There I was, in Casablanca, Morocco, boarding a bus with dozens of other eager students headed to the Sahara Desert. In 6 hours, I would be riding a camel, camping with Berbers (the indigenous people of Morocco) and drinking mint tea. I was wrong…
See, I had booked this trip weeks prior and somehow, I read that it would take approximately 6 hours to get to the Sahara Desert from Casablanca. I was way off. It took us over 10 hours. We made several pit stops along the way that took longer than expected. As a New Yorker, I tend to be impatient and get frustrated when I have to wait too long for anything. In the beginning of the trip, every one of my impatient buttons (I definitely just made this phrase up on the fly!) were pushed until suddenly, I wasn’t frustrated anymore. We were driving through the Atlas Mountains when I was hit by a wave of calm. I was staring out the window, taken away by the beautiful landscape and intrigued by the simplicity of the cities we traveled through. I was taking it all in. My mentality shifted from “hurry up and let’s get there already” to “we will get there when we get there, no rush”. I would go as far as to say that I started to exercise patience because I became at peace with my current situation.
It was nightfall when we arrived at the Sahara Desert. As we rode our camels to our campsite, we could see shooting stars zipping across the sky; it was truly an amazing sight to see. I remember being grateful that the trip took longer than expected because there was no way I could’ve survived riding a camel in the blazing hot desert sun. At the campsite, we laid out on sand dunes and sipped mint tea while looking up at the stars. We joked about the series of events that we encountered to make it to the Sahara Desert and recognized that it was worth the wait. The next morning, we woke up early to see a beautiful sunrise over the sand dunes and watch a drum performance from the Berbers who hosted us. My impatience could’ve ruined the experience had I not embraced the journey and lived in the moment. You see, exercising patience is one of the most important life skills.
We must be patient with ourselves.
We must be patient with other people.
We must be patient for opportunity.
When we are learning something new, like riding a bike without training wheels, we can’t expect to become a pro overnight. Riding a bike takes time to perfect. We just have to be patient with the process.
We will encounter people who we don’t agree with. We will encounter people who we expect to do something for us and they don’t. We will have a pet peeve and people will do that very thing that irks us. We might find ourselves working with these people one day. We just have to be patient and understanding.
We might want to travel the world right now, but our circumstances won’t allow us to. I remember looking through my Geography books while in middle school dreaming and wishing that I was walking on the Great Wall of China. I didn’t get discouraged from not being able to go at that time. Instead, I was patient and while college in, I finally went. In Brandon’s blog "Help! I'm Too Young to Travel", he mentions that there are ways to travel without leaving your town. This can prepare you for when you are finally presented with the opportunity to travel. So, if your dream is to ice fish in Antarctica or ski the Swiss Alps, but you’re not in the position right now, keep dreaming big, be patient and enjoy the journey of getting there.
Students: test your patience by teaching a family member, friend or peer something new. Take time to reflect on when you were in their shoes. Remember how much time you spent practicing to get it just right. Understand that it might take them a while to get it right the first time, but be patient and don’t get frustrated.
Educators and Parents: think about how you can help your students and/or children be more patient with others.
Stay Educated. Stay Empowered. Stay WellTraveled.