Patience. The notion of patience has never sat well with me. If you ask me what my biggest character flaw is, I’d definitely say my impatience. Someone may dislike me for my “self-absorption”, but I just don’t see a problem with loving myself. Everyone knows I’m a big advocate for self-love as long as we don’t become condescending jerks.
Patience is something is deficient in my gene. Even in my high school days, I’ve shown no tolerance for people who didn’t move quick enough. Know how high school girls always stick to each other? They can’t even go to the bathroom alone? For most girls, leaving school alone is a big no-no because you must be so lame that you have no one to walk home with.
Not me though.
In my group of friends, one girl was particular slow in doing ANYTHING. Everyday after school, I just wanted go home immediately, so I could get my afternoon nap or do nothing, which was important! I would pretty much just sweep everything into my school bag and be ready to go (kinda like how Josh “packed” when he and Violet had to run away in an early chapter of my novel Florid Eyes: A Novel), but not my friend. She was the opposite of me. She dreaded the idea of getting her papers and books wrinkled. She could spend 10 mins putting things into her bag neatly and another 10 minutes to stack her things stored in her locker whereas my bag and locker were basically black holes.
My low tolerance for slow people forced me to ignore the social sigma and walked home by myself regularly. Not that I didn’t mind looking like a loser without friends, I cared, but I just didn’t care enough to waste my time on her.
My value for time (and poverty) also drove me to finish college faster than most people. I would have finished my 4-year degree in 3 years with three majors had I didn’t take on two internships. Instead, I finished in 3.5 years with two majors (astonishing GPA, can never waste a time to brag lol). Since I’ve graduated from college and entered the work force, I’ve realized I’m a much faster worker than 90% of the people out there. When I was a reporter, I was the fastest writer in the team. Instead of being able to go home after finishing my own work, my boss would often ask me to help my less efficient teammates. People were also amazed it took me only 6 months to finish my 80,000 debut novel, from planning to writing to editing to cover design to typesetting to printing, even though I thought it took me forever!
If you are an impatient person like me, what you hate most is to wait for something that may arrive anytime it pleases or never at all. Love is a notorious example.
It’s not just romantic love. I’m talking about things you feel passionate about, things you love in general.
My patience was put to the ultimate test at my rounds of PhD application. I used to consider the process torturous. When I first decided to apply to American schools, I had to study for more than a month to take my GRE, wait a month for the result to come out, email my formal professors for reference letters, wait for them to get those babies sent, submit my applications, wait for specific schools to update my files, wait for them to confirm the receipt of everything, then wait for 2-3 months to be ultimately rejected.
In my second round of applicant to Oceanian schools, I had to contact individual schools to see if I qualify to apply, wait for them to answer, some never did, spend a month drafting my proposal, wait a few weeks for them to find my potential supervisors, write to my former professors again for reference letter, wait for those babies to be sent (again), schedule for the IELTS test, wait two weeks to take it, wait two more weeks to get the result, wait for it to be sent from the exam centre to the schools, get my academic records notorized, email the schools 10 times a week to check whether they have got everything, submit my applications, wait 2-3 months for the results.
When I finally got my acceptance, I was too naive to assume the wait was over. I cannot believe almost four months after my first acceptance, I’m still waiting for my scholarship outcome!
The person who I was a year, or even 6 months ago, would have been driven to insanity. I would check my email 100 times a day wondering what this prolong wait meant. Not that I don’t wonder about it now. What I’ve realized from my failures/limited successes in life is that killing yourself over something you’ve no control over has zero, if not negative, value. If there is anything you can do to end the wait, do it. If not, surrender yourself to the universe.
I love vampirism as a literary theme because I think waiting a century (or centuries) to finally meet a soulmate is the most romantic thing on earth. Instant gratification is what we think would make us happy, but like the characters in my story, I think once we’ve experienced true love, we’d know it really is worth waiting for.
So this is what I tell myself everything at this time of uncertainty:
Make the best use of your time right now and be patient, when you do get what you want, you’ll treasure it 100 times more than anyone who got it by chance.