2024 #OneWord: Patience

Over the past couple of years it’s been fun to see others find a word they want to embody and use as reminder or focus. Last year I officially joined the ranks using the word “savour“. In past years I’ve unofficially used words like delight.

I was generally pleased with how savour became a focus. Not perfectly but with a greater intent and it will remain something I remind myself to do on a regular basis. For 2024 I want to be more patient. I don’t think of myself as particularly impatient but I also think it’s a very contextual term. There are instances when I am patient. I know I’m much more patient as a grandfather than I ever was as a father. When it comes to travel, I’m very patient with travel delays and mishaps and I even pride myself at how much more calm and patient I am than most. As I work to savour more of my life, I can see how patience is often required. But I do know that I could be more patient in a number of areas.

I tend to take great joy in efficiency, particularly efficiency of time. My kids laugh at how much joy I get when I go through a string of green lights or when I fast forward through a program and remark at how “time we saved”. I like playing golf in under 4 hours and so on. I’m not sure it’s about stopping these practices entirely but you see how much I value these perceived time saving practices.

As a result of that it often creeps into areas where it shouldn’t. When it comes to work, I am very quick to respond to emails and messages. I get somewhat annoyed if others don’t respond as quickly as I think they should. However, in my earnest desire to be responsive, I think I often miss opportunities to be more clear and thoughtful with my responses. I need to be more patient. I need to sit with ideas and conversations more.

When it comes to seeing results in health choices, financial goals and even work goals, I tend to want results more quickly than is reasonable or necessary. Being persistent but patient is usually a good formula for success. Changing habits and actions rarely offer instant results. In this case discipline and patience make a great partnership.

As I mentioned, I like playing golf and I like playing fast. That said, there are occasions when it’s not in your control. Rather than getting frustrated, I need to have patience. I need to remember, I’m outside, with my friends, playing a game I love in beautiful surroundings, why do I want to rush that?

While I’m relatively patient with my grand kids, there are times when they are telling a story or playing at the playground and I’m tired or bored and want to move on. I need to remind myself they are at the most wonderful stage of life and it’s going to be gone soon. Why not enjoy those moments and let them linger, rattle on and just be kids.

Even when I’m grocery shopping, maybe don’t look for the shortest line. Maybe use the time in line, not to look at my phone but maybe look around and have a chat with someone. The extra 3 minutes I might save aren’t going to matter in the end.

Life moves faster than we want most of the time. Not that patience changes that but for me patience is about acceptance of things I can’t control as well as making better use of my time to be more thoughtful, caring and attentive. I’ll report back in 12 months.