Do you clean, trim, and cut your vegetables all up before you begin making the Ratatouille? Do you read your instruction manual before you will even turn on your new digital camera? Do you do your homework before you read your book, clean out the fridge before you watch that DVD, get groceries before you sit down with a cup of tea and a cookie? Do you clean the living room before you play your banjo?
If you cannot identify with the examples I listed above, then I’m not talking to you. In fact, you can’t even understand what I’m talking about. And that probably includes anyone under 18 years of age. Delayed Gratification to them probably means having to wait another 2 weeks until their birthday.
If you can see yourself in my examples, then we share some personality characteristics. I can’t take a whole lot of credit for trying to get things done, be on time, be ready and prepared; they aren’t virtues, they’re really just more a part of what makes me feel good and be comfortable with what is going on with me. I like things to be tidy and uncluttered around me; I feel less distracted and more at ease. I become very disappointed in myself when things under my control don’t go just right.
These traits can serve a person well. One can become successful with a career, manage money prudently, keep on track with repairs around the house, save time by not running around at the last minute to pick up some essential groceries. A person can end up not being embarrassed over the state of the living room carpet when unexpected company comes by.
But often, and maybe even usually, the system breaks down. The groceries are in the clean fridge, the cat hair is off the couch, that medical issue was researched, dinner was ready on time, the clothes are ironed, the bills are paid, the special project—cleaning out the closet—is accomplished, and now it’s 10:00pm and I’m beat. The banjo is dusty, the new book is still unread, the sketchbook is still white and unmarked.
And tomorrow looks to be the same.
But it doesn’t have to be. I’ve always been a big proponent of periodically re-evaluating life and writing out what I want to see in mine, using a template of short, medium and long-range goals. (I’m a big fan of lists.) I’ve also spent a lot of time trying to persuade other people to enjoy life, to make time for the things they love doing; that’s what makes life worthwhile!
Now it’s become important for me to follow my own advice. Time is a precious element. It can’t be created, it can’t be destroyed; it just is, and there is only so much of it in existence in each person’s life. It’s time for me to let go of some things, change some things, add some things to my days and I’m looking forward to that.
I hope I'll be writing more, reading more, sketching more, and running more. I’ll be looking at my lists and my time and trying to do what makes life satisfying and worthwhile to me.
1987 Honor - A Fine White Dust
10 months ago