(Part 2 of a series about what attributes I try to develop as a writer)
In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker crash lands on a swampy planet and proceeds to have a whine fest about how this crazy little alien is wasting his time.
Luke: Stop being annoying, little alien! I don't have time for this! I'm looking for a great warrior.
Little Alien: Ohhh, you're looking for Yoda.
Luke: You know him? Take me to him!
Of course, we all know the little alien is Yoda, and Luke just looks silly because he's all in a huff and whiny and impatient when his answer's right smack in front of him. And then when he finds out, he still hasn't learned his lesson.
Yoda: I can't teach him.
Luke: Teach me! Now! Ben, tell him! *wahhhhh*
Yoda: He has no patience, always looking to the future instead of what's right in front of him. Just like his father, he is.
Luke: Teach me! *wahhhh*
I like to make fun of Luke, but in reality I see a lot of myself in him when it comes to patience. There are things I want and I want them NOW and why in the world should I have to wait? Doesn't Yoda see how important I am? Duh.
I'm not proud of my tendency to impatience, and it's something I've been trying to mend since I started seriously writing. You know, five years ago.
Most of the time, I've failed miserably at it, if I'm being honest. Only recently do I feel like I've gotten any firm grip on patience, and it's really come down to one thing:
Living in the present.
I'm not saying you shouldn't have goals for the future or a general life direction; I'm just saying the only time you have true control over is now. This very second. Do the things you can do now to reach your goals and don't worry about the rest.
It will come, if you keep doing what you can now.
It's a hard thing to do, especially when so many of my goals are still in the future. Sometimes I wish I could just skip all these little steps and get there. I want a shortcut. Sometimes I think I'm ready when I'm not. Then I end up running off to fight Vader and losing my hand.
I'm a slow learner.
I want to be Future Me so badly! But then I realize being me now is the only way to get there. Putting in the work. Taking the Journey. You know, all that junk you hope doesn't apply to you but actually does.
But here's the kicker—when I have patience it actually makes the journey easier. When I focus on my daily tasks, find peace in the idea that it's not now but it will be someday, I'm a much happier person. I don't feel that nagging restlessness, that dissatisfaction that comes from wanting things you can't have. I just do my thing, and somehow it all works out.
Now if only I could be patient more often. I guess I still need more Jedi training...