To live a fulfilling life, you must learn to wait; even if there is nothing to wait for, you must know how to look forward to a future you don’t yet see. But where can you learn this supreme virtue? No schools teach it, and no university offers a degree in waiting. You fall in love. All love teaches you to wait; all love demands patience. Lovers far away from one another know how to wait, to count the days without counting them, waiting for the date in the big red circle on an old calendar hung on the wall. They must wait for the train, the bus, the taxi, for the rain to stop, for the snow to clear. I will see you soon, they say, with months, if not years, between them. All will be okay then, they say, with nothing but hope surging through their veins.
What of lovers who are together? They must wait differently; they must wait for the work to end, for the day to be over, for the evening to arrive, and they must sit down and wait for the tea or coffee to brew. They must wait a minute more in bed, lying in each other’s arms with no thought, with nothing but quiet conversation about nothing and some kisses to spare, spread intermittently. And in this way, they learn to wait for the little slices of peace amidst a life that never stops. No instructor could come close to it; no lesson could replace what they learn.
And what of love that is unfulfilled? Even then, you wait. You must learn to wait, with your hands clutching a flavour of hope unbeknownst to most. And then, you must wait to forget when the hope does not come to pass. You must wait to become your own person, to learn who you are when you’re not the one waiting. You must wait for the seasons to change right before your eyes. You must learn to wait for the laughter to return; when it does, that is your graduation.
And what happens once you’ve learned to wait? Nothing. You keep living for tomorrow. That is the crux of life: to look forward, to know there will be another day. And if today is beautiful? To hope, to wait for tomorrow to be the same. And if today is terrible? To know, there is always tomorrow, and things may yet change.
To live was to wait for nothing; to love was to learn to wait patiently.