The Desire for Instant Gratification, Week 38 in the Time of Coronavirus
We made it through a very different Thanksgiving. Then on black Friday I received so many emails advertising the “best” sales of the year. I was intrigued. I opened up small business and non-profit websites. I purchased a few things that I unquestionably don’t need. Now after the sale I’m not even certain if they’ll make good gifts. What I do know is that there was something compelling about the immediate gratification at a time when so little is happening. For a few brief hours I’d take breaks to peruse websites while making a couple of impulsive purchases. Call it clearance therapy.
It felt like a small liberation to acquire a few seemingly needless items. The bargains were incredible. And it felt strange to engage in such a frivolous action. I understand that I’m privileged to buy stuff during this time of widespread unemployment. Perhaps I chose small businesses as an unconscious compensation. I like supporting solo endeavors, small businesses and non-profit organizations. I grew up the daughter of a small business owner. Sale season was always a boon for his shoe store. The income from pre-holiday sales supported our family of six for the leaner times in the subsequent months. When I started working as a cashier at 14, I’d go to the mall and spend my earnings on the best sale offers I could find.
Perhaps it’s part yearning for times past, and part needing something special we get to choose now. It’s true that so many of us crave instant gratification during this long stretch. I got it Friday and will have another quick high when the packages arrive. During this pandemic most of my immediate gratifications came while walking. I’d see a beautiful light in the sky. Or the flowers would catch my eye. Actually, it was less immediate gratification than moments of grace. And, having had my clearance therapy on Friday, I was able to get back to walking, and my slow running, enjoying the last colors of the season.
We’re about to embark on living through the final month of 2020. We employed a tremendous amount of patience to get this far. And we’re being asked to wait even longer before we’ll be able to recognize certain aspects of pre-2020. I guess a few transgressions along the way are a small price to pay for getting through this time of the Coronavirus.
- Take in a poem. It helps us to imagine differently.
- Wear cozy socks. There’s nothing like warm, comfortable socks as the weather gets cold. Try some with grips on the bottom to wear without shoes while indoors.
- Warm beverages can be so soothing. A favorite tea, hot cocoa, heated cider, or a warm adult beverage can all be enjoyed this season.
- Think of a personal quality that you judge unfavorably. Now think of a way in which that specific characteristic can be a strength under certain circumstances.
- Try adding a new color to your life. Whether you choose a different color for your mask, or you choose a vegetable that adds color to a meal, take pleasure in something different.