I’ve been waiting for Donald Trump to go away for a long time. He used to be like an annoying gnat. I would see his picture on the front page of The Enquirer or on television and I could easily brush him away by not reading the paper and turning the TV off. I would hear him on Howard Stern and listen with mild interest for a few minutes and then turn the radio off. I remember watching a few episodes of The Apprentice during the first season but eventually I stopped. After a long stressful day at work, why would I want to spend more time watching people stab each other in the back and stress about deadlines?
Years ago, when Donald Trump started running for president but never made it past the primaries, I’d roll my eyes and figure it was all a publicity stunt. When he started in on Barrack Obama producing his birth certificate I decided that Donald Trump had finally gone off the deep end. Why would anyone take him seriously?
When he won the Republican nomination last summer I was actually kind of relieved. At last we would finally be rid of Donald Trump. He would be running against the political powerhouse that is Hillary Clinton, there’s no way he would win. I watched the drama of the 2016 election with a level of interest I had never had before. Donald Trump was so obviously a corrupted liar and his campaign promises were absurd. (A giant wall? Seriously?) If I could see this, surely the rest of America would. By November 9th we would be done with him forever. Unfortunately we all know what happened next.
Fast forward to April 2017 and I am still waiting for Donald Trump to go away. It will happen eventually. The question is when. As we see the Russian voting hack investigations heating up in the Senate, Congress and most importantly the FBI, he may go away sooner rather than later. If not, our next chance may be sometime after the 2018 election. If many of the “party before country” Republicans are voted out we may get a congress who is motivated to do the right thing and impeach. If not, we have to wait even longer and vote him out in the 2020 presidential election.
The thing I keep telling myself is he will go away. I just have to wait. Unfortunately it’s the waiting and uncertainty that is killing me.
Every day I obsessively check Twitter. I fall down the rabbit hole of writers like Louise Mensch and John Schindler who have been blogging about the “Trump Russia” scandal for months and Claude Taylor, a former White House staffer with inside sources. Every few days they’ll Tweet out some prediction and assure us we will see justice “soon.” The comments on these threads echo the same anticipation I feel. A lot of people say things like “I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas” which got me thinking.
I remember the anticipation of waiting for Christmas when I was a kid. Sometimes the wait for Christmas was joyful. Other times…not so much. By the time I hit age 8 or 9 I came to the realization that I didn’t always get what I wanted, so the wait was always filled with uncertainty. Christmas Eve was not a peaceful night for me. Instead I would instead lie awake the entire night feeling stressed and helpless.
Eventually I learned to plan ahead. Knowing I would be up all night anyway, I decided to make it productive. I armed myself with a flashlight, my favorite books, and a deck of cards so I could stay up all night reading and playing solitaire. Eventually my brothers, who were also lying awake in uncertainty, would join me and we would spend hours playing Old Maid, Go Fish and a few rounds of Shoots and Ladders.
Now that we are adults, my brothers often bring up those nights as one of their fondest Christmas memories. We rarely remember the gifts we got, but we do remember how we made waiting fun. In many ways, the waiting was better than Christmas morning itself.
Now I’m in an adult version of stressful waiting. I’m waiting for Donald Trump to go away and it’s a time of big uncertainty. I don’t know when it will happen and I don’t know what he will do to the country in the meantime. Things like this, things I cannot control stress me out. While this isn’t exactly the same as waiting for Christmas morning I can still do the same thing I did when I was 9. I can give myself things to do during the wait.
Instead of obsessively checking Twitter and blogs and news sites waiting for the next shoe to drop on the Russia investigation I should be concentrating on my work as a paralegal. As a legal professional, my job is all about holding people accountable. Since lack of accountability at the highest levels of our government and businesses is the core of what has us all pulling our hair out now, I’m happy to do what I can to promote accountability in my own world. It only takes a spark to start forest fire and it makes what I do during the wait, more important than what I’m waiting for.
Instead of wringing my hands about our dysfunctional congress, I can instead write letters telling them how I feel. Writing gets my fears out of my head and puts them on the page, it’s what I do to make the crazy go away. Sending those fears to someone who can actually do something about them makes what I do during the wait more important than what I’m waiting for.
Instead of stressing day in and day out about the potential destruction of our country, I can instead spend 20 minutes doing mindfulness meditation to help me stay in the moment. Staying in the moment helps me with so many things, not the least of which is being less stressed which makes me and others around me much happier. Staying calm and happy around other people makes what I do during the wait more important than what I’m waiting for.
I really, REALLY want Donald Trump to go away. I know it will happen eventually, I just don’t know when or how so all I can do is wait. What I do during the wait is way more important.
… and like Christmas with your siblings … you do not wait alone ….
Nice analogy and very comforting too!
Just saw this beautiful quote on my Twitter feed (sometimes it’s OK to check):
“Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible.”
For 25 years I worked as a public health nurse …. and the most recent 7 years was focused on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how those experiences change the physical, chemical make up of the brain …. and I often find myself speculating on his ACE score … which if nothing else is entertaining …. which allows me to entertain myself while I wait …. even as I stress!