Just like Tom Petty said….

“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part…”

–Tom Petty, “Waiting Is the Hardest Part”

After months of self-doubt, apprehension, extensive (some might call it compulsive) research and driving myself and everybody around me crazy, I recently put the wheels in motion for Something Big. It was the first step in a complicated process, and nothing else can move forward until this step is approved.

I was a nervous wreck as I filled out the online form, second-guessing myself at every field and double-triple-quadruple checking everything. My hand hovered over the “Submit” button for ten minutes before I finally clicked on it. When receipt of the form was quickly acknowledged, I felt the weight of the world fall off my shoulders. I was so happy Something Big was finally in motion that I celebrated with a wild and crazy victory dance.

Now all I had to do was–wait.

I would like to say that waiting doesn’t bother me, that I’m good at letting whatever I’m waiting for simmer on the back burner while I go merrily on with my life. Truth is, I suck at waiting, especially with something like this because (cue theme song from The X-Files)

WAITING = NOT IN CONTROL =

UNCERTAINTY

Yes, the Something Big people acknowledged receiving my form. Their email also said they would contact me if additional information was needed, and what to expect when my form was approved. Conspicuously absent from their email was any indication of a timeline, plus there’s no place to check the approval process on their website. This was guaranteed to set my OCD firing on all cylinders because, c’mon now, this is Something Big, and I have no idea what’s going on!

So for a few days I did my usual totally ineffective routine of repeatedly checking my email, reviewing my copy of the submitted form to be sure I hadn’t screwed anything up and prowling various message boards to see how long other people had to wait for their approvals. I fell into the old trap of thinking I had to put everything else in my life on hold until I got my answer, which brings new meaning to the word “counterproductive” because

  • all that compulsive checking brought me no closer to my perceived goal
  • things that I actually needed to do piled up
  • things I like to do were shoved aside
  • all worrying did was make things worse. (It usually does.)

I don’t know why insisted on making myself as miserable as is humanly possible before reaching for my trusty life skills toolbox, which has all kinds of neat suggestions for situations like this. To name just a few:

  • stepping AWAY from the computer. (That’s a biggie right there.)
  • making a list and actually doing some of those piled-up chores.
  • yoga.
  • watching a new-to-me TV series on Hulu. In this case, it’s “Harlots.” (Don’t judge.)
  • taking a nap.
  • touching base with people I love and talking about what’s going on with them.

Waiting is hard, no doubt about it. But worrying’s not the only option (even though it sure seems like it when I’m stuck in the Obsessional). Whatever the outcome of the crisis du jour, I won’t regret the positive things I chose to do while marking time.

Take care, everybody!

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