When I told my boyfriend I was writing about impatience, he scoffed, before replying something along the lines of: “Well, you'll have a lot to say about that.” Shade aside, the man has a point. Over the course of our four year relationship, he’s had to deal with many a meltdown: frantic texts in the back of taxis - my Google Maps is showing me a route that is 10 minutes faster, what is he doing?!’, tearful calls when a meeting has run overtime, meaning I’m now rushing out the door trying to make a gym class in rush hour traffic and dramatic sighs when the supermarket run is taking longer than I’d expected. Oftentimes, I get so wound up and upset that I have to take a rescue remedy to try to lessen my on edge and anxiety-ridden state. I’m a dream to live with, really I am.
Impatience, though undoubtedly severe in my case, has been drilled into our generation with our every want and need literally at our fingertips. Have a craving for Thai? Not to worry, an Uber Eats driver can deliver a piping hot green curry to your door in less than half an hour. In the mood for some attention? Spend five minutes scrolling Tinder and you'll be drowning in it. What about that dress you saw on Instagram? Tap the credits, click through to the designer's website and order it on same day delivery. By 2pm, you could have a dinner date for that evening and a new dress to wear to it.
Though in many ways this instant gratification is freeing up our time, it’s coming at the cost of making us all less patient. We have videos in the form of vines that last six seconds because if they were any longer we would flick past, Twitter posts that are limited to 140 characters because we can’t be bothered to read any further and articles filled with GIFs because big blocks of text are now too daunting without them.
Our impatience has meant that we’re always multitasking and have a new determination to do a million things at once that generations before us didn’t feel. It limits our ability to anything from spending a day at home alone without simultaneously taking to our friends on various different apps, or cooking dinner without a podcast blasting and five online shopping tabs open. Our brains are always going at a million miles an hour, flicking from one thing to the next, which means we’re never really taking anything in at its full capacity. We’re skim reading life.
In bed the other night, I considered how couples 50 years ago would have spent their evenings prior to Foxtell, the internet and iPhones. Definitely not hunched over two separate screens, while another sits in the middle playing a Netflix show. Imagine how much conversation we’d have with our spouses? Or how many more books we’d get through? And that’s just in the evening hours before sleep.
Impatience affects far more than our taxi drivers, too. In part, it can be blamed for our inability to stick with relationships (40 to 50 per cent of married couples in the United States divorce and 30 per cent in Australia) with the new attitude that perhaps someone better is just a swipe away. Plus, research has suggested that our see now, buy now life attitude is a contributing factor to debt and bad relationships with money - it’s much harder to save for something invisible in the future, when there’s an array of things you could have today.
So is there any hope for a generation constantly rushing through life? Perhaps if we stop to smell the flowers we’d realise that all the small moments we’re trying to fast forward are really what makes our lives unique - after all, it’s not about the journey, not the destination (even if said journey may take a slow route).