Patience is the art of tolerating delay, implying self-control and forbearance, according to WikiAnswers. Patience is the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like, says Dictionary.com, which goes on to say patience is the ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay. It is quiet, steady perseverance. Patience, according to Katherine Baldwin (that's me), is the act of waiting, of doing nothing instead of doing something, of sitting with uncertainty, with uncomfortable feelings, instead of acting to get rid of them.
No wonder I struggle to be patient. Someone, I'm not sure who, said: "Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can. Seldom found in woman, never found in man." Patience is seldom found in this woman, that's for sure.
I have never been one to wait around. I'd classify myself more as a 'human doing' rather than a 'human being'. I'd also call myself an 'adrenalin junkie'. That term doesn't sound very self-accepting or self-loving but I can't think of a better one and I seem to fit the description according to this article, What is an adrenalin junkie? What can you do if you are one?, or this adrenalin self-test, which includes classic questions such as do you plan and pace your project or leave it to the last minute and cram?
Now, I'm a journalist and you'll find plenty of adrenalin junkies in my profession. And is it necessarily a bad thing to leave certain things till the last minute? I'm a perfectionist, so give me a day to do a piece of writing and I'll spend a whole day on it, switching the words, changing the grammar, rethinking, reworking. But give me two hours and I'll get the work to you in two hours (or maybe two hours ten minutes!) and it probably won't be any worse than if I'd taken a day - sometimes better.
But what's more interesting to me is the reason why I'm an adrenalin junkie. One reason is habit. If I started holding my fork in my left hand at an early age, it's going to be a tough habit to crack. Same with adrenalin - if I've been running high on it for 30-odd years, then that's what I'll be used to. The problem is I tend to create high-stress situations in my life to induce that feeling of adrenalin - it could be from something as simple as always leaving the house ten minutes later than planned to staying up late at night buying Web hosting packages on the Internet, which later turn out to be the wrong ones.
So now you see where this is coming from. Yes, last night, in the true style of an impatient, must-have-it-now, adrenalin junkie, I got on my computer (against my self-imposed boundaries) and started to try to work out what to turn this blog into. I have a good idea but instead of letting my idea evolve over a bit more time, I decided I immediately needed to buy a domain name, set up a site and get it all sorted, on the spot. But, of course, as you may remember from Twittergate in my Day Three post, technology, late nights and me are not a good mix. As with my disastrous attempts to change my Twitter name (I deleted two accounts and ended up with the pesky underscore in @Just_AsIAm40!), my attempts to set up a new site went a little awry as I didn't read the small print, or actually the large print. I ploughed on through, credit card at the ready. Now what I did isn't a major disaster but it creates complications. It creates stress. And, as with Twittergate, it kept my mind occupied until the early hours of this morning, thinking about the various connotations of my new site and hosting package.
So, once again, I created a little crisis for myself, a distraction. That's my pattern, I admit it, I own it, I accept it, and I will try to remember - next time - to do my best to change it.
But back to why I do it. Well, physically it seems my body has grown accustomed to high adrenalin levels so it doesn't know what to do without them and it seems to send messages to my brain along the lines of 'Go on - create a crisis' that my brain dutifully follows. However, there's also a deeper side to it (isn't there always?). Distractions take me away from myself and my feelings. They stop me from sitting still and getting in touch with what's really going on. And, over the past few days, there have been some pretty painful feelings I've been wanting to avoid.
Yes, I'll admit the baby angst hit me hard. I think all the blogging and talking about babies in the last weeks really got to me. In a blog post the other day, I said my instinct tells me I will have a baby of my own but I guess the realisation hit me that I may not. And that's painful, as I think many women who've wanted children and haven't had them will agree. Inevitably, I've been asking myself a lot of questions and there've been a lot of 'what ifs?' racing around my head. But, as I've written before, there isn't much I can do about it today - as a single 40-year-old woman - other than run out and get myself pregnant (which I don't want to do) or just feel the feelings, let them go and get on with what's in front of me.
Fortunately, I'm by no means alone in this situation. Not only do I have a number of old (in the sense of long-standing) friends who are going through the same thing but I've also connected with a few women on the Web who are in a similar boat. Jody Day, a businesswoman, coach, speaker and writer has just launched Gateway Women, an organisation that aims to support, inspire and empower childfree women - to enable them to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And Doctor Paula Moore set up The Happy Pregnancy Project, a website that offers support for women over 35 who are trying to conceive. I came across these women through a 30-day challenge I'm part of called Screw Work Let's Play, based on the best-selling book of the same name by John Williams. Of course, true to form, I signed up for the challenge - in which you become part of an online community of 150 people around the world who support each other's creative ideas - when I had a particularly heavy workload from my freelancing business so I've had very little time to dedicate to it, apart from late last night! But it's been good to get me thinking about what next for this blog and it's been great for networking with some like-minded souls.
Ok, so I know this post is turning into an epic but before I go, a few body image-related articles to take a look at. If you have time, check out this blog by Natasha Devon of Body Gossip on eating disorders and the media. I love her conclusion: "In the end, there is no substitute for self-belief" - well said! Also, in this Cosmopolitan interview with Adele, the singer says she doesn't worry too much about what she eats.
And finally, a note on handstands. To get myself out of my own head and to give myself a break from work at lunchtime, I strolled to the park a few minutes from my home/office. Looking at the large open spaces and the lush green grass, I had an urge to do a few handstands. So I did. And a cartwheel. Yes, my wrists hurt a little and my back ached a bit (I'm not the gymnast I used to be - 30 years ago) but it was a lot of fun. And everything looked different upside down. I may be 40 but I think I could still hold my own in a handstand competition. Many of you may not know what this next bit means and I haven't a clue where it comes from but .... Florietta anyone?