not now.

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“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” -Leo Tolstoy

Most of us periodically take some time to stop and look around. We reflect on how we got to where we are, and with whom. We glance in the rearview to see how far we’ve come.

To say the past year wasn’t easy for me is a laughable understatement. I have learned more than I can put into words- both light and dark aspects of life, of love, of human nature- in such a short amount of time. Oh, year-ago me: if you only knew.

There’s one lesson that helped a lot as I struggled to put two feet solidly on the ground again, one in front of the other. As I got the hang of a new normal, of life as a full-time working mom. As I got better at not wincing when people casually asked about my boyfriend, as I got more graceful at laughing it off and encouraging them to send any eligible bachelors my way. As I continue to watch my daughter develop a personality and learn and grow and blossom.

The lesson that has helped most of all is this: ‘not now’ doesn’t mean ‘not ever.’

It came to me one chilly February morning, tossed out at a seminar with a lot of other really great advice. At a time when I so desperately needed to be reminded of the virtue of patience, of the truth that great things take time. Wine and cheese get better with age- why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t life?

There are plenty of things I don’t have the ability to do right now. They’re expensive or time-consuming or irresponsible. When you have someone else to consider, depending on you like no one ever has before, you start to think the opportunity to do the things you had wanted or dreamed has passed, that the doors are quickly closing on you.

And then you remember: ‘not now’ doesn’t mean ‘not ever.’

One day, you’ll go on that trip, you’ll buy that house with the wraparound porch you’ve always wanted. You’ll drive across the states and see the Grand Canyon and drink a beer in every state in the country, just like you always thought you would.

One day, you’ll fall in love again.

And then you realize: you get to do all of this with the most wonderful little human being you have ever had the pleasure of knowing. How much sweeter will it all be with them by your side?

You’ll get to do all the ‘not nows’ you want- maybe not now, but someday. You may hit a ‘not ever’ or two; but the truth is, everyone has some ‘not evers.’

A year ago I didn’t fully understand that my life was going to take on a lot of ‘not nows.’ I didn’t really comprehend the way my life would have to shift and brake to adjust to parenthood.

But I’ve come a long way, and when I start to get frustrated or feel like I’m missing out on certain experiences I remind myself: ‘not now’ doesn’t mean ‘not ever.’

The really good wine and cheese won’t be ready for another few years, anyway.

patience is (not) my virtue

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“And sure enough even waiting will end… if you can just wait long enough.” –William Faulkner

They say good things come to those who wait. Too bad I’ve never been a patient person. Exhibit A: I was born 5 weeks early. (Life sounded fun, okay?)

All my life I’ve heard it: Slow down, hang on. Wait a second. Let’s save that for tomorrow. Maybe next time.

Being stuck in traffic by myself makes me completely crazy. Long lines are torture. Slow walkers are my pet peeve. The world is big, there’s a lot to see, and technology has made instant gratification that much more accessible.

Long story short, patience has never been my virtue. The thing is, it’s going to have to become one of my virtues, and quickly.

My due date is in four days, and my daughter does not seem to share my sense of urgency. She’s still hanging out and kicking me in the lungs where I would’ve been wearing those onesies weeks ago. (She already has a nicer wardrobe than me, you would think she’d want to hurry up and wear it. People really like buying baby clothes, by the way.)

Every day she has yet to arrive is a new lesson- in patience, in humility, in love- and I’m assuming that will only continue, most likely for the rest of my life.

I can only hope that patience skips a generation and that I by some miracle acquire some more along the way.

I keep reminding myself to stop wishing the time away. To enjoy what’s right in front of me, every single second of every single day. I tell myself things happen when they’re meant to.

Tomorrow, someone else will be here and someone else might be gone. Tomorrow could be your big break or your rock bottom. Tomorrow could be a first or a last. All there really is, is today.

I should’ve learned this lesson by now, considering all of the goodbyes I’ve had to say and all of the unexpected bits of life that have fallen into my lap. It surprises me that I have to keep learning it, yet here we are. (Did I mention I’m also stubborn?)

“All we have is today” should be my new mantra. I can’t tell if that sounds morbid or hopeful. Maybe it’s a little of both, but I think it is, at the very least, true.

All I have is today, so here goes my attempt to slow down a tad, to be a little more patient and a little more appreciative of the quiet moments, and of the waiting game. There’s nothing wrong with excitement, anticipation, and spontaneity; but there’s a lot wrong with neglecting to enjoy right now.

As our friend Ferris taught us, life moves pretty fast (I never thought I’d be a mom at 23). I’ve got to stop and look around, because I don’t intend on missing anything.

I do believe that good things come to those who wait. Exhibit A: I’ve been waiting for this little lady, and she’s going to be extraordinary.