In spite of the fact that I consider myself a laid-back, easy-going sort of person (in fact, I'm often overheard announcing "I'm a laid-back, easy-going sort of person" to perfect strangers on the T), I've started realizing that I handle adversity pretty poorly. I suspect that the only reason I've seemed laid-back to myself is that I haven't generally experienced much adversity.
It occurs to me that in the back of my mind I've been defining patience wrongly - as though the secret to contentment is to "turn off" one's desires as soon as they become even a little frustrated. As in, "Oh, I can't have an ice cream come now? Well, I guess I didn't really want ice cream that bad anyway." This works fine for silly, little things. It works terribly for big, horrible things. Or even moderately horrible things. As in, "Oh, I have to endure excruciating pain in my left kidney for four more hours? Well, I guess didn't want to have the slightest will to live for that period of time anyway."
What if patience isn't the dehumanizing and absurd elimination of one's desires, but the holding to one's desires in eager expectation of their fulfillment in spite of pain and suffering they cause in the here and now? ("Yeah, Chris, we already knew that. That's kind of the definition of patience," you are all probably thinking. Well, y'all are such jerks!)
Well, if that's what patience is, I think I'm mostly awful at it. But given the state of traffic around North Quincy at 7 am, can you blame me?