To Wait

Mark Pol
3 min readJun 10, 2022
Waiting in line, for the next thing to happen ….

Waiting in line. Waiting in traffic. Waiting for the end of a: film, play or musical performance. Waiting at the doctor or waiting for the bus/train. Waiting at the supermarket.

How long do we wait in our lives? On average we wait half an hour a day. That is 365 x half an hour = 182 hours. Suppose we become 80 years old, then we have about 80 x 182 (hour / year) = 14560 hours, that comes to 607 days of sitting or waiting in our already short life.

Waiting is a psychological challenge for many people. Thinking about waiting makes waiting even longer. We want to move forward quickly. All those people who are bumbling, when it is finally their turn, and therefore make the waiting behind them wait even longer. This in turn gives rise to comments, insults and name-calling. In other cases, it even leads to fights.

Modern man is in a hurry. Rather yesterday than tomorrow. The more people who populate this planet, the longer we will have to wait for results. The technology created by Homo Sapiens (the ‘wise’ human being) is out of sync with demands made by the increasing complexity of our society.

The waiting person is no longer able to see through the underlying complexity. Waiting is often a resignation to the present situation. Waiting contributes to stress. Possibly softening the wait by entertaining. Waiting communicate by informing. Or show the way: conducting. In summary: called narrow casting.

The atmosphere in the queue relaxes and the people who have to handle the queue may be treated kindlier by the waiting person.

Yes, what is the psychology of waiting, looking at the following points:

1. Unoccupied time lasts much longer than occupied time

2. People are happier when they feel like the process has begun

3. Uncertain waiting times feel longer than known

4. Unexplained waiting times feel longer than more understandable

5. Unfair waiting times feel longer than fair waiting times

6. Fear makes waiting worse

7. Waiting alone feels longer than in a group

8. Waiting will feel easier, the more value the end product has

The common factor in all these cases is not the waiting itself, but how we feel about it. It is the experience that worries us, not time itself.

Waiting for something. Waiting for something that’s never going to happen. Waiting for ever is usually never.

Waiting for your happiness. Waiting for love. Waiting for the future, which is actually a continuous now.

Waiting for peace, which you know will never come. Waiting for honest politicians.

Wait….. well why wait if it is possible now, if it is possible tomorrow. After your retirement. After the end of your life?


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Mark Pol

I am an artist:painter. I paint and draw. Its a kind of figurative surrealism.