Tuesday, May 24, 2005


OK, I've been musing on something very important. I've only touched the edges of it, and I need to really think about it. I think more clearly when I write things down. BUT this is not a "fun" post, and it's not necessarily going to reflect nicely on me, so you might want to skip it.

There needs to be a balance in life between instant and delayed gratification.

Sort of Dharma v. Greg if you want to go with a television analogy.

Instant gratification is immediate. You will be instantly happy. But if you go from one immediately happy to another it tends to stay on the surface. You're happy but not content or fulfilled. Sort of an "is that all there is?" Because MOST of the truly big things people aspire for take a time commitment and a certain amount of delayed gratification. Say I want to lose 10, 20, 30 pounds. It's not going to happen overnight. If I consistently go for the instant gratification of the chocolate bar I won't be getting the long-term satisfaction of losing the weight and looking the way I want. If you want to go on a big vacation, you probably have to go for delayed gratification and save up the money by *not* buying the magazines, books, or DVD's etc. Because every time you do, you set back your timetable.

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND if all you do is delayed gratification, you are frequently fulfilled but not HAPPY. Sometimes you forget HOW to relax and actually enjoy that vacation, and you wonder -- was it really worth it? I suffered HOW much for THIS?

You need balance. And that, my friends, is hard. I have tended WAY too much for the delayed and made myself unhappy. I know many, MANY others who have strayed too much to the immediate and are unfulfilled.

The reason this has come up is that I have been working toward this author thing for YEARS. I've wanted it since I was four years old. I've worked for it -- sometimes having to put it aside when there were other responsibilities, sometimes having to do it at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning or not do it at all (Sleep? We don' need no stinkin' sleep! [Think that may have something to do with my current sleep disorder?]). So when it looks like something might be getting in the way and delaying me some more, or somebody gets all snarky and "well if YOU can do it, I certainly should be able to." (Yes, people have actually said that to me. Yes, more than one.) But they don't think THEY should have to wait or "DO THAT" hard work or sacrifice. I get HURT and I get ANGRY. (Insert she-hulk -- "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.") I feel like a little kid. "NO BUTTING IN LINE. IT's MY TURN!!!"
Childish, but very true.

I have classic "GREG." But I don't WANT to be the guy who worked his ass off until retirement and then was too unhealthy and worn out to take any of the trips or do any of the things he'd worked all his life to be financially able to do.

Life isn't fair. If they told you it is, they LIED. To quote a friend of mine "It's only slightly fairer than the alternative." But it's good. And it's MEANT to be good.

I want to SEE the fruits of my labor. I want to share the fruits of my labor. I want to actually figure out how to relax and have fun alternating with the work. I want to help people who truly want to make it help themselves.

But you can't MAKE people help themselves. You can't MAKE someone not want to sleep in more than to exercise and control their diabetes. It's their choice and their consequences. You're insulting their intelligence and tromping on their free will by trying to force your view on them. But DAMN it's hard to watch someone making a mistake KNOWING they're about to hurt themselves.

I've made mistakes. (We all do.) I've hurt myself and need to make some corrections. It sucks. Partly because I've hurt myself and that's never fun. Partly because my mistakes will be impacting other people (some negatively) which sucks even more. I can take action now to fix it, (delayed gratification) or I can just let it go and see if it all works out(much easier/instant gratification). Good or bad, it's my choice.


Anonymous said...

I hear ya, life is rough and unfair, but happiness is all in the mind, as someone very important in my life once told me "think positive and the brain will follow" meaning, be positive, act positive and etc. and you trick the brain into being positive. I try to live that way, but it's hard, as for happy things, I plan short term things and long term things and include a ton of people in my plans and don't expect much. Another great quote from that same person "you're never alone when you have a book."

David Tellez said...

OMG! Not even...the exact same things you have been talking about, I've been thinking. I want to take a year off a school, and work full time, saving enough money to travel the world by next summer. I want to go to Europe, China, Africa, all over...and I know it's really bad to take a year off of school, because then it's hard to go back. But thats what I want to do. And I think I should do it before life goes by too fast, and I find myself "stuck" with a family and career and bills. Of course, not everyone agrees with my decision (particularly my parents), but I'm glad to know, that there are some people out there who are big dreamers like me. Thanks.

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Immediate Gratification