In so many ways, we inhabit a world of instant gratification. We have a question and we don’t even have to take the time to get a book and look it up, or even type it out for that matter. We just ask Alexa or Siri and, almost instantly, we have multiple answers to choose from. If we want something, we can just order it online and have it sent next day mail and it’s there on our doorstep waiting for us. Even if we don’t have the money to buy whatever it is that we just have to have, we don’t have to necessarily wait until we can actually afford it, we can just put it on a credit card and get it now.
In a lot of ways, this has helped our society move forward. We can share information and ideas so much faster and we can connect with each other in ways people couldn’t even fathom just a few generations ago. In other ways, it has often made delaying our gratification a daunting prospect at times. We just aren’t used to having to be patient and wait anymore and this tends to lead to frustration or even outright anger.
You see examples of this every day. Think about the person driving behind you, riding your bumper because you had the audacity to only go a couple miles an hour over the speed limit. They pull around you at the first chance they get and glare at you as they pass or offer the single finger salute. Unless of course, you are that person in the rear-view mirror, in which case, I urge you to read this thoroughly and carefully; if you can manage to make time for it that is.
More often than not, these things we’re in such a hurry to have or have done, don’t really need to happen as fast as we want them to. We wouldn’t be any worse off for having to wait a little longer, in fact, we might be better off sometimes. We might find that we pay more attention to what happens between now and then instead of focusing on just the end result. It’s the whole “life is about the journey, not the destination” concept.
While that idea certainly has a lot going for it, it’s not specifically what I want to discuss at length tonight. What I have in mind is talking more about how some things seem to be all the more rewarding as a direct result of having been forced to wait.
There are some things that just can’t be rushed, things like aging or rebuilding trust. Do you remember how it seemed to take forever to finally turn 16 so you could get your Driver’s license? There wasn’t a damn thing you could do to speed up that time frame but also think about how incredible it felt when you finally turned 16, passed the test, and had that license in your hand. It was a GREAT feeling wasn’t it? You were finally free to drive on your own legally!
The second example isn’t necessarily quite as exciting but it’s equally as valid as an example of things you just can’t rush. Say you betrayed someone’s trust in whatever way works for you to wrap your head around the idea. It could be lying, cheating on a significant other, hiding an addiction, anything you can relate to. When the truth came out, chances are that people close to you felt hurt and like they couldn’t trust you anymore. So you made changes, you promised it would never happen again and every day you worked your butt off to show people that you’d actually changed and are worthy of their trust again. You want to be trusted, you feel like your earning it through your actions and get frustrated that they still have some reluctance.
Trust, just like aging, simply doesn’t change overnight. Ok, well it can change overnight but usually that’s just when people stop trusting, it doesn’t generally work that way when re-gaining said trust. The only thing you can do is keep at it, keep being patient, keep working and letting your actions be that of someone worthy of trust. The end result will be stronger than ever because it has been broken down, and rebuilt from the ground up. It’s not easy and the only thing you can do is keep going and be patient.
On a lighter, happier note. Think back to before we had all this wonderful technology. Think about how people would stay in touch in times before text messaging, video chats, and phone calls. People would leave the house in the morning and have to wait all day to talk to their significant others again. It wasn’t a world of constant contact. Now that I think about it, I wonder if that might have anything to do with today’s higher rate of divorce.
In other cases, think about back when the only way some people had to stay in touch was via hand written letters. They could be thousands of miles away and not hear anything from each other for months on end. Just imagine that for a minute. You’re on one side of the country, and the person you love most in the world is on the opposite side of the country. You’re each working towards your goals and anxiously awaiting the time you can be together again.
You haven’t heard from each other for weeks and you come home to find a letter with their familiar print on the outside of the envelope. Just imagine how exciting that must have been. Think about how you’d sit there carefully reading each word, examining the lettering for any and all information about how they were feeling and how they were doing in your absence. Think about how much you would treasure that little piece of communication and re-read it over and over every time you missed them. Each letter would be a priceless treasure that meant the world to you!
Now imagine how you’d feel if you treated text messages from those you love the same way; if each and every little line or paragraph felt like a priceless treasure. Every day you might receive countless treasures. How would that make you feel? Would life’s little irritations bother you as much or would you feel like the wealthiest individual on the planet just overflowing with joy and happiness?
To quote one of my favorite actors and fictional characters “Not all treasure is silver and gold mate.” Things are just that; things. Things can be replaced, but our time and our connections to others we share this world with are the real priceless treasures and the best things in life are worth the wait. Don’t let the time you have pass being upset about having to wait, enjoy that time and let yourself be unbelievably happy when the wait is over!