I’ve been thinking a lot lately about long-term rewards versus instant gratification. Whether it’s choosing the healthier option for my meal, going for a run instead of binge-watching The Golden Girls (SO tempting!) or increasing my retirement contribution when I really want a new (fill in the blank), making the choice to do the “right thing” can be difficult — and not very fun.
And, for someone for whom patience does not come easily — or, sometimes, at all — delaying gratification can be a struggle. I think this mindset is why I originally became a journalist. It was rewarding to see, within a day or two, the fruits of my labor being available to thousands via an article published in the newspaper. And, it had nothing to do with my ego (okay, maybe a tiny bit), but was more about doing the work, seeing the results published (and, receiving feedback) and then being able to move on to the next thing. Admittedly, I also enjoy the feeling of sending something I wrote out into the world, whether it be received well or poorly, but that’s a whole other topic.
I don’t know if it’s my getting older and starting to accept that what I do now will affect my future self and I want to have a healthy and comfortable second-half of my life, or if I’m just simply just getting old and boring. But, I’ve definitely seen a shift as of late in how I’m choosing to spend my time and focusing on what the result will be, even if the ultimate goal is weeks, months or years down the road.
I would be remiss if I also didn’t consider my renewed focus on mindfuless and living each moment in the present and the role this is playing. As I’m attempting to slow down and be there in each moment, it’s been easier to make choices that support what I want really in life — not just right now. And, no, this doesn’t mean I’m going to be someone who never has any fun because I’m always planning for the future — à la the ant in The Ant and the Grasshopper — but I am trying to employ a better balance.
Another area where I’m seeing a related shift is in dating. I’ve gone on a number of first dates in the last few weeks and have found myself periodically dismissing a date’s trait I may not be on board with or something he says that may not be in line with my values. However, instead of making excuses or somehow justifying what he does or says, I’ve been able to identify the comment or action as something that isn’t within my dating intentions and end the interaction. This is not to say I will turn away every guy who does not fit perfectly within my ideals, but I won’t give on important areas or disregard those traits and values I’m seeking in a partner.
As in so many areas of life, balance is key when it comes to long-term goals and planning. I’m taking appropriate cues from the ant and ensuring my down-the-road self will be well taken care of, but I’m also not dismissing the value in having fun, dancing and enjoying the summer, like the grasshopper. Because it’s not as simple as “this or that” or “us versus them,” but a blend of a bit of both and some and all.
“How narrow is the vision that exalts the busyness of the ant above the singing of the grasshopper.” ~ Kahlil Gibran
week in review
last week’s gratitude: good health
this week’s intention: slow down
what I’m reading: Books for Living + Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own
read 10% Human
brunch with a good friend + her cute babe (pic 5)
trip planning for upcoming Scandinavian adventure (pic 4)
attended MBSR class #5
lots of movement + many workouts
more first dates
Monday evening drinks with one of my favorites
time with a good friend + her very brave daughter
productive work week
lots of reading time
very rewarding + productive team offsite (work)
continued enjoying unseasonably warm temps
drinks + catching up with good friend
completed objectives for community ambassador group (work)
completed MBSR homework + readings
asked to serve as Denver social media ambassador (work)
received very positive feedback via annual review
continued progress on big work projects
phone time + catching up with my niece
meditation + self-reflection
wrote + posted week reflection
posted Love After Love
weekend happenings + intentions
travel to Jackson Hole + spend time with my bestie (!!!)