There’s nothing that puts me in a bad mood like waiting.
It’s not an angry mood or a jittery mood, like you might expect. It’s despondent. Kind of sluggish. When I’m waiting for news about something, more than anything I just want to take a nap. I sleep 10-12 hours a day. I don’t like to leave the house, especially if it’s really nice outside.
Yes, waiting turns me into a vampire.
It’s doubly funny, because I consider myself to be a pretty patient person. I don’t mind lines or waiting for service. I like slow-cooking meals and long movies and really long books. I’m not in a hurry.
But it’s different with the big things you have to wait for: job applications and financial aid statuses and submissions. That kind of waiting makes me lethargic and more than a little grumpy. Not the entire duration of the wait, mind you, usually just the beginning and the end. After I send off an application or form, I’m excited for about half an hour. Then that creeping feeling of dread settles in. Oh god, it could be weeks before I hear back about that. Months, even. And it’s a few days before I’m back to getting up at a reasonable hour and doing more than listlessly staring at my computer.
(The end of a waiting period is worse, because it is often indefinite.)
It’s strange, though, because I’m generally not all that concerned with what the response will be. I have enough experience getting rejected and accepted for various things that I know not to take it personally. We all have our “I’m a hack and a loser” moments, but that’s not why I loathe waiting. For me, it’s the indecision of it. If I know I haven’t been accepted for something–great! I can move on to the next thing. Apply for another job, what have you. If I’m accepted, well even better. Awesome. Let’s celebrate.
Not knowing, of course, means I can’t do either. Which for me is hard. I like knowing what I’m about and what I’m going to do next. I like doing things. And I hate feeling like I can’t do anything.
Well, you’re going to say, that’s a pretty poor attitude for someone in your chosen profession. What are you going to do about that?
My general response is, actually, to move on to the next project. Try my damnedest to forget the last one because it’s really out of my hands. At the moment, I’m working really hard not to think about my graduate thesis. Those stories are out in the world, trying to find homes. And if they do, great. If not, it’s okay. In the meantime, I’m writing a novel and trying not to drive myself crazy.
It’s not so easy lately, mostly because I’m waiting to hear back about several things, not just stories but also job applications and school stuff. There’s only so much uncertainty this planning fiend can take.
How do you deal will the discomfort of waiting?