Joy in the Waiting Season
I’ve always dreaded the waiting season. To be fair, no one enjoys being put on hold. Waiting on the other end of the line, listening to the “elevator” music. The first few minutes are fine, but then the music never seems to end, always repeating. You can’t figure out anymore which part of the song ends, and which one begins. It’s infuriating, waiting without knowing how long it would take for the other end to pick up.
It’s like standing in line to go on a roller coaster ride. Everyone is anticipating their turn. You look at your phone to see how much time has passed, only to find out it has just been five minutes. The frustrated sighs, unruly whispers, and anxious conversations of the people around you make you wonder when you’ll get to the front. You hope for the possibility of calling your group and making you go to the head of the line. But again, possibilities and probabilities only come true in small doses.
But there is a simple joy in waiting for the ride. It’s in these idle times — when the laughter rises in conversing with your friends becomes meaningful. It’s in the empty minutes when imagination peaks and you begin to make stupid games while passing the time. It’s in these undermining moments when inside jokes are formed, and better friendships are forged. There is an intriguing thrill in overhearing the arguments of the strangers in front of you. There is a bittersweet smile in seeing the person on the ride holding the hands of their significant other.
Maybe, the waiting season isn’t as bad as it ought to be. In the midst of the idleness and the emptiness, there is the mundane happiness in approaching the rush hour; with the sounds of the barista making the drinks as you sit in the cafe, writing and tuning in on their mindless conversations. There is the sigh of contentment of smelling the coffee and the first sip of caffeine entering your bloodstream. There is a glimpse of euphoria waiting as you witness the butterflies silently stir your already upset stomach at the beautiful possibility of falling in love. There is the tiniest of smiles curling on my lips in hearing the suppressed laughter of my students as the librarian hushes them in silence. There is the suppressed laughter whenever a student makes an inappropriate joke, and you have to stifle the sound in your mouth. There are the bright eyes of the tutee in the afternoons whenever she learns something new. There is the dose of serotonin hearing the banging of bars and plates in the gyms with each personal best you hit. There is the unleaving grin when making small talk with the people in the gym, with similar goals as you. There is the peaceful stillness of the 20-minute walk to the local church. There are the hugs and how-are-yous with the people you have missed reconnecting with. There is the mundane laughter in the brunch dates and catch-up sessions two years after the pandemic. There is the rush of adrenaline in the weekend adventures of bouldering and exploring the mountains, reaching the depths of the ocean, and in overcoming obstacles my own body never dreamed of defeating.
I never knew the waiting season could be so enjoyable. In waiting for the rollercoaster ride of an adventure, I found peace in the waiting. In waiting for the phone to be picked up on the other side, I found joy in the time of rest. I found the balance of the hustle and the unwinding. And for the first time in a long time, I found myself enjoying the waiting season.