What are you waiting for?
What’s that special something you’re putting off for some perfect future date? Why are you waiting?
While there are concerns society’s becoming too hedonistic, seeking instant pleasure, there’s a shadow-side for those who delay gratification, waiting for a more perfect “someday,” that never comes. If the past two years have reinforced anything for me, it’s to seize the moment when it comes to the good things in life.
While the ability to delay gratification is found to be a trait of successful people, we often delay too long and completely miss out on 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 came to realize I was a procrastinator, and had been for many years.
I procrastinated pleasure, in big and small ways. I used to put work and obligations ahead of my pleasure, waiting for the supposed right time instead of creating it for myself. I was losing out, but no more.
A trivial situation of a favourite restaurant closing a few years ago alerted 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 using or experiencing it. There’s a widespread human 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, even 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 savored. 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. We fail to harvest and experience the good in our lives.
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. Seize the moment.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.