Monday, February 7, 2011

Patience is a Virtue

As a child I loved books.  I started reading and couldn't stop, and even before I could read I loved being read to by others.  At the risk of sounding like a complete and total nerd, my mother told me, when I got older, that unlike most children, I slept with my books and not stuffed animals.  I don't remember this, but I've come to terms with this potentially embarrassing piece of information now.  In fact, I still love to read.  It is one of my favorite pastimes, and a huge stress reliever.  One of the first books that I remember having read to me was a big book at my parents' house called The Children's Book of Virtues. The Book of Virtues is a collection of fables, fairy tales, and short stories that each teach a specific lesson or has a moral that is easily identifiable for children.  I can remember sitting with my dad before bed and listening while he would read me a story, and we would talk about what I learned.  (Sidenote: Typing this, for some reason, makes this whole scenario sound super cheesy and storybook-esque on its own, but I promise that this really did happen in my childhood.  I had, and still have, awesome parents.)

Anyway, I couldn't tell you the names of any of those stories, or, for that matter, most of the morals that I was supposed to learn.  I can, however, tell you the one phrase that this childhood memory has engrained in my mind forever: Patience is a virtue.  I have always, and continue to be, a very impatient person.  I'm that person who taps their foot in the bank teller line and the checkout at Target; I hate traffic.  If I could teleport from place to place to make my arrival more immediate, I would.  I know what I want, and I have never been able to come to terms with the idea that I can't always have it when I want.  Keep in mind, that I am fully aware that the expectation for instant gratification is extremely childish.  I feel like a grownup in a lot of areas, but I'm a work in progress, too, I guess.  When I was a child, I was equally impatient.  I can remember my dad reciting that line over and over and over in various situations: Patience is a virtue.

Recently, I have had lots of opportunities at work to be more virtuous and patient, and it has brought this little mantra to mind.  At my day job, where I sell women's clothes, I work with a very wide variety of customers.  We have women come in who immediately give the "back off and don't sell me things" vibe.  They are perfectly capable of finding what they need, and that's fine with me.  I'm there if they need me and am happy to help.  However, we also have customers who come in and expect you to drop everything to pull every item that they might like, work with them for hours, and then buy nothing.  Patience is a virtue.  As a dance teacher, I get to exercise patience everyday, when girls would rather discuss their weekends and boyfriends and breakups than work on their dance technique or listen to anything I have to say.  Patience is a virtue.

I think the Rolling Stones said it best:  "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need."  And most of the time, I am pretty sure what you need might just be what you least expect.  So, as a new week starts, I'll continue to remind myself that patience really is a virtue.  Since I'm working on the constantly improving, grownup version of myself, it'll be good for me to be more virtuous.  I just can't wait 'til I finally get there....

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