Waiting It Out

There’s always something to wait for, isn’t there? Wanting to meet someone and get married, saving to buy a house, trying to have a baby, waiting to hear about a job, trying to lose weight. Right now, I’m waiting for our marital home to sell so I can rent an apartment and move on, an especially frustrating time because it is taking much longer than we had originally hoped. (Also true of the making of Big Brother, an 18-month waiting game involving charts and Robitussin. Don’t ask.)

The hard part about waiting is to live fully and not, well, “wait” for everything to change. Here’s how I’ve learned how to keep going while waiting for a big change:

Focus on the “cans”
I try to think about what I can do, rather than what I can’t. No, I can’t apply for an apartment until my house sells, and cooking is complicated because I have to keep the house so squeaky-clean, and I don’t want to start a sewing project for the same reason. But I CAN work on things I may not have as much time for once I start moving:
-make some extra money writing trivia questions
-work on my Spanish
-update my blog (hi!)
-take my kids on free outings
-read more
-etc.

I’ve also been doing some unproductive things, too. Like binge-watching the BBC Sherlock now that I have control of the remote for the first time in my adult life. It’s like I didn’t know how to watch television by myself.

Stash money
Whatever change you’re waiting for, it will probably go better with some extra money, am I right? The delay in selling the house has let my paychecks accumulate a little before I need to put a deposit down on an apartment.

Prepare without obsessing
Poring over apartment listings would not be a good use of my time right now. There are a few little tasks I can get out of the way, though, like packing up my books and getting my finances in order.

(The not obsessing part is especially important when you’re trying to get pregnant.)

Get other tasks out of the way
So… I should really be making some headway on my divorce paperwork. So much paperwork. And it’s so bloody complicated. Also, technically we’re behind on it and might get forced into totally unnecessary mediation.

Don’t complain
There are things that suck about being stuck in an on-the-market house, especially with young kids. I haven’t always been successful in resisting the urge, but I’m trying really hard not to gripe about it. It won’t help and will just make me feel worse. I was deeply influenced by The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Complaint-free World, both of which make this point.

What it all amounts to is spending my energy on what I can do now to either enjoy my life right now, or improve my life to come. And no matter what you’re waiting for, there are undoubtedly lots and lots of things in those categories.

How do you handle waiting?

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About frugalparagon

I'm a part-time librarian and mom to two small boys. I blog about striving for the long-term goal of financial independence while running a tight ship at home.

9 responses to “Waiting It Out”

  1. Grandma FP says :

    Maintain your optimistic attitude. It really works well in the long term! Maybe a less squeaky clean house would look more “homey” to a prospective buyer.

  2. ChooseBetterLife says :

    Waiting really IS the hardest part. If I know the next step I need to take, then at least I can plan. But just waiting drives me bonkers.
    Best of luck with your house sale and moving.

  3. susan says :

    Good article on worthy topic! I finally realized that waiting time can be used in one’s favor or thrown away/wasted, so now I try to maximize it. I spin it as a bonus, a chance to get ahead in other important areas that will give me a general leg up when wait time is over. My ex wasn’t right about much, but he always said “you can do hard time or good time”.

  4. David says :

    I’m not sure if his blog is still up, but I really liked Brave New World’s piece “The Waiting Place”. You’ve got a good perspective already but might enjoy reading that if he hasn’t taken the site down.

  5. Leah says :

    re: work on your Spanish, do you have the duolingo app? Free and good for practicing. Same with books/tapes/CDs from the library.

    • frugalparagon says :

      I used Duolingo for a while, but I got bored :-). I have been reading Harry Potter in Spanish (from the library) and watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in Spanish. I used the advice in the book Fluent Forever to create my own e-flashcards using Anki.

      A lot of libraries have Mango and some even have Rosetta Stone to use for free.

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