Happy Sunday All,
It’s 1.37am on Saturday night and I’m sitting here doing the very thing I will try to convince you not to. Putting off till tomorrow…I’m deferring sleep to get this post out. It’s not some noble dedication you understand, but simply the deafening cry of the creative howl and the only way to quiet it is to ‘get it done!’
So here goes…today I’d like to consider why we are so ready to ‘Defer Gratification.’
“You may delay, but time will not.”
― Benjamin Franklin
What are we saying to ourselves when we put off our joy?
It came to me as I had a conversation with a friend of mine. They asked me to justify the life-changing decision I have recently made and questioned why I hadn’t put in another ‘couple of years’ in (my stable profession) to ‘squirrel’ away some funds and set up in a stable way.
They weren’t challenging me to be unfriendly you understand, simply to gain a greater understanding of what motivates me and inadvertently they did me a favour. Because they challenged me I achieved a precise clarity and conviction.
It occurred to me that we’re constantly being told to ‘put off’ the things that we want or feel for the most.
From the cradle to the grave
From the time we appear on this earth we are told in subtle and not so subtle ways that we should do without, hold it back, put it off until tomorrow.
- When we are anguished and scream as toddlers we are told to contain ourselves, to be quiet, to ‘shut up.’ Constrained instead of being given the freedom to just ‘let it all out!’
- We enter the education system and for eleven plus years we are expected to get nothing in return for our efforts.
- In university, again we are told that further study, another three, four, five, seven years and we will be given the passport to a secure, comfortable life.
- During the thirty plus years of our working lives we eagerly look forward to our ‘retirement’ and a secure pension (that is if we ever get to draw that pension!)
- We keep clothes and shoes ‘for best’ and allow our wardrobes and closets the benefit of our most exquisite fabrics and colours.
I think you get what I mean, we become conditioned to tread carefully, keep ourselves small, so as not to offend or upset. OFFEND OR UPSET WHO?
Denial, Restraint, Deferral
It seems to me a life-long exercise in denial, restraint and deferral, as we allow ourselves only fleeting moments in which we can feel beautiful, empowered or deserving.
For many of us, much of our lives is spent deferring…waiting for something to come out of the future…always ‘putting off’ convinced there is a greater reward to be had if we do so.
Unfortunately, Many of us die before we are able to access this ‘reward!’
Those people in society who act on their instincts and allow themselves instant gratification are often seen as ‘greedy,’ or ‘selfish’ and as none of us like the idea as being labelled in this way we shy away from doing anything that means our behaviour could be labelled as such.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating irresponsibility and it is for each of you to decide for yourselves what is being irresponsible and what is simply shaking off some of the deferment shackles.
Feed the dream…make the leap!
Many of us, no correct that, ALL of us dream…we’ve been dreaming since we came into being, but how many of us have been on this merry-go-round for decades, talking to ourselves and saying ‘next year this…next year that’ only to find when we look back we’re still no further on with that dream, or hobby or project that we know will give us the fulfilment and happiness we wish for and deserve?
The ‘treadmill’ is not a road. It doesn’t come to an end, it won’t slow to a reasonably slow pace so you feel safe enough to step off…
In order to get off, you have to leap!
Sure… it’s scary, you might lose your footing for a while, but it means you now have ‘potentiality.’ You are in a space where everything and anything is possible and you just might also bring that vision of yours into being, and if not, then some other equally wonderful reality.
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
― Karen Lamb
What are you going to do with your ‘today’?
Only you can make you feel good
So wear that dress that shows off your collarbone to its best effect, put on that cashmere sweater that feels ‘oh so luxurious’ and shows off your pecs! When we defer feeling good, feeling accomplished, feeling adventurous and limit ourselves are we not signalling subconsciously that we are not deserving, that we are unworthy of feeling joy, accomplishment, beauty…
If there’s something you want to achieve, do, be take steps towards having, being and doing and do so today! As Pablo Picasso said:
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”
― Pablo Picasso
What would you regret having left undone if, god forbid your time was up today? Whatever the answer(s) those are the things you should take action on today.
When are you going to give yourself permission to wear purple?
Just a reminder from Jenny Joseph:
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
Blessings and much Love
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