

The next time you are forced to wait, take a look at the people around you. They are all in the same position, but it is interesting to watch the different reactions. Some people get easily frustrated. Their muscles start to tense and they think they are the only ones being inconvenienced by the long wait. Other people find it a good opportunity to check messages, make phone calls or read.

Our entire lives could be spent waiting. We wait for an important phone call, a birthday party, sunny weather, a vacation, the release of a new book, the perfect job, the great house or the perfect spouse.

Don’t get stuck in the “waiting place.” Find ways to keep your life interesting, even when you are required to wait. Find ways to enjoy all parts of life. Use the extra waiting time to look at all of the good things that are happening in your life. Take advantage of these extra minutes and pull out a book or newspaper.

J.K. Rowling used the time waiting on the train to formulate her ideas for the Harry Potter series. Do something useful while you are waiting. Start a book. Get ideas for your characters by watching other people around you. Write a letter to a friend or family member.

Choose to do something or choose to clear your mind and do nothing.

Be in charge of your time.

Don’t think of it as having to wait. Think of it as choosing to live.

How are you spending your time? How are you living?

How well do you wait?

“Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.”

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (by Dr. Seuss)

Note:  previously published on Make Time for Chocolate