Zia Hassan

Watch And Wait

A sign in a Minneapolis parking garage simply says “watch and wait.”

The context of course is that people might be walking by, and we don’t want them to get hit by cars… so watch and wait, and then exit safely.

But I love taking signs like these out of context and thinking about how they might apply to other parts of life.

For instance, when I became a parent, a piece of advice I was given was: whatever new parent stuff you’re anxious about, you won’t be anxious about it in two weeks. But you’ll be anxious about something else. Watch and wait.

Or when I get really upset about a current life situation, my wife always says to me: this too shall pass. And it helps. Watch and wait.

I want to be clear: I don’t believe we should spend our lives just watching and waiting. There’s an unspoken third step: decide.

No, not to act, necessarily, just to decide.

Sometimes I decide to let go of whatever I am watching and waiting. It’s a simple but conscious decision and it provides finality to what could be an endless loop of anxiety.

Sometimes I decide to ponder more. Another simple decision that defers my thinking to a later time, when I can write out a solution.

And other times, I decide to act right away. This used to be my default, and in fact it was the only way I knew how to proceed. It didn’t always work out, understandably. Sometimes pondering or letting go would have been better choices.

But regardless of what decisions I make, the first two steps always remain the same: watch and wait.