It's a theme that pops up throughout literature, a rather unglamorous idea that nevertheless captures the human imagination throughout history because it is inescapable and true. It is a cave we've all been trapped in, an ocean we've each been forced to tread slowly through, and no matter how many times we climb up on the shore, we find ourselves back in that ocean all too soon.
Waiting gives form to my life like negative space defines a figure. I remember that very specific feeling in my chest, of attempting to relax while maintaining a level of alertness, coloring some of my earliest memories. Waiting is like riding in a bus or a train or a plane: basically like sitting on the couch, but permeated with, and thus transformed by, anticipation. In many ways, it's more tiring than movement, the way your feet hurt more standing still than walking.
It's hard to know when to wait and when to jump; sometimes I'm waiting so long I almost forgot I was waiting and then, ta da, it seems as if I stumbled into some grand opportunity by chance. Or else it's all I can think about and then it's gone, past me 100 miles back, a speck in the distance, the ghost of an alternate universe. And what do you do when the thing you've waited for has arrived? When you jump, that exhilarating airborne moment, and then land squarely, both feet firm, a beautiful marriage of place and time with your own recognition of an opportunity, and your own capacity to rise up to meet it.
This is what we envision to keep ourselves placated while we wait: the bright shining moment it all comes together. Or, if you're like me, you envision alternate routes, Plans B-E, steps you could take now or should take immediately after. When you miss the jump you need to walk it off, and it helps to know which way to walk. You imagine your own face maintaining composure. You imagine nodding, shaking hands firmly, holding your head up and getting that look in your eye like you still know something they don't. Make sure they see that look.
You know there's always another opportunity to catch.