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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Shopping for Thruth: Patience: The lost virtue

Published: October 19, 2007
Section: Opinions

Let me just start off by stating that patience is a virtue, one which I definitely dont possess. Ill be upfront with you and say that I am possibly one of the most impatient people you will ever meet. I dont like to wait for anything. I hate waiting for people to return my emails or phone calls, I hate waiting in the long lines at Einstein Bagels, and I absolutely detest waitingmore like wasting my life awayin a long traffic jam! But somehow, I dont think that Im alone in my sentiments.

It seems like the American society has become one of instant gratification, rather than one which upholds patience and waiting for what you want. Its like when we were younger. Im sure you all remember having thrown, or watched someone else throw a fit over something they just had to have at the toy store, but that their parents refused to buy. So what do little kids do? They whine, they cry, they kick and scream. Now, as mature adults, Id like to be able to say that we have come far from our days of impatient childhood screaming fits, but this is not the case. Our fits may be more sophisticated, but there still resides that childhood impatience.

We want it- and we want it now! What is it, you ask? Does it really even matter? Whatever we want, we want right now. We want the latest technology, we want that coveted promotion, we want, we want, we want! Yet we cringe whenever confronted with the dreaded prospect of having to wait for whatever it is that we desire.

Take shopping for example. Instead of having to actually go to the store and wait in line for what we want to buy, lots of people these days seem to revert to online shopping. This is convenient and all;

its just amazing the ways these days our society promotes impatience mixed with instant gratification.

On Demand channels now offer anything your heart desiresall with the push of a button on your remote. Instead of waiting for that TV station to air our favorite show or movie, we can simply decide when and where we want to watch it. While this is a great option, it somehow takes away the element of surprise and pleasure that used to be associated with randomly stumbling across our favorite programming on TV. Somehow, we no longer need to be patient because we rule the networks. Forget about regularly scheduled programming, its now us TV. We decide whats on and when its on.

Weve all fallen victims to the epidemic of the short attention span due to this impatience. We have become skilled multitaskers, yet at the same time, not very talented ones. Nothing can really hold our attention too long these days because we are so impatient and used to going places, doing something;

anything but sitting around.

TV shows have become shorter and filled with commercials because we cant seem to pay attention for more than five minutes without some stupid ad accosting us from the screen.

Our impatience may in fact trace back to our increasing technological capabilities and the deluge of advertisements that we are bombarded with each day. With the latest software, our computers have become so fast and we can perform what once would have been laborious, tedious tasks in an even shorter amount of time than that clichd blink of an eye. Yet, instead of being amazed at how far weve come, we seem to quickly grow tired of what just days, or even hours ago, seemed so novel. Our faster than light computers arent fast enough;

they download too slowly. Ill admit it, sometimes Im so impatient when waiting for my computer to perform a task that I click the enter button at least five times! Were all so used to having everything at the tips of our fingers that fast just doesnt seem fast enough anymore. And advertising tells us we can have anything right now with just a call and a few payments ofyou fill in the blank.

Though its extremely difficult (trust me, I know!) I think our society needs to be a little bit more patient. Though itll kill me, I think I personally need to learn to wait just a little bit longer for what I want. Because sometimes, and I say this without meaning to sound completely clich, though I know I will, the things that are most important or fulfilling take both time and patience to achieve.