Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Want it ALL... Now! And I WANT you to READ this NOW!


I want it all and I want it now, or even yesterday, if that were possible. Who doesn’t love some of that instant gratification? In today’s world I feel patience is becoming harder and harder to obtain because we are accustomed to having everything done at our fingertips . Growing up I cannot recall the millions of times I heard this from my parents, leaders, and teachers. They constantly drilled in my head that you must be “patient” and “good things come to those who wait.”


Whether my goal is better health, serious weight reduction, managing eating, starting a consistent exercise routine, or plain old disease prevention, all of these goals require moving away from old habits. The toughest thing about changing old habits is that I lose the instant gratification the old habits provide.

Stupid chocolate chips whispering to me from the freezer…

The problem is I am impatient! I want it all and I want it all NOW. I want the chocolate And I want the smaller waist line. I want fresh yummy warm bread from the oven AND non-aching joints that come from avoiding my allergy trigger foods. ARG! I want to eat what I want and sit on my butt AND be fabulously thin. (Something I have NEVER been yet mourn as though I have lost some great treasure.)

In Church today I learned that the problem is that I “don’t idle well.” The speaker used the infallible wisdom of Dilbert. Who can argue with that?



But it’s true. I can’t really think of many people who can sit quietly with themselves and “be still.”

I need to learn how to be happy at “idle”… patient with affliction… patient with what is happening around me as I just “keep swimming.”

I need some patience with the process… adding this virtue to ever-expanding list of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits: It is a tremendous teacher of patience.

I'd taken this benefit of being patient – of “being still” for granted until this afternoon, when I read an NPR.org article titled Impatient Nation: I Can't Wait For You To Read This. The article spotlights our collective (and growing) need to have things right now, examines it’s how and whys, and ponders the implications.

I encourage you to read the entire article — even especially if you "don't have time" — but here's the takeaway, in a nutshell:

Bad news: "impatience can make people tense, fat and broke."

Good news: "impatience is a behavior, not a personality characteristic," meaning you can change it.

To do list for tomorrow: develop patience… NOW! LOL.

The best news for me, of course, is that as a Christian and as a parent, I am in the process of being trained to be patient. Constantly. (Patience has its roots in the Latin word meaning "to suffer" — a concept familiar to all parents… dieters… employees… employers… children waiting for a snow day.)

Think about it. Whether you're a newbie (like me friends suffering from lack of sleep with young ones), or empty nesters (like my friends suffering from lack of sleep due to worry over their grown children), or the seasoned parent of impatient teen (me… suffering from lack of sleep due to insomniac teens and their impatient attitudes) life can be, literally, an exercise in delayed gratification. Nothing teaches patience like parenting does.

Well… maybe this journey to better health is a CLOSE second.

The problem that so many of us run into when we are trying to make a change is that we neglect to really reflect on what purpose that old habit served and make sure it’s addressed in our plan for change. Let’s say snacking on chocolate chips helps me reduce boredom. If I just take away the chips and hope that my desire for a long life will motivate me to avoid the melting morsels of delight, I shouldn’t be surprised when instant gratification wins out and I end up eating them again… in handfuls.

My plan for avoiding the beckoning chips needs to provide instant gratification, i.e. quick boredom relief, not a promise of rewards some time far, far into the future. I need a plan.

I need something now!

I guess I could wait. After all, as Oscar the Grouch once said, "There'll be more trash tomorrow." I can be patient… for now.

1 comment:

  1. I dropped what I was doing to read this. Glad I did. :+)

    ReplyDelete