Jewish World Review June 10, 2004 / 22 Sivan, 5764

Felice Cohen

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Consumer Reports

Waiting game | Congratulations, Class of 2004! For each of the one million of you graduating from college this year, there will be 10 times as many people offering advice. Some of it you will heed, but most of it you will discard. So as not to be left out, here's my two cents.

Appreciate time.

There is more of it than you know and less of it than you think. Try not to wait until the right time to do something you really want. It will never be the right time, so it is up to you to carve it out for yourself. Time is precious. Unfortunately, much of it gets wasted, especially the time spent waiting. I recently stood in what seemed like a never-ending, neatly cordoned off, long line at the post office, when it dawned on me just how much time is wasted waiting.

During this "lost" time we could probably write a book, or at least read a lot of them. All that time we spend waiting for a bus, a train, to cross the street, to buy lunch, to see the dentist, in traffic, or for a movie to start, eats up our most precious commodity.

While standing in that line, surrounded by sighs and tapping toes, I thought about how lucky I was. I knew eventually the line would shorten and my turn would come. But what about so many others who must wait for things whose arrivals are not definite, like a heart transplant, a new cornea or even a loved one to return home from war?

My younger sister's first baby is due this week. The first eight-and-a-half months were an easy wait, but now we're getting restless. I called her for an update.

"You're not an aunt yet," she said. I imagined her caressing her swollen stomach.

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If it were me, I'd want the baby out already. But my sister is content to wait. I think she smartened up to the fact that the thing growing inside her that made her gain 40 pounds is not a hot air balloon, as we once thought when we were kids, but a very special gift that will enhance and forever change life as she knows it. She knows, that eventually, her turn will come.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine lay in a hospital bed. After a life spent putting off vacations and starting a family, she was suddenly forced to retire because she was diagnosed with cancer. Every day she had fought her own internal war on terrorism: her opponent unpredictable, unconscionable and humorless. And after two years of battling, the disease finally won.

Last week she stopped eating and stopped using the bathroom. The doctors even stopped trying. Her friends wanted to visit, but it was too much for her. "I don't have anything to say," she said. So she spent her last moments waiting, alone, knowing eventually her turn would come.

What will you wait for?

Comment on JWR contributor Felice Cohen's column by clicking here.


06/01/04: Sticks and stones
05/19/04: Psychic seekings: The gift
04/21/04: The latest job fad: China dolls for hire may be
04/16/04: Stories to be told
03/31/04: Shades of gray
03/23/04: Rejoice, ‘preppy’ is back
03/16/04: Taking a bad shot

© 2004, Felice Cohen