Good things come to those who wait

Picture it.

It’s 1998 and the world is spinning faster each day.

The Internet is teaching consumers to want things NOW.

People can ping a message across the globe in seconds. Businesses can take instantaneous digital payments. Pubgoers – more importantly – want their pint drawn in 10 seconds.

But your stout proudly takes 2 full minutes to pour and settle. Meanwhile, the parched punter stares on tenterhooks as the thick foam floats up and the ruby red liquid sinks down.

No-one wants to wait that long for a drink these days.

What do you do…?

Last week, the doctors found my donor

He’s 31 and he lives in the US.

It took us 4 months to find him – and I’ll need to wait another 6 weeks before the transplant.

When I was diagnosed, I wanted the fastest road out of illness.

The client I was working for at the time was feeling the squeeze of Covid. The pandemic was a barrier to the business plan – a spanner in the strategy – and I was working at a frenetic pace to solve problems quickly.

Similarly, aplastic anaemia didn’t feel like my real life. It was an obstacle to the life I really wanted to be living. And the faster it was resolved, the better.

“I’ve never known of a transplant patient returning to work within a year.”

I was lying on my side, sucking laughing gas through a mouthpiece. A nurse behind me was poking around in my pelvic bone, extracting some marrow, darkening my hopes of a quick recovery.

I inhaled deeply. The gas wasn’t working. I wasn’t laughing.

“12 months…?” I balked.

I envisioned all the things I wouldn’t be able to do during that time.

No trips to Mexico, no summer festivals… no plyometric workouts!

We eventually found out that my sister wasn’t a match and we began an unforeseeably prolonged search for a non-related donor.

From the get-go, the doctors insisted that prospective donors are volunteers and cannot be rushed.

Weeks and months slipped away – and all I could think about were the moments of my life I was losing to tests and transfusions and long consultations.

After speaking with a woman who’d gone from diagnosis to transplant in just 3 months, I emailed my nursing team, alluding that perhaps they were doing something wrong.

I felt like I was languishing in Dr. Seuss’ Waiting Place – banging on the wrong exit door.

How Guinness turned ‘waiting’ on its head

The challenge laid out before the Guinness marketing team had been to turn a negative (the time needed to pour a pint) into a positive (a reason to order the drink anyway).

The premise they came up with was a group of surfers waiting for their next set.

Swells appear at random – so surfers must calmly wait for their moment and then pick their path.

The prize for patience?

The perfect wave.

The perfect pint.

But I disagree that good things come to those who wait

Life is all about what you do with yourself in between your desire arising and the moment your dream does (or doesn’t) come true.

Good things come to those who embrace each step while the world unfolds around them, along whatever timeline it chooses.

Months of yearning have worn me down and the joys of unemployment have been alluring.

Lately, I’ve rested more patiently in the treatment waiting room of my mind. There are things to do here – and the limbo between desire and outcome is bearing fruits.

I’ve opened a window on a literary urge that’s been hunkered inside me for years.

I’ve sourced and ordered dozens of sachets and pouches of organic dehydrated vegan food that will sustain me during my hospital stay.

And I’ve built up my mental and physical resilience through daily qigong, yoga and supplements.

Look around you

Look at the kids you tried so many years for.

At the job you interviewed so many times for.

At the technique that took you so many attempts to perfect. The love that fell into your lap after years of elusion. The qualification you laboured day and night to attain. The home you moved into after the 37th viewing…

Were they worth the wait?

Now look at what you don’t have…

…and know that – just like for the thirsty Guinness drinker – the time will come.

Everything I have today has come to me in its own guise and in its own time.

Recovery will come too.

In the meantime, I choose to not wait. I choose to live.

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