Brilliant Waiting

This afternoon I drove to get my car washed.  I figured that it would take maybe 10 or 15 minutes tops to do the inside and out.  The attendant who greeted me offered me the Manager’s Special and said it will take AT LEAST HALF AN HOUR to get my car done.  NOW I DID NOT FIND THAT SPECIAL.  I mean I was already OVERWHELMED with everything on my TO-DO LIST, and let me tell you, waiting an extra FIFTEEN minutes WAS NOT ONE OF THE ITEMS ON MY LIST.

(By the way, the words in caps equal drama in my head.)

Do you ever have those days where you are overwhelmed and just feel that you don’t have an extra 15 minutes?

In that moment, I realized I had a BUSY DAY ahead of me and that I already felt WAY BEHIND and now to get my car the way I wanted it, I had to wait 30 MINUTES or more with NOTHING TO DO.  Let me define nothing to do: I didn’t have my calendar. I didn’t have my notebook.  I didn’t even have text messages to catch up on and it was in the middle of a workday so not even a good time to call people. I mean I had NOTHING TO DO!

 Have you ever been in this situation?  How did you handle it?

Well, THIS WAS A PREDICAMENT.  My first thought was, “How can I get out of this one?  Should I drive home quickly and get something to work on?”  No, that would take even more time.  Then I thought, “Oh, good, they have a gift shop, I can just buy a notebook and write.   SO I CAN AT LEAST BE DOING SOMETHING.”  But guess what?  Their gift shop was a NOTEBOOK-LESS GIFT SHOP.  And to make matters worse, there weren’t any other promising NOTEBOOK ABUNDANT stores close by.

How would you spend a half hour or more at the car wash with nothing to do?

I considered more options.  In the waiting area, there were free magazines to read or there were greeting cards I could peruse in the gift shop.  But neither option seemed to be PRODUCTIVE.

So, with nothing else to do, I took a seat on a bench out by where the cars come out when they are done and JUST SAT AND WAITED.  For the first five or ten minutes, simply waiting was kind of hard.

Then I began to really notice where I was.  Now I thought I already knew where I was.  I was at a car wash on Pacific Highway JUST WAITING.

But in another way, I realized that I had no idea where I was.  It had been a frustrating blur in my busy day.

Gradually I began to notice the blue sky and the fact that the Big Bay of San Diego was shimmering a block away.  There was a cruise ship dock down there.  Palm trees swayed in the wind close by.

And suddenly I noticed how glad I was to have the luxury of sitting and waiting with nothing to do.  I was literally in paradise. But until I sat down with nothing to do, I hadn’t noticed.

The place I was became beautiful because I sat and noticed it.  Was it beautiful before I sat and noticed it?  Sure it was, but I wasn’t aware of it.

My car wash experience has got me thinking.  Maybe success in life is as much about pausing to notice the wonder of where we are at right now, as it is taking the actions to be successful.

Maybe part of getting ahead is simply noticing how far ahead we are and pausing to appreciate it.

Game of the Day

How will you really notice where you are today?

How will you appreciate where you are today?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to


4 responses

  1. Hahaha – great post Jason – waiting brought wisdom – after the haHAhard part you tapped into your senses and let them bring you to the Meow. i bet the rest of your day was oh so productive after that and you had a clean car too – woohoo

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