The Flight.

It was a ‘hurry up and wait’ kind of day.

We had anticipated our trip to Costa Rica for months and had desperately wanted the day to come. Hurry up! But as the days grew closer, we all know what happens…time drags….on and on until we are counting down the hours and minutes and seconds. Our flight happened to be early in the morning, so we would need to leave for the airport in the middle of the night. We rushed all day to knock things off the to-do list, pack, clean the house, and get ready… Hurry up! Then the minutes started to slow down, and there was nothing left to do but wait.

The alarm goes off on Saturday morning, and we start rushing around. Hurry up! Pack the car, grab a coffee (or tea!), get the baby ready, warm (and hopefully back to sleep) and get on the road. Oh yes, and then more waiting. On the highway, finding the valet parking, getting a shuttle….wait, and try to wait patiently!

The minutes count faster as we race to the check-in, race through customs and race to the gate! Hurry up! ….and then, you guessed it, wait. The plane was loaded, everyone was ready and had been rushing to get to this moment…the take-off! Hurry up! Except for this time, there was just more waiting. Two hours of waiting, in fact, as they tried to decipher through a technical problem, find the best solution, and keep us happy and informed. Make a decision, we pleaded…hurry up!

As we walked off the plane, there was no more spring in our steps. There was no hurry up. We were defeated…and grounded. And so, instead of leaving the airport at 8 a.m., we were coming back to our seats at the gate, hours later, with no end to the waiting in sight. It was an afternoon of ‘hurry up and wait.’  We would rush to eat lunch, hopefully a quick return to the plane…and then wait. Our ears tuned in to every announcement, every word from the loudspeaker, ready to hurry up and get on board. More waiting.

This ‘hurry up and wait’ attitude reminds me of a trip I took to Peru. We were on a work trip in a small, poor community just outside of Lima. As Canadians, we were asked to set aside our ‘hurry up and wait’ mentality and embrace their culture, a beautiful culture of ‘wait…and enjoy the waiting!’ We witnessed this first-hand in every interaction, but a specific occasion always stands out to me from that trip. We had been invited to a Peruvian wedding during our stay – what a privilege! We were told that the wedding was at 6 p.m., so we would likely plan to arrive at 6:30, and things would get started at 8:00. Pardon me? We were all very confused, but tried earnestly to set aside our culture to embrace theirs. We arrived at 6:30 as planned….half an hour after the event was written to take place on their invitations. We waited as people trickled in…and tried to enjoy the waiting. Sometime after, the bride showed up…and proceeded to wait in someone’s car. Here it was, the main event, we thought! Hurry up! But…she waited. See, she was too ‘busy’ enjoying the company of a friend. She was in no hurry, even on her special day. She and her friend chatted in a vehicle for almost an hour, and then, like we had been told to expect, things slowly got started at 8:00.

This two-week trip to Peru was nearly 6 years ago, and I still think of that night often. Even as sometimes patient, often polite Canadians, we have far too readily embrace this ‘hurry up and wait’ mentality. Hurry, hurry, hurry through your day, rushing from one activity to the next. We grab breakfast on the go, do conference calls in the car (hands-free, of course), a working lunch, rush from one appointment to the next, maybe scheduling in coffee with a friend, quick supper, some scheduled time with the family, and then most often our nights are filled, too. Friends of ours, from South America, have said that one of the difficulties adjusting to Canadian life is always being ready to entertain….but no one ever just drops by! (At least not without scheduling it a week in advance.)

We have two young kids; we are a busy family. But I fear that a lot of our lives are done in the mentality or ‘hurry up and wait,’ and not ‘wait….and enjoy the waiting.’ We are doing our very best to enjoy each stage without asking life to ‘hurry up!’ to the next.

Could we all make a pact? A pact to, in our conversations, not ask each other when the next big thing is? When are you getting engaged? Getting married? Having kids? Buying that house? Stop asking each other to hurry up to that next stage of life. Let’s work together to just wait…and enjoy the waiting as we live each day.

Our 8 a.m. flight became a 6 p.m. flight…I hope I’ve done a good job enjoying the wait. Watch for my next post to hear about what happened that night and during our time in Costa Rica. I will share my tips and failures from traveling with a 5-month-old…


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