When the ophthalmologist told me to quit it with the contacts for a bit, my first thought vividly transported me back to 10th grade chemistry lab, where Sister Adrienne cried “Oh, the vanity!” when I confessed that I was wearing lenses… So perhaps this is…. karma?
But (aside from a little leftover Catholic school guilt) what’s the big deal, you ask?
Well… as someone who has worn contact lenses just about every day for the past… mmm… 16 years or so… wearing glasses feels weird. And at times frustrating. And slightly damaging to my narrow-but-still-present streak of… (you caught me, Sister) vanity.
I know… 1st world problems.
But because I overdid it on the lenses, I have diligently been a genuine ‘4-eyes’ for the past month- plus. I blamed grad school (all those 2 am bleary-eyed bedtimes, and small-type textbooks), but really, it was poor management of self-care… i.e…. it was my own fault.
It’s not that I don’t like my glasses, but… they’re an obstacle. They make teaching yoga a little more challenging. I’m constantly wiping city dust off of them… and on to my clothes. And… I’m embarrassed to say- that on certain days, in certain outfits, in certain lighting… I feel as though I look like a dweeb in my glasses… Yes. A dweeb.
(And hoooooooly vanity streak...)
But MOSTLY, it’s just getting used to something different. It’s getting used to being dependent on an accessory object to see– all the time. Having to slide them back up my nose when the summer sweat gets the best of my face. Having to peek under the frames- Professor McGonagall-style- when I want to read on the subway. It’s an adjustment!
Why am I ranting at you about all this? (And thank you for indulging me).
Because in the midst of my inane and super petty dilemma, I’ve been thinking a lot about patience. The small, everyday kind.
At some point or another, everyone finds themselves in a less-than-ideal situation. And when that happens… well… we’re gonna rant a little. And then, hopefully, we’re gonna try to cultivate a little patience.
Is wearing my glasses for a month or two the end of the world? Nope! Is it even a blip that will show up for me on the radar of my life, big-picture? No.
But this is an obstacle in my way RIGHT NOW! And when it’s RIGHT NOW, that’s when it seems like a bigger deal than it actually is.
I’ve felt this way before- about everything from simple paper cuts and muscle injuries, to more acutely felt emotional trials.
I just wanted to get it over-with! Get back to life as usual- Cuz you don’t remember how awesome ‘life as usual’ is until something unfavorably UN-usual occurs.
But there is no instant gratification method when fixing these things. Most often, whatever it is that’s injured- be it your hamstring, your heart, or the surface of your eyeballs- what’s needed is time.
So… Take whatever it is as an invitation to slow down.
I caused an issue for my eyes because I didn’t take the time to care for them properly. When I’ve had a muscle injury, I’ve struggled to cease using the muscle as before. Most paper cuts I’ve had have been the result of being in some kind of serious rush…
If we keep going as is, and fail to slow down, we usually just end up causing more damage (that will take more time to heal… and cause more frustration… thus requiring…. more patience).
Live in the moment.
Letting whatever it is that’s annoying you be a teaching moment is hard. But I’ve learned that feeling frustrated can either lead me to strategize in a different way (to cope with the frustration), or it leads me to throw in the towel for a bit. And throwing in the towel usually means resting, and letting go for a minute or two.
Great things can come from briefly throwing in the towel.
Use it as a reminder.
When I’m rushing here, there, and everywhere, I’m missing the pauses where appreciation can grow. When I’m uncomfortable… there’s a pause. There’s always a pause. And (after the ranting) pausing makes me really appreciative, not only for what I still have -regardless of the discomfort- but of the times when I didn’t have the discomfort, and the times ahead when I will be comfortable again.
Patience is a virtue they say, but it doesn’t always look so gracefully virtuous when putting it into practice… at least not when I do it.
Patience is learning to be tolerant of the circumstances. Accepting the pause. Understanding ‘temporary’ as a physical state, and using those little ‘everyday’ aggravations that come up as practice for the truly trying times when a skilled patience can really come in handy.