I’ve always thought I wanted to be a Jane Austen-type lady, or what I call a Lady in Waiting. As they say, O The Good Life Gives Me Pleasure, and I was always resentful of homework when I would have preferred to be pursuing personal interests. (The fact that I know this song proves I was a choir brat — shout out to Dr. Spiro.)
Who wouldn’t want every day to be a sort of vacation? Dress well, eat well. Read and paint and stroll and seek out intellectual ventures all day! Travel for a few months at a time with my trusty Baedeker in hand? Yes, please!
Then it occurred to me — I would HATE all that waiting. I am an incredibly impatient person when I’m waiting for an outcome. Even with little, inconsequential tasks. I hate painting my nails and I hate doing laundry because there is no immediate result. I even used to hate online shopping because there was no instant gratification and I’m too cheap to pay for faster shipping. Wait 10 business days to get your new clothes? Where’s the fun in that?! (Obviously I got over that hurdle!)
For me, clarity and planning is instant gratification, but life is remaining mysterious and taking it’s time for the moment. So in the meantime I’ve come up with a few ways to distract myself and they all involve going analog.
When I’ve done all that I can do and the waiting has begun, I turn off all electronics and get back to basics. I find something that I can really focus on, like writing, cooking, reading, or doing a puzzle or a crossword. If I want music I put on a record. No constant email updates, no social media, no surfing the Web. Just make yourself a cocktail, sing loudly and earnestly to your favorite music, and get to work.
I’ve written about different forms of unplugging before on this blog and there is a common theme here. Being fully engaged in something can ease the mind of its constant, draining multi-tasking. The funny bit is, the things I do to give my brain a break are similar to what a Lady in Waiting would do to occupy her time. You have to do something to stop your mind from wandering while waiting for the metaphorical Mr. Darcy’s or the Edward Ferrars’ of the world.