I hope you all got lots of treats for Halloween. You deserve them. We all do. I am a big believer that every day is a special occasion not just holidays or our birthday. I never save the good china just for Christmas. We drink out of Reidel wine glasses in my office just for sparkling water. My family uses real napkins that are washed and ironed for our daily meals. It’s these little things that make me feel happy and nurtured.
And this gets me to thinking about the idea of instant gratification. There is so much talk about our “instant gratification society”. We have been hearing for a decade that no one is willing to work for things, they want it now. And believe me, I understand this concept so well. In fact I think my parents may have ingrained working a bit too hard in my mind. There is nothing that I REALLY want in life that I am not willing to work hard for and be patient. A hard worker is really who I am at the core. But I think sometimes work-a-holics like me need to take a lesson from some of those instant gratification lovers out there. We can be happy along the way if we allow some pleasure to come in. As they say “Happiness is not a destination, it’s a way of life” and “Don’t look for Happiness, Create it!” I don’t know about you but there are some things that give me instant gratification AND instant happiness. And I think I need a bit more of them in my life.
Sometimes it’s saying no that gives us instant gratification, right? Saying no to some people and some things that really aren’t moving us any closer to our goals or making us happy. Sometimes we’d be better off without them and making a change or removing that item from our list gives us instant relief. It’s like a one hundred pound weight has been lifted not by doing something but by NOT doing something. Like instant gratification, quitting isn’t always bad. Sometimes it’s the very thing that makes us happy. In her book Thrive, Arianna Huffington said one of the most important things she ever did was to finally admit a lot of the things on her bucket list she didn’t really want–learning to ski, to paint, to play the piano–and just crossing them off her list made all the difference. WOW, talk about instant gratification!
Other times it’s that we know what makes us feel good and happy but we don’t think we deserve it or we feel guilty buying it or doing it. A day off work just because, an afternoon at the spa, buying a new bag or pair of shoes, getting a sitter for our kids while we take a yoga class. Instant gratification with no guilt–now that’s real pleasure, isn’t it? And it can really give us a boost we need to be a better mom, wife, employee, boss. I think this is the good side of instant gratification that no one is talking about. One hour of self-care=instant gratification=more productivity for an entire week=happy!
It’s the simple things in life, right? We know this and it’s exactly what I’m talking about. A Bike ride on a Fall day–instant gratification!
Or listening to a Spring Rain with the Windows Open while you work from home instead of going into the busy office–instant gratification!
Or a night at home with family, cooking a big Southern meal, cuddling in your P.J’s and watching a movie instead of going to that swanky society event–instant gratification!
I think we should reconsider our opinion of Instant Gratification. It’s not all bad. It’s like everything else, isn’t it. It’s about balance. Everything in moderation including instant gratification. A healthy mix of hard work for those things that take time and instant pleasure from things that don’t is an ideal equation for a happy, healthy and prosperous life. And I for one think I could learn something from the great architectural and furniture designer Charles Eames who said “Take Your Pleasure Seriously”.
I don’t know about you but a cream leather Eames Lounge Chair, an Hermes Blanket and a monogrammed Goyard Bag could bring me a WHOLE lot of instant gratification.
So on this self-care Saturday, I hope you’ll rethink instant gratification a bit. It’s not all bad. And today I will be indulging in lots of instant gratification–a quiet walk on this first chilly, November day, a girls lunch and holiday shopping with my mom, sister-in-law, niece and daughter at the Junior Leagues’s Holiday Market, and then a fun-filled family night watching the Razorbacks take on #1 Missippi State in Football (Go Hogs!), eating Bar-B-Que and playing games with the kids.
What will you do for pleasure today? Whatever it is enjoy it with no guilt. Instant Gratification is A-ok!