Let’s get gratified

Buenas Noches Travellers,

I’ve been thinking a lot about immediate gratification lately and my life choices. How many times have I chosen faster and easier hop skip and a jump rather than bearing down the longer road to something that would have been more. Do you know what I mean?

I think so many of us have fallen under that spell. The internal pull to have what you want RIGHT NOW seems to be very popular with humans, doesn’t it? It’s also very popular with my cat Charlie, who greets me each evening with a loud MEOW that I swear sounds like “NOW!” As in food. RIGHT NOW.

And it starts early, think kids demanding random items in Target from their parents, only they get to scream and kick about it. Obviously, as an adult that would not be a good look on anyone. Imagine for a moment if we all behaved that way as adults. It would certainly make political debates more interesting to watch.

I can’t help but wonder is it part of our nature to want it everything RIGHT NOW? Is it a learned behavior or is it this modern world where life is literally at our fingertips that is inadvertently or intentionally nurturing it?

I was talking to a friend last week and he mentioned he had tried therapy, but decided it was going to take too long. He went twice. And I think I said something like, it seems to take the amount of time it needs to take, just like every other endeavor in life that’s worth pursuing. However, in all honesty, I knew exactly what he meant…

We all know there are things in life that you really should take care of like eating better, working out, sleeping more, spending less money, figuring out your issues, working on your relationships, raising your kids with two legs or more, and the thing is all of those check marks require an indefinite amount of time without knowing that you will get what is it you think you want with any certainty. Those 30, 60, 90 day diets and exercise programs are actually just a start, but they truly misrepresent that journey. Almost all the journeys we want to travel will easily eclipse a year or two, at least…

I’ve been in therapy now for about a year and I’m unsure when we will be “done”.  Maybe six months or a year, who knows, but I realized this morning, somewhere along the way I got on that path that is leading to where I’m not sure and I’m mostly alright with it. I said mostly…I mean I have a general plan, but let’s be honest here, no one can say with certainty that even the best archer will hit every bullseye.

I find myself still at times though wanting to be in the place that I hope to reach, but NOW. Professionally arrived and personally fortified. Do you know what I mean? Yesterday in therapy, I mentioned that I feel like I’m rebuilding a life, but she said she thinks I’m actually building most of it for the first time. Because an intentional life is a lot different than the convenient one. It’s the difference between having the journey or NOW.

It’s the house that still really gets me. I think it’s natural when you end a relationship with a person you either want to abandon your shared space or radically alter it. It’s like you want to erase that person on some level because it will erase your pain. And that takes a lot of money when it’s an entire house, so I’ve just been doing small things. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to win the lottery and change it all, RIGHT NOW…but I’ve noticed an odd thing has been happening lately…

I’ve started to think about repurposing rooms, like the former Man Cave which I now call my Lady Loft. Now I’m wondering if that should be the master bedroom. I’m thinking about getting rid of the giant TV and having a smaller den in one of the bedrooms downstairs. I’ve thought about making my attached studio back into a garage and making the oversized garage the studio for future clients and myself.

The more I travel with myself down this road, it appears that my mind is opening to many options on all fronts that I never considered. And the need for it to be changed RIGHT NOW, is subsiding. I believed at the time of my divorce that this place was going to be my cocoon and maybe a couple years would be needed to fully emerge. I think that’s still the valid plan, it’s just a looser plan.

That’s a distinct benefit to not giving in to your immediate gratification urges, it’s called OPTIONS. Being open to not really knowing what’s next or allowing yourself the latitude to consider things you’ve never thought about before. And that space seems sweeter than any immediate gratification moment I’ve ever had…

I think the reason we feel such a flood of good feelings with immediate gratification situations is because we get that end of the journey feeling. We don’t have to wonder how will we make it, how long will it take, and will we even have enough time in this life to arrive at the desired destination. When we get it NOW, there’s no uncertainty and we think we are fulfilled but yet, are we?

If struggle is the meaning of life then immediate gratification is self defeating to a degree, isn’t it? And when that RIGHT NOW becomes a repeated or automatic behavior, I think deters us from doing the hard things. Why work harder, get really uncomfortable, look that person in the mirror and really change when you could just buy a great pair of shoes or whatever the man equivalent is to that and just have those little bursts of momentary satiation…..ok, that’s a rough comparison, but you get what I mean…just something to think about on a Thursday night.

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