Falling victim to instant gratification

Instant gratification. That’s what we want. It’s the concept we’ve grown accustomed to with technology’s rapid growth. We place an order and expect said order to be fulfilled in a few minutes (fast food) to a few days (Amazon Prime). Patience is becoming a scarce virtue in our society. We’ve forgotten what it’s like to wait or have free time. We expect our days to be stocked with distractions, deadlines, and multi-tasking, especially during our workweek. We want to be busy. Without busyness, we’re left twiddling our thumbs and losing a staring contest with the clock on our computer screen.

fast-paced

I’ve fallen victim to instant gratification. For the past few years, I’ve lived life in fast forward: pushing myself to learn new things, put in 100% on assignments and continuously search for the next step. First, my focus was getting through the drudgery of high school, and then I quickly transitioned to a junior college and kicked butt in academics. After that, it was about choosing where to spend two years knocking out my BA. After that, it was all about job hunting and finding the first professional stepping stone.

In the midst of all that, relationships ended, new relationships started, milestones were celebrated and tragedy struck. There were so many times I felt happy and many times I felt like giving up. The truth is, when we’re busy living in the fast lane, are we allowing ourselves time to enjoy our lives or are we too focused on the next project or deadline?

“When you delay instant gratification, you’ll experience long-term satisfaction.”

This week I started my first big-girl job. The first week of any job is always the same: getting used to your surroundings, meeting your co-workers, and realizing you have no idea what you’re doing. My first few days were boring as heck… no deadlines, projects or meetings. It’s been a lot of thumb-twiddling, ear-bud popping and website reading. During the first couple days I felt frustrated. Each day felt longer than the last, and I kept glancing at the time. I knew the root of my frustration: instant gratification.

I realized that even though we live in a society that prides itself on quick service, on-time delivery and fast-paced living – that doesn’t mean we need to become agitated when life switches to the slow lane. Things are bound to pick up at work. After all, I am still the “new girl.” Soon I will be swimming in projects and the clock will read 5 p.m. before I know it.