Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fostering patience in the big city

(This is Mary.)

Since we have moved here, one personal attribute I have been developing is patience. Back in SLO, it was rare to have to wait in line. It was rare to physically run into someone on the street. It was rare to encounter multitudes of strangers with all sorts of personal habits that, shall we say, differ from your own.

Here, all of those things happen every day. Multiple times a day. Someone plays songs on their phone on the subway, without using headphone. Someone decides they want to take 5 minutes to purchase a candy bar with a gift certificate at the supermarket (that happened to me yesterday).

Rachel once told me that since she moved to NYC, she has become less patient. I can understand why that happens. It can be frustrating to deal with all of those daily annoyances, and patience can begin to erode.

For me, those types of situations--like tonight, when a guy wasn't watching where he was going and literally knocked my left shoulder so hard I thought I was in a football game--allow me the opportunity to practice patience (and yoga breathing).

Honestly, I would rather deny that stress gets to me, and that my patience needs work.

But instead, I keep telling myself there is a benefit to being able to remove myself emotionally from situations that can raise my blood pressure unnecessarily. At my age, I can't afford to add more stress to my life. I have become much more aware of how stress affects me, and I'm determined to work on being more patient and more understanding in order to combat it, at least in part.

I keep telling myself all of that ... and maybe one day, I'll actually accept the fact that stress is a reality that I must actively confront, and deal with, on a daily basis.

Personally, I prefer denial. Too bad I can only manage to stay there for about 30 seconds at a time.

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