Patience is a Virtue…That I Do Not Have

I have a problem…and I think it is a fairly large personality defect that I need help working on…

I don’t do patience.  

I think I am actually wired this way, because ever since I can remember, I can recall asking for something over and over again to my parents, “How ’bout now?…How ’bout now?…How ’bout now?” And I can clearly recall a number of times where, as a child, my mom would explain to me that, “Just because you have an idea in your head, that doesn’t mean that you need to do it immediately.”

Actually…who am I kidding – the last time she said this to me was Thursday.


Flash-forward 30 years, when I was working a million hours a week, and searching for a new job and St. Jillian Super Nanny was watching Ellie regularly.  During this time, and the time leading up to it, Jillian witnessed my job search, along with a whole host of other life changing events, having a front row seat to the nuances of my responses and my reactions up close and personal (poor girl).  

Despite all of this, she and I have become good friends (again, poor girl).  And she actually has an amazing ability to point things out to me about myself that I really take to heart – without taking offense (read: if you need to tell me that something I am doing is really annoying, use Jillian as the messenger).  

In fact, on a number of occasions, when I have complained to her the someone didn’t think about a certain aspect of a plan or that someone was taking too long (or normal amount of time) to respond to an email or phone call of mine, she would gently say, “Well Cara…not everyone operates the same way that you do…” or…”Well…I have never heard you say something that you didn’t actually go forward and do so…sure…that sounds like a great idea!”

I know, I know, I know…I try…I try…and I try…and sometimes I can fake patience…but most of the time, actually being patient is painful for me.  Part of the issue is that somewhere along the way I figured out how to to use my lack of patience to my benefit, (Can anyone say control room producing for live TV?).

The thing is, patience is one of those relative things…so while I may have appeared to be one of the most patient people in the control room when I worked there, in the outside world where normalcy is preferred over chaos – I am super impatient.  

Granted, this temperament was totally reinforced by the instant gratification that came with the job. I’d say, “Hey guys…can you throw up the latest hurricane graphic?”  And it would appear (and had to) within 30 seconds.  My impatience was also conditioned in the most Pavlovian of ways – no graphic meant I’D get “WHERE IS THAT GRAPHIC?!?!” yelled into my headset.  So the less patient I was, the less yelling I got.  

But I’m just really making excuses for a being a big pain in the ass.  There is a huge difference between a live TV control room, the average outside world in New York City, and let’s say…the Ashram where Elizabeth Gilbert meditated in Eat, Pray, Love.

Now, my goal is not to be meditating for hours on end Zen…I just want to not act like a crazy person (in my own head) when someone takes more than an hour to respond to an email of mine, or the seamstress can’t meet with me to fix my dress until tomorrow afternoon instead of RIGHT NOW, or when it takes more than ten minutes for the mechanic to fix the power window in my car that is currently stuck in the down position.  

Since having my daughter, I have been very focused on becoming a better person, so that I can be a better Mom.  I feel like I have somewhat successfully worked on really important things like self-acceptance, loyalty, managing emotion, not losing my marbles when someone does something really, really not cool…ya know – the important stuff.  

But patience…man…that remains a huge area that needs major addressing…and the longer I am out of live TV, the more I realize my impatience is a problem, and that I was operating on a abnormal universe and any day now, I can stop operating in that universe for everyone’s sake – perhaps most importantly my own.

Because my irrational expectations on the time things take to get done is sort of…cray-cray, and I am totally aware that it has been taking the fun out of the journey of…anything…building a site, falling in love, training for a race, and anything else.  I constantly feel like I would be much happier if everything I needed/wanted done, was done yesterday – and although I think I am pretty good at hiding my impatience to the outside world (exception close friends and family), it’s the inside dialogue that is really what counts.  

So I am asking for your help, suggestions, insight, books on building patience…It is my Fall project for myself.  

In the meantime I will:

1. Not send an email and expect a response in 30 minutes.

2. Not set a deadline and then expect a response or resolution weeks in advance of said deadline.

3. Not lose my patience when Ellie says to me, “Mom, Mom, Mom…can we go to the playground now?  How ’bout now?…Okay…maybe now?”  Instead I will empathize with her and her desire to do everything she wants to do – now.