Impatience. I've been really good at it in my life. I'll tell you, five children certainly killed a lot of it though. You just have to slow down to Kid Speed when you're trying to get ready to go somewhere or do anything...life becomes One Big Long Wait.
But even then, I still had that streak, that 'something' that made me want to hurry up and get things done, or have something happen. I used to plead with the universe to give me more patience, going way back to when I was in my late teens and early 20s with just one or two children. "Please give me patience!" rolled through my mind and off my tongue on a regular basis.
A few more kids and a career as a homeopath later, it occurred to me that the universe had answered my prayers by giving me "patients" - and lots of them... (Gotta love how literal it is - be careful what you wish for!)
I suppose somewhere along the way, I had also got the other kind, too, but I've still got a little kid trying to hide just below the surface (but she does it badly) and I get extremely impatient about exciting things happening, or when I wish something unpleasant would just hurry up and be finished.
I'm not so sure impatience is always a bad thing, although to hear most people talk about it, it is. Like everything, it has pros and cons. And frankly, so does patience. It's not always such a great thing and I don't know why it's "a virtue." I can think of a lot of things that are far more virtuous than that, but why didn't they rate getting their own "common expression" when they're far more deserving of it?
It's true, being patient feels a lot better than being impatient. There's something to be said for being quite content to just be where you are, doing what you're doing, not freaking out or anxious or eager or restless or fidgeting or jiggling or pacing about something you wish would hurry up and happen. That "about to climb out of your skin feeling is not pleasant.
And that "Oh, no, what have I done?" feeling sucks even worse when you've rushed into something you're gonna regret - like, for example, a bad tattoo or an even worse marriage. Heaven knows I dashed up the proverbial aisle so fast a time or two, I caused a draft. I've had baths that lasted longer than a couple of my engagements. And brushing my teeth has taken longer than a couple of my courtships, too.
At least my tattoos are all fab, even though I got a few of them pretty quickly. And unlike marriage (at least the ones I've had), they'll last forever and I'd happily get more. One day I might actually end up with as many tattoos as I've had marriages.
I remember wanting to buy a particular house which was absolutely adorable and had a lot going for it. I thought the asking price was reasonable and was happy to offer it. I SO loved that house, I wanted my estate agent to hurry up and make the offer right away! - but he insisted on going through every one of his painstakingly careful lists of comparisons and evaluations.
I kept pleading with him to just offer the asking price, feeling a terrible sense of urgency, afraid I'd lose this adorable little house.
"Relax!" he said. "It's been on the market for a while and no one's showed any interest."
So I fidgeted and sighed and paced and tried not to gnaw off my fingers for the next few hours as my insanely patient estate agent took his time coming up with what he thought was a reasonable offer based on comparable properties in the area, and one that quite frankly, I thought was embarrassing.
By the time he rang the seller's agent later that day, out of the blue two other offers had been made, both of which were higher than the one my agent wanted me to make - and both were below the asking price. Had I done what I thought was right, and as quickly as I wanted to do it, I'd have had the house. My impatience would have served me well. And listening to that little voice inside would have made all the difference.
And more often than not, with dates set and guests invited, I knew I shouldn't have been going through with most of my weddings. Speedy or not, when things felt really wrong, I should have listened to my guts and backed out.
But instead, I succumbed to pressure or ultimatums or worries about hurting someone. I figured I had cold feet, that it would all be okay, and I swore that no matter what, I would make it work.
My tattoos felt really right, and they're great and I love them. That adorable little house, and the price I wanted to offer felt really right, too. I was gutted when it didn't work out.
And when that little voice was screaming at me not to go through with all those weddings, I should have listened. My impatience may have made me say yes to That Burning Question or set a date that was five minutes away (although I'd like to say it was just my idealistic and very romantic nature). But impatience wasn't what made me ignore what I knew was the right thing to do.
As those weddings approached and I knew they were as wrong as wrong could be, I shouldn't have worried about how anyone else felt about it, or what they wanted, needed or expected from me.
My soap-opera life has taught me very many lessons, one of which is that impatience, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. Nor is patience always so virtuous. In fact, sometimes it causes more harm than good when you wait too long because of a fear, a worry, or a doubt about something, and you miss a miraculous moment or a fantastic opportunity.
If I've learned nothing else in the insanity that has been my life, it is to listen to my "gut". To follow my instincts.
Now, if I'm feeling impatient, I just make extra sure I check in with the little voice. I've discovered that my motivation for the impatience is what is significant and it makes all the difference between a bad decision and a good one.
And when I'm feeling patient to the point of reluctance, I check in about that, too, so I can work out if there's some fear or another issue holding me back.
The most important bit is to listen to that little voice because it is Pure Wisdom - your Highest Self - and it'll never steer you wrong.