*Note: This audio essay first aired on KRCC (Colorado Springs’ NPR affiliate, 91.5 FM) on January 14, 2021. The link to the program is here; the audio file and the text from the essay are below.

Line waiting is for suckers. That’s the conventional wisdom these days.

We’ve got apps that can call up and summon 10 different kinds of food in 10 minutes or less without ever having to leave the comfort of our own couches.

From Disney World to domestic flights, anyone can pay just a small fee and all that waiting can go away.

So why did I choose to wait in an awful line at a furniture store for an hour in the sun this past summer?

Let’s be clear, I didn’t like it. I was full-on sweating under my face mask, under the scorching sun, and I’ll bet I could’ve hit 100 on a list of things I’d have rather been doing.

But the one urge I deliberately fought off was from my smartphone. It’s become all-too-easy to kill that boredom with a phone.

But boredom can be good, very, very good. Psychology Today magazine recently summed up a series of studies by pointing out that being bored can “increase creativity,” “motivate a search for novelty,” and catalyze the “pursuit of new goals.” And that’s just the beginning.

Waiting well and practiced patience is the ticket to do anything remarkable in life. Pikes Peak wasn’t built in a day. Real accomplishment takes years and decades.

Maybe use that stuck-in-line time to ask the big questions. How am I doing? Am I on the right track?

Or, if you’re me, when I was stuck sweaty in my own line, I started to write the episode you’re listening to right now, and that turned out pretty great for both of us.

Be good, be well, be patient with yourself even as you hustle every day. Until next week, no matter what, climb on.

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