Do you put off pleasure?

What are you waiting for? What’s that special something you’re putting off for some perfect future date?

While there are concerns about society becoming too hedonistic, seeking instant pleasure, there’s a shadow side for those who delay gratification, waiting for a more perfect some day that never comes.

While the ability to delay gratification is a trait of successful people, we often delay too long and completely miss  experiencing life’s magic. 

No one would call me a procrastinator. I’m disciplined and focused, have a strong work ethic, and take pride in meeting my obligations.

Yet, I’m a procrastinator, and have been for many years.

I procrastinate pleasure, in big and small ways. I often put work and obligations ahead of my pleasure, waiting for the right time instead of creating it for myself. I’ve been losing out.

This happened to me recently, in a small way, and it’s awakened me to the tendency I’ve developed to delay life’s pleasures a little too long.

I love Perkins pancakes; they are a special indulgence for me. Driving past Perkins, I’d tell my family that soon, when I had time for a nap after, I was going to treat myself to a buttery stack.

Perkins pancakes and a nap are a very special indulgence for me.

I waited too long. As silly as it may sound, the news of our local Perkins restaurant closing caused a flurry of texts and calls from my family telling me I’d missed my opportunity.

A trivial situation pointing me to a larger problem in my life; delaying pleasure.

It turns out, I’m not alone.

According to research by Suzanne Shu and Marissa Sharif, the more special we gauge something to be, the more likely we are to put off experiencing it.

There’s a widespread tendency to procrastinate special pleasures, waiting for some perfect time in the future to partake. It’s called occasion matching, and it often backfires, causing us to miss wonderful opportunities.

The more special, expensive, or exotic we view something to be, the less likely we are to use it.

The best chocolates and bottles of wine sit unopened, waiting for a more special time. The good china sits in the cupboard, never used. The dream trip goes untraveled, and yes, pancakes go uneaten.

I’ve listened to many people who, at the end of life, regret having put off experiencing life’s pleasures for too long. Having met life’s seeming demands, the things that brought joy and mattered most were left unattended.

Life is to be experienced and savoured. We’re not on this planet forever. Allowing ourselves to drink in the goodness of life, and experience life’s pleasures supports and sustains our health and happiness.

Waiting for the perfect time to experience what’s special, to use a valued possession, or to take the time for indulgence, often leads to disappointment and regret. 

We self-sabotage our ability to enjoy what’s special when we don’t seize the day.

Giving yourself a deadline for fun, for doing that special something is a place to begin. When we wait for tomorrow, it may never come.

What are you waiting for? What’s that special something you’re waiting to experience?

Make a plan and stick to it.


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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

Corinne, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in Health Science, is a staff minister with the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, and a hospice volunteer. She is an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan, and is currently teaching smartUBC, a unique Mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. She is an invited speaker and presenter.

From diverse experience and knowledge, personally and professionally, Corinne has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people to gain a new perspective, awaken, and to recognize that we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts or to life; we are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 41 years, and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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