Take a seat. This is gonna hurt, so buckle up buttercups. I’ve got some bad news…
We are addicted to instant.
And no, we’re not just talking coffee.
We are captivated, enamored, devoted, under the influence. We’re strung out, even dependent.
We are OBSESSED with getting things NOW.
We, as in you and I.
We, as in society.
You see, the expectation for immediacy has been set and we’re addicted. But, as with all addictions, we go up and then we come doooown. And when we come down, we hit with a *BANG*.
(And not the good kind. Perv. The hurty ouchy kind.)
No, really. Think about how frustrated you feel when your packages are late arriving around the holidays. Or how utterly b*tchy people get with delayed flights. Or when your 3G isn’t quite perfect and you can’t see your cousin’s Facebook update with picture #98376421 of their LITTLE ANGEL who is puking (and said little angel is, in fact, some kind of dog smaller than a subway rat in NYC).
Instant is insanely popular on the market right now because we’re so hooked. You *know* you get excited when you see things like:
“instantly delivered to your (insert smartphone name here)”
“stream instantly to any device, even your left eyeball digital implant!”
We practically vibrate when we can’t get what we want NOW (cue our best Veruca Salt impressions). Let’s face it. Instant gratification has turned us into
spoiled little pre-tweens.
(If a tween is a pre-teen, what’s a pre-tween? It sounds like a wash cycle — “run this dress through on pre-tween for optimal stain removal results!”)
In spoiling us, it is causing us more stress than almost any other substance on the planet. Something doesn’t go quite right, and everything just bloody spirals from there. Plans have to change, people are gonna get disappointed… it’s just a big ol’ mess.
We could try taking delays with grace.
Remember how grace works? No, I’m not talking about the nickname I have for my skillful ability to fall while walking on an even, flat surface (ask me about how I busted my ankle the first time). I mean that nice, calm feeling of peace and acceptance in a stressful situation where something is getting between you and your WANT-IT-NOW.
Not sure what grace would look like? Let’s check it out.
…that guy cutting you off in the middle of rush hour going a bajillion miles an hour?
Clearly, he is sorely overdue for his extremely necessary bladder infection mediation, and he’s probably suffering a considerable amount of pain. Instead of providing an extensive overview of your most vulgar vernacular at ear-shattering volumes, avoid participating in a major traffic accident and send them some kind thoughts.
…the should-still-be-in-diapers kid in front of you in the far left lane of the highway , going 20 mph in the middle of rush hour, when you need to desperately get home for your very necessary bladder infection medication?
Poor lil’ is just learning how to drive, and that instructor is NOT making it easy with the ranting and the raving and the Stetson large enough to swallow New Jersey. Pass them safely and hope that they know enough to pull over to the shoulder before they have a panic attack.
…the bespectacled tech nerd darting back and forth between your precious (and utterly cooked) laptop and the store terminal without really giving you any information?
You are their last customer of the day after what’s been an already frustrating 10 hours of work in a naturally hectic environment. Sadly, they don’t have all the answers, but they also didn’t dump a sippy cup full of Juicy Juice on your keyboard (thank your toddler). If you’re really lucky, they may be able to rescue everything essential, but it’s gonna take some time. Take a seat and catch up on some reading, cause Divergent just came out and that novel won’t finish itself.
…that last support customer who just unloaded HER most vulgar vernacular on you while you are trying to bring their very dead laptop back to life?
Yeah, the computer looks like it will actually take an Act of Congress and some serious overtime to resurrect, but this poor soul is actually a VERY overtaxed grad student with an assistantship and a tutoring gig that bartends at night. Bless her poor little heart, the only surviving copy of her research paper is on this now-crispy piece of hardware, as her three-year-old flushed her backup thumb drive down the toilet earlier today. She’s already going to be living on ramen for a week just to cover this fix. So take a deep breath, pull out the Emergency Boot CD, and revel in the extra dough from the work rather than bemoaning your lost Portal 2 Co-op time. The Mountain Dew tastes just as good during a late night data recovery spree.
So, a shift to a slightly more patient, though slightly slower moving, mentality probably won’t kill you (but stop forgetting your bladder pills dude, seriously). However, addictions can kill. It may not be the immediacy of a drug overdose, but the behaviors encouraged by our need for the NOW result in some very risky habits. And truthfully, it’s so not good for your blood pressure.
Give yourself a present: one to three minutes, TOTALLY YOURS, to breathe. To chill. To not be obsessed with the GIMME NOW. Hide in the bathroom if you need to. Don’t worry about completely reworking your schedule. But do it. Clock’s ticking, and we’re only getting more stressed.
YOUR MISSION: what can you do, THIS WEEKEND, to slow your roll a little?