Sunday, August 16, 2009

Instant Gratification vs. Following Your Passions

Leslie made some great points about how we cannot always give into what we want or we will have a life full of instant gratification. She wrote: We as a culture are so used to having that key lime pie when we want it that we fail to realize we actually shouldn't have it. We don't always deserve the bike or the vacation. And the money we spend at the dinner (I don't get parking tickets) is something others can enjoy with us. She is right. If we always give in and have the keylime pie, we may end up poor and unhealthy. So there needs to be a balance. And yes, we shouldn't give into every spur-of-the-moment impulse-- we shouldn't *always* have dessert (okay, I always have dessert, so maybe this isn't the right words). But we shouldn't always buy or get everything we want immediately. So, I guess what I want to say or suggest is that sometimes we have the money or time to do what we want, but we whittle it away on other things that aren't as important to us. I think it's more about living intentionally, making choices that get you a life of what you want and not just things that you don't really want, but you just happened to pull them into your life because you weren't paying attention or living intentionally. Like this mountain bike I just bought, I waited 17 years to get a new mountain bike. I love to bike, I love to be on my bike, but buying a new bike seemed indulgent (they are expensive- well, at least to me), so I kept taking my $120 Costco bike up into the trails and not being happy about it, struggling on the hills, being annoyed with my bike chain falling off and yet, not doing anything about it (i.e. saving for a new bike, making choices in my life to get a new bike--basically living intentionally...) So for me, it was about a choice. I spent all summer making sure I was still using my bike a lot and still riding a lot, then when an extra bit of cash flowed in instead of sticking it all away in savings or allowing it to get eating up (literally, on expensive dinners, etc.), I used part of it to buy a new bike that I love. So when Leslie writes: So I guess what I suggest is that sometimes our desires are out of place with our needs and are the result of our culture of excess and instant gratification. Why not meet in the middle--set a goal: learning a particularly difficult song, for me; exercising consistently for a week before indulging in pie; matching funds spent on entertainment by putting it in a jar and saving for the bike? Instant gratification doesn't always make us stronger. I am trying to learn that, because it's sure easier to eat the pie. I completely agree. There are times not to act. There are times to say to yourself "We really can't afford a new snowmobile" (or whatever your whim may be). But if you are passionate about something and find it keeps returning, try to work towards that goal. When you know your inner voice is saying "Now is the time to move forward" and you trust that voice, and it's not the voice of ease, but you are living your life intentionally and something is calling to you, nagging at you, then I think it's time to say yes. And only each of us know our own circumstances and when to say yes. A $500 bike to me is a big decision, but in families with more cash flow, it isn't, but taking a 2 week vacation instead of only a one week trip might be the choice that they need to make and are having a hard time saying yes to less work.We each have choices to make to fine-tune our lives especially for us. Besides my family and pets, my passions are - writing, violin, and mountain biking. I try to say when I can. I try to be kind to myself in these areas. I sacrifice when it comes to - new clothes (I shop consignment shops), knick-knacks (I rarely buy anything like this), anything that involves electricity (give me the 30 year old blender off of eBay or the rotary phone from the rummage sale), let me use my cellphone until it completely dies or they its no longer workable because Verizon has told me its digitally behind. But let me splurge on books of poems, art, sheet music. We each know what's important to us. (Also, for the record, I didn't go out to dinner and a movie for $100, or get a parking ticket, or buy a bottle of wine, and my daughter doesn't take piano lessons-- I was just trying to come up with a scene where someone wants something important to them and has much of the money for it, but makes poor choices and doesn't get what they want...)

But that could have been me. I have wasted both time and money before and I'm imperfect and know I'll do it again. But I'm trying to say yes to the things in my life that I'm passionate about, the things that fill me up in the long run and don't just quickly satisfy. Like the candy bar purchased while in line at the grocery store--it's purchased because it's there and there's a hunger, but what's really needed is to wait for the drive home and a home-cooked meal.

But maybe you're diabetic and need sugar immediately. I guess the details are the things that only we know. We need to live our lives determining what is best for us and always follow what's best for us, not others.

Thanks Leslie for your good thoughts and continuing on this conversation. I am so glad you brought up instant gratification. You are right, I don't want to suggest we need that...


  1. Kelli I for one LOVED your post and felt changed by it. I live frugally and I wanted a $75 bottle of perfume I didn't need it but I wanted it for a long time and when I finally bought it I felt guilty even though I also felt girly and happy and frilly and bubbly. After I read your post I decided that I could let the guilt go and just run with the bubbly. I rarely buy anything but necessities for myself. This was a good purchase. And the perfume smells like dirt! Like the sun in a warm garden, like tomato vines and warmth.


  2. R--

    I'm glad you bought your perfume. I think women esp. sacrifice a lot and can feel guilty for buying something they really desire.

    In the Artist Way, they want you to take care of your artist self. For you, the perfume did it (you feel girly and bubbly). For me, the bike (I feel boyish and strong).

    I'm glad you got what I was trying to say. Life is short.

    After getting optic neuritis 2 years ago and losing my eye sight, I realized how much I was "saving for a later date," then it occurred to me I wasn't going to live forever. I don't think I had realized that.

    We need the pleasures in our lives. I'm glad you took care of yourself and your artist self by giving yourself something you really wanted. You deserve that.


  3. PS R-- I so appreciat eyou saying you felt changed by my post. That made my day.

  4. interestign post and you're right, we shouldn't give in to every whim we have, there needs to be a balance and if we live more frugally we appreciate the treats more when we get them...


Always love to hear from you...and the anonymous option is open for those feeling shy.

Related Posts with Thumbnails