We have come to expect so many things to come quickly, almost instantly, so delayed gratification doesn’t sound very appealing. Yet, some things are worth waiting for. Like when my mom makes a crushed pineapple bread pudding, it’s worth the wait. Sure I could go to the local grocery store and purchase something engrossed in plastic and start eating it as soon as I get in the house, but it couldn’t hold a candle to my mother’s homemade dessert.
There’s something to be said for those things that take time to earn, to win, to create, or experience – things like earning a college degree, planning your wedding, earning the respect of your colleagues for your accomplishments, completing your first novel, having a baby, buying your first house or renting your first apartment. There are so many more things in life that require time to accomplish and appreciate. Not to mention becoming the best you, you can be. It takes time to discover who you want to be.
The reasons for delayed gratification vary, but they become important milestones – milestones that define the seasons of our lives. Whether we want to admit it or not, there are some things we just wouldn’t be able to handle if they arrived instantly. If we are in our season of immaturity, we may not be able to sustain or maintain the goal, accomplishment, or achievement intellectually or financially. If things come too quickly or without any effort, we may not be in a season to appreciate its value. After all, if it’s really worth a lot, why did it come so easily we may think, and of course the answer to that question comes after we loose it.
Those of us who have reached a certain level of maturity need to explain to the younger crowd the advantages of delayed gratification. Some of them are under great stress because they are trying to accomplish in a year or two what took their parents 10, 15, 20 years to accomplish. In this age of technology it may not take that long, but milestones still take time. Stability takes time. Quality takes time. Longevity takes time. These are the advantages of delayed gratification. My grandmother used to say, “Anything worth having should be worth keeping!” That takes us right back to maintaining and sustaining, and don’t we want to maintain good relationships, great occupations, excellent reputations, lasting legacies. I certainly do!
Delayed gratification gives me something to look forward such as: date night, my next book, fellowship with friends and family. It gives me purpose, the drive to go for the goal. It’s how I set my priorities for my work schedule, my personal investments, and bucket filling (refer to previous blogs). It’s how I plan for both short term and long term goals like writing, traveling, and self-care. It’s an accepted way of life, because even those things that seem instant really aren’t. (Just asked all those designers who make Google work for us!)
Well, I have to leave this thought with you because I’m about to leave for a date that I’ve been waiting for all week. The delay for that is over! What’s on your delayed gratification list? What was or is the advantage of waiting? Come share, we’re waiting!