The Weight of Waiting

Failure to thrive is a diagnosis that refers to slow growth or insufficient growth in babies, but it could be tomatoes in your garden, it could be saplings on your Christmas Tree farm, it could be your marriage. Failure to thrive is not your “fault” but needs to be addressed if it’s happening on your watch. You don’t blame a baby for NOT growing at the rate that is healthy for it’s birth weight, and you don’t wait around and do nothing for its weight to improve, or your stunted tomato plants for that matter, you don’t kick at the soil, you don’t crush the sprouts with your boots, you try to identify what is going wrong, what is missing, what kind of nourishment is lacking, what can be improved upon…you don’t just watch and wait for the growth to be sparked by magic, you DO something. It is an active experience, the problem solving, you don’t just wait for something to happen, you make something happen.

I have made countless mistakes and missteps in my adult life, many more than some, fewer indeed than others, and one of them was waiting too long hoping something I wanted to happen might happen…the weight of waiting, for me, has proven to be too problematic, too many times. I am aware that I must have realistic expectations but I am often now a somewhat impatient person. I want results quicker than time and life allows…When a relationship is suffering; be it a marriage, a friendship, the neighbors with whom you are not at all neighborly…you don’t just wait it out, hoping for things to get better do you?? should you?? The weight of that kind of waiting is often unbearable. To me it would be sort of like watching a baby, or a tomato plant, shrivel up and wilt while you sit and wonder what maybe you could be doing differently, or if you ought to be doing anything at all. You could ponder the problems all you want but if you don’t take action, or make an actual effort, I am pretty sure that the results are not going to be what you had hoped or anticipated. Whether it’s your boss, a friend, a neighbor, a romance, an obnoxious teen, your tomatoes…ANY of those relationships can be improved upon if you ACT upon them, and it’s rather likely that none of them will simply get better if you simply wait for them to do so…waiting it out has it’s limits…it’s too heavy…

A new romantic relationship is not much different than a new baby or seedlings…it comes into your life and is all shiny and fresh to you and you have to figure out how you ARE TOGETHER. To GET each other. It does not matter if it’s the 9 pound one ounce perfect pink bundle I brought home from the hospital on a bitter cold January morning in the 80’s, or if it is the tan drummer with the perfect straight smile I met on a hot summer July night nearly a decade ago…there is action that is needed, there are things to be done, to get to know each other, to make a new relationship grow and thrive. I like to think of it this way; that I am an active participant in my life, I am an active participant in my future, my past actions are my history, HERstory, and my past actions are where I learned because I made many mistakes, and later understood where I could have done better…with my baby, with my boyfriend, and actually also with my tomato plants…To live and learn is no joke.

When things have gone wrong in my life I don’t get mad at myself right away, or beat myself up for screwing up, I first identify the problem…projectile vomiting infant in the summer of 1986, angry and sad drummer boyfriend in the summer of 2021, worm infested and wilting tomatoes in just about every summer in between…things have gone VERY wrong in my life VERY many times. I have learned something about my baby, my boyfriend, my tomatoes, at every turn. The weight of waiting, each and every time, was too much for me…I am not so privileged to expect immediate gratification, immediate results, immediate change, and I am not so naive to think that things will improve with no effort on my part. I have had to DO things to MAKE things happen…it is the only way. It is the only way that I myself can thrive.

A number of times in my past I waited too long to do what I knew I needed to do, in my gut I knew that I had to act, and I didn’t. I have learned that being a passive observer of my life does not work for me. Many times I was hopeful that some sort of magic was going to happen, and when changes did not materialize, when there was a failure to thrive, I learned from those less than magical experiences. The weight of the waiting is too heavy for me now, this I have learned as I myself have grown. Maybe you are stronger than I, maybe you have a tougher will than I do, but I can only know myself and my herstory, and, as always, I feel grateful when I think I learned from all of it. When I feel I must act, now that I am past middle age and there is less time to wait, I act.

If you are suffering or struggling right now, know you are not alone, you are never alone…WE ALL have suffered or struggled in some way, at some time, and we all have experienced a failure to thrive scenario at one time or another…anybody who purports that no, no they get it right every time, well, they are full of themselves and self aggrandizing, and probably are not worth your time because they are likely lying to you and nobody needs a liar. If you are feeling the heaviness of wanting something to change, know that many of us get it, we know, we have felt that same way…the urgency, the rush, the knowing that something needs to be done…so like the commercial used to say, just do it. What you feel in your gut should be done, is probably the exact right thing. Action words, verbs, doing…this is the answer. The weight of waiting is too much for most of us, and those of us who have contentment now, because we suffered in the past, AND LEARNED THOSE LESSONS, know this better than anyone…actions are what got us to where we are…we finally understood that we didn’t have time to wait…

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