Waiting in the Dark

A huge part of my life is spent gallivanting to and from the subway, waiting in its dark, underground corridors, and sitting on a swaying train for hours on end. It's easy to feel disheartened by such long commute times and the feeling that you're constantly waiting to arrive at a destination, or in transition from one place to another. The actually being somewhere, doing the work, singing the songs—this takes only minutes or a few hours of my day.

I begin to contemplate these enormous time gaps in my life—moments that seem lost in the black hole of ‘getting somewhere’, often in a rush. Not only is this a literal figure in my life and in so many other’s lives in the city, but it is a reflection of the mental state so many of us live in. We just can’t wait to get to the next thing, and the next thing, and the next. We think living begins the moment we arrive, and just before we leave. When we are in transition, we struggle, pushing to get out of the discomfort of 'not yet'. We think of the commute as a precious waste of time, and it very well could be… (There is always room to be efficient in our endeavors, as well)

So how does a person stay encouraged when the in-between moments in life seem to take up so much space? What to do when so much time is spent waiting in a room to sing, standing in line to get the appointment for the day, walking to and from, sitting in the train to get home and practice?

I can’t afford to live in dread and disappointment over the long hours of waiting. I can’t afford to even think of it as waiting. What if, instead, we think of it as preparation? As an opportunity? If you could seize those transitional moments, and make the most out of each walk, every commute, that thirty minute gap in between appointments - what would that look like for you, and how can you use spare time to help you reach your goals?

In that sense, for me, this means listening to music to look for more repertoire; reading to expand my knowledge or heaven forbid, to relax; catching up with a friend I haven’t seen for a while, brainstorming and writing on the train to and from auditions, memorizing scripts, filling in my planner, meditating.

When I think of waiting time as productive time, I can dream up a thousand things to accomplish. The point isn’t that life revolves around accomplishing tasks at all times, but that you have a choice in the matter, and that no time is wasted time.

I find meditation particularly profound here, because contentedness in periods of transition is the hallmark of longevity in any career or intention.

What if we live as fully in the off-moments, as in the active ones? What if we really start to pursue the art of life - in the middle of running around like a crazy person, dashing to the train, sitting on the floor in a hot room full of hundreds of people; Really live life; Rather than waiting in the dark, just—be in the dark.

WellnessLaura Beam