What to do when you're stuck waiting

I see a lot of people waiting in my Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Waiting to get an agent.

Waiting to get pregnant.

Waiting for a holiday.

Waiting to stay pregnant.

Waiting for a book deal.

Waiting for pizza to be delivered (they're not all serious life things, guys.)

A lot happens in our lives every day, but usually even with all the things changing around us, we're all consistently waiting for something.

Waiting is something that touches all of us across cultural, religious, racial, and age boundaries. As much as it's agonizing:

I think it's a good thing to wait. If you ever find yourself not waiting for anything in your life, it means you've stopped looking forward.

That doesn't mean that you shouldn't be content with your life or happy with what you've got going on, by the way. I'm generally a happy person, and I've got a lot to be thankful for. A wonderful husband, lovely family, great job, living in a cool city, all those books to read, Netflix came to Australia, etc. Life is good.

But at the same time, I've got a lot to look forward to. My husband and I are looking to buy a house. I'm hoping that my first novel finds a home with a great publisher soon. I've sent some writing off to different contests and prizes in hopes of getting shorter pieces published. I want to get a puppy like the dickens.

So while I'm incredibly happy with who and where I am at the moment, there are still a lot of fun things in my future that I sort of wish would hurry on up and come already.

Yet if there's one thing I've learned as an incredibly world-wise 27-year-old (almost 28, okay?), it's that even if/when I do get all the things I hope for, new dreams will replace the old and I'll start waiting for those.

That's healthy, I think.

The waiting, the hoping, the dreaming. Those are part of being human, part of what gives us a reason to get out of bed.

Because would you really get up and do your work today if you knew without a doubt that nothing would ever change -- things would never be different? Even if you love your job, isn't there something about it or about your career or life that you're waiting on, hoping to see switch?

If you're like me and you've got a list of things you're hoping and waiting for, big or small, here are a few things I do when I'm stuck waiting:

1. Write or say aloud the things you have already that you love.

I did this the other day when I was having a particularly hard "I hate waiting" day. While I was getting ready for work, I started saying all the things I was grateful for. This might sound like a cheesy or obvious thing to do, depending on how you were raised, but for me it really works. It's hard to be anxious and crabby about the stuff you don't have when you've just listed all the great things you do have.

2. Scribble some bad poetry.

On the other hand, sometimes you just need to write crappy poems and share them with your friends, who you know are also waiting. I wrote this ode to waiting the other day:

You suck
Stop being a thing
Now is good

You're welcome.

3. Do whatever you can to make the dream come true faster.

Even if it means more waiting. For example, I really want to get my fiction out there for the world to read. But traditional publishing of a novel famously takes at least a year or two from the time you get the deal, so there are other things I can do in the meantime. Entering my short stories in literary journals and contests is something I used to do a lot, but then I got tired of rejection. However, my words won't ever get published if I don't submit them. So even though it means I'm adding even more waiting to my list as I wait to hear back from them, I've sent some stories off yet again.

4. Work on something else.

That doesn't mean forgetting about the thing you're waiting for, but choosing to focus your attention on a new thing can help ease the stress and pressure you're putting on that one dream. If you're trying to get a novel published, stop now and then to work on a new story or book. If you're trying to take a new step in your relationship with someone, don't forget to focus and enrich the part of the relationship you're already in.

Build on what you have while you wait for what you want.

I could go on and on, but these are my four best ideas for you right now. What about you? What do you do while you wait for your dreams?