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Don’t Wait

There is a moral to this story:

Sometimes when I am waiting for something to happen, I will latch onto something I want and then tell myself that when X happens, I can have Y treat.  It will be a way of celebrating the occasion or accomplishment.

It is a practice that has NOT served me well.

For instance, I have a book that I was really looking forward to reading, and I told myself that I could read it when I got pregnant again.  I wasn’t silly enough to set the bar at “deliver a live baby” or even “get past the first 8 weeks.”  Just get pregnant.

I still haven’t read the book.

See, doesn’t serve me well.  Doesn’t keep me to task or motivate me.  Because 95% of the time, I’m applying it to something outside my control.  I am putting my future enjoyment into the hands of the universe.  And those hands are often not pushing me toward my goal but rather keeping me from it.

A few months ago, I downloaded a solitaire app on my phone.  I wanted to upgrade to the paid version to get rid of the ads, but I told myself that I should wait until X happened.  Upgrading the app would be my Y reward to mark the occasion.

I kept playing the free, ad-heavy version of the app, and every time I had to sit through an ad, it would remind me that X hadn’t happened.  I asked myself to reconsider.

But I think you all know what happens when you try to reconsider:

I suddenly became superstitious and convinced myself that if I bought myself the app — if I celebrated before the moment — that the moment would never arrive.

So I kept playing the ad-heavy app.  “It’s temporary,” I told myself whenever I got crotchety due to the ads.  “When X happens, you’ll have Y.”

After four months, it became clear that X wasn’t going to happen.  Or if it was, it was going to happen on an unsatisfying timeline.  And one night, in a particularly foul mood, I decided to buy the app.  I bought it angrily, punching in my password with quick jabs to show the universe just how pissed I was that X hadn’t happened yet.

And you know what?  The app makes me happy.  It’s a smaller file and runs much faster than the ad-heavy version.  I like not having to see the ads.  But it also makes me feel like I’ve wasted time by waiting.  I could have been playing this better version months ago if I just hadn’t tied these two unrelated things together.  If I hadn’t been superstitious, or thought that things related to luck should be celebrated rather than just acknowledged for what they are: a game of chance.

So much of life is out of my hands; it’s waiting for another person to accept something or find me or connect with me or for the universe to work its completely random magic and cause something to happen… so why should I ever give it more fuel, more power, to change the way I think about myself or the situation.

I’m not waiting anymore.


1 Peg { 12.08.15 at 8:49 am }

Great post!

2 a { 12.08.15 at 9:20 am }

I don’t wait, usually. At least, not in the way you’re talking about. I will wait to buy something for a time when I can get the best deal, or I have the money saved or I feel like I’ve made the best decision. But I don’t reward myself for particular accomplishments, because I’m not a “big event” person. I’m a daily grind person – the one who makes lunches and makes sure people have enough socks (note to self: get socks for daughter) and goes to work so we all have health insurance. Never going to finish those jobs, so there will be no waiting for a reward.

3 Ana { 12.08.15 at 12:01 pm }

Great post! Agree with you—stop waiting! On the other hand, tying a “treat” to something that IS within my control (or at least has a set end-point) can be pretty motivating. Something very concrete that I know I will finish regardless (deadline at work, something else I’m dreading). Sure, I’ll do the thing regardless (because I have to, and we all do what we must) but it FEELS better knowing something good (good book, watch a show, buy something small I want but don’t need) is waiting on the other end.

4 Heather { 12.08.15 at 1:25 pm }

This is my new mantra of late: Why wait?
Why wait to go after what you want? Why wait to end something that is going badly? Why wait…
So far it has worked out pretty well for me. I was always waiting to see if someone liked me, if someone would invite me, if I had the money, when I had the opportunity (which never happened), etc. etc.
Now, I’m not Miss Flighty Franny either. I weigh out the decision to wait or not to wait. Usually? Not waiting wins out. It’s really scary sometimes depending on what it is, but it’s also very freeing.

5 nicoleandmaggie { 12.08.15 at 3:50 pm }

Huh, that seems backwards to me. I guess I would consider getting pregnant while ttc enough of a celebration. It’s things I don’t really want to do that I set rewards for myself, and always things that I have control over as motivation (so me finishing something, not me getting something accepted).

If I don’t wait, then I spent my entire life just reading novels and then I’m all sad because I have ambition.

6 SuzannaCatherine { 12.08.15 at 3:54 pm }

Love this post! As far as setting up reward systems, not so much. But I do carefully think about the purchases I make – pros and cons – most usually when the purchase is for myself.

It must be a character trait that I’ve had forever. I remember my cousins all teasing me that I was a “mug-wump” when it came to decision making. Should I really buy that 25 cent piece of candy??? I have the money, but…??? “Come on mug-wump, we’re gonna leave you right here in this store.” (A mug-wump being a bird always sitting on the fence “with it’s mug on one side and it’s wump on the other.” ?

IMPO, give yourself a break. Read that unread book. My personal opinion again, I think you’ve waited long enough. ?

7 Middle Girl { 12.08.15 at 4:37 pm }

If you can, do. A great freedom, choice.

8 Lori Lavender Luz { 12.08.15 at 6:40 pm }

So are you going to read the book?

9 loribeth { 12.08.15 at 9:20 pm }

I am guilty of doing this. Case in point: right now, we desperately need a new mattress & linens for the bed. My sheets are so old & thin I’m afraid holes are going to start developing soon. But I had it in my head that I should wait until I was done with Aunt Flo & then celebrate by buying new stuff. Of course, when I got that brilliant idea, I never thought I’d be almost 55 & still getting regular visits from Aunt Flo. :p Maybe in the new year. 😉

10 Heather { 12.10.15 at 9:47 am }

I can so identify with this. I have spent so much time lately waiting – to get pregnant, to get a job… but I am sick of waiting too.

11 Aly @ Breathe Gently { 12.10.15 at 11:12 pm }

I used to wait. Wait to get a new car, in case we got pregnant again. Wait to book a holiday, in case we got pregnant again. Well, I’m done. We’re obviously not getting pregnant again anytime soon, and I refuse to live my live in hopes of something that’s not even a definite. So… we have a new car. YEAH! 🙂 Doesn’t make up for the sadness… but it’s something fun.

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