In 2015, I made 362 orders through Amazon. Mind you, this was my number of orders – not items. It was a very rare day that went by without a notification from the leasing office that I had a package waiting for my pick-up. To my glee, I’d rush to the office and pick up my package with the kind of excitement you’d find in a child on Christmas morning.
That year, I also had a bit of an obsession with Domino’s Pizza, which was only a few minutes away from my home. This, too, became a bit of an addiction. Part of me still blames the insatiable flavor of their hand-tossed pan pizza. They really nailed it.
One evening, I decided to time how long it took between pressing “order” and hearing my door knock with two hot pizzas. 17 minutes.
This miniature obsession turned into a bit of a game, where I decided to have “30 days of pizza” where I’d eat at least one pizza per day. The high (low) point of the month was a week where I consumed 17 pizzas.
The surprise? At the end of the month, I lost three pounds.
All gluttony aside, I noticed a common theme in my life at that point; I had a problem with obtaining things. The act of obtaining items wasn’t nearly as poisonous as my personal sense of validation that came when I cut through a brown box to discover what was inside.
On a ‘good’ day, I’d open the box while completely forgetting the item I had ordered – yielding the surprise when I finally remembered what I had purchased earlier that week.
One day, I called my older sister. She’s always been the ‘responsible’ one in our family. In this case, I knew she was the right person to talk to.
”Lydia, I have a problem.”
Initially, she laughed. To which, I repeated myself; “No, I really have a problem. I can’t stop ordering things.” At which point, I shared with her the issue I was facing, and voluntarily surrendered to her my Amazon password, which prevented me impulsively shopping.
After a few months, I was in a healthy state of mind to have full control of my account. At which point, she revealed the password, which hasn’t changed to this day.
While the above two stories may seem laughable, they’re an indicator of the dilemma which faces the Millennial generation; the desire for instant gratification.
A younger me remembers times where I had pen pals; people I’d meet at Summer youth camps, who corresponded back-and-forth with me via written mail. Days and weeks would pass between each letter, which was a healthy environment for patience – and anticipation – to develop.
Patience and anticipation. These two things seem to be a lost art in my generation. At multiple points in my life, I’ve been the guiltiest culprit of this deficit.
I think there’s a good reason for the saying “patience is a virtue” because virtue, by definition, is the act of having high moral standards. Somebody with high standards remains content to wait until something meet, or exceeds, their definition of worthiness.
Worthiness, these days, seems to have been muddled with the desire for instant gratification. E.g. if I receive a # of likes on my instagram photo, I feel a sense of validation.
Thus, I see a growing trend where instant gratification is readily available, which dwindles the wick of patience down to a dangerously low level in people like myself.
Were the 17-minute pizza delivery to have taken 45 minutes, my anxiety would have risen.
What if the pizza isn’t coming?
Will it be cold on arrival?
They’ve never done this before. Do I really want to endure this pain again?
Before the door knocks, you’ve already played out an epic drama that might be more suited for a RomCom, rather than pizza delivery.
Pause – I think it’s important to be able to laugh at some of these generational traits. After all, they often seem foreign to elder generations who spent weeks/months traveling aboard ships to travel overseas, while our generation whines and cries when there’s an hour delay for a 12-hour international flight…
Rather than have a rant about the Millennial generation, let’s cut to the chase.
The craving for instant gratification diminishes your ability to do things well.
Recently, I’ve been sorting through some of my own thoughts, which has felt far more like a playground than a well-oiled machine. Going into the proverbial emotional basement of my heart, I found a root of fear inside.
Fear that projects I’m working on won’t ever take off as well as I imagine they will. Fear that the best years of my life are behind me. Fear that my ideas are….bad ideas.
Where did this fear come from? I wondered.
I had to take a hard look in the mirror and recognize that I’ve fallen prey to the trap of instant gratification; the dopamine-driving addiction plaguing my generation. When I want something, I get it. Immediately. Pizza. A date. Distraction. Even money has come very easily to me —- whenever I put my hands to the plow.
It was really hard to realize that the biggest problem in my life was the one masquerading as ‘good’. After all, instant gratification means something is working – right? I’m not so sure about that anymore.
See, I’ve come to the point in my life where some of the best ideas, projects, and people have entered my life. I no longer need to search for new ventures to launch, because I have several winning cards in my hand. The same applies to people; my life is rich with loving, quality people who sincerely care about me.
Thus, it’s time for a pause in the hunt, and time to start processing what I’ve spent years working to find.
As my time in Bali is coming to a close, I’m especially thankful to have come to this revelation. There are new chapters ahead in my life, for which I’m extremely grateful for. However, each of these new chapters has required that I go outside of my comfort zone in order to obtain them.
“Anything easy ain’t worth a damn.”
Today, I’m really grateful for the opportunity to take an honest look in the mirror and own my shortcomings. Without a pause in my bad behavior, these things would never change; they’d simply grow up into bigger problems, making me more of a man-boy shirking the responsibility of growing up, rather than welcoming the sacrifice(s) needed to fulfill my purpose.
In closing, I’ve discovered some really important revelations lately. They’ve come through blood, sweat, and tears – and they haven’t been easy lessons to learn. However, I now look in the mirror and see a man that owns his life, admits his shortcomings, and can find grace and forgiveness from others – as well as myself.