Nobody Liked Veruca Salt

We just aren’t a patient species, us humans. Less so now than ever it seems. Personally, I check my phone at least a dozen times an hour even if the blue light isn’t blinking indicating I have a new message. It’s habit, of course. It’s the need for constant distraction and stimulation. It’s like crack but cheaper and without the legal complications. But I do it anyway, as do you and millions of others. The official posture of our species, to the delight of chiropractors everywhere, is now head down, shoulders slumped, and eyes fixated on a tiny screen while the world passes us by. Or worse, runs us over.    

We’re in the age of instant gratification and instant information, all at our dirty little fingertips. That’s not to say it’s all bad. For those of us old enough to remember going to the library to do any kind of research, today’s technology has been life changing. It’s been revolutionary. Now instead of going to the library, we take our laptops, tablets and cell phones to Starbucks and get jacked on knowledge and caffeine. I mean, how cool is that, huh?!     

Like most things in life, nothing is all good or all bad. I guess one could argue the current clown show in DC is all bad, and certainly the lead ass clown’s never ending tomfoolery could be considered “really bad”, and I wouldn’t contradict you on either. So…let’s just say, “for the most part”, no single thing is all good or all bad. But having so many things delivered to us almost instantaneously has made us, well, spoiled…and demanding. We want it now. No matter what “it” happens to be. We don’t want to wait and we don’t grasp the concept that there are just some things that can’t be rushed. For example, maturity, financial success, relationships, and achieving a picture perfect example of male pattern baldness, all take time. In some cases, a lot of time. And that’s not only perfectly fine, it’s absolutely necessary in order to create something of value and something worthwhile.     

So you might ask, “Sounds good in theory, but how exactly does one accomplish this?” Before I answer that question though, I should add one more tidbit. A disclaimer of sorts. I do, in fact, really suck at some of these. I won’t say which one(s) I suck at. Could be one…could be all. None of that really matters. I know the advice makes complete logical sense. However, we aren’t always logical (look no further than the last election) and that’s the real challenge. But who doesn’t love a challenge, right? Let’s get to it.

  •        Put blinders on, if not literally, because that would be a bit awkward, then figuratively. There’s a reason trainers use blinders on horses; they keep them from getting distracted by everything going on around them. They especially keep the male horses from checking out the hot female horses. I mean, sex can derail even the best laid plans, pardon the pun, and stopping in the middle of a race to see about mounting the competition would be just awful for the jockey and the owner. Highly entertaining and pleasurable for the spectators and the horses involved, but not the jockeys and owners. 
           “But we’re not horses!!” I can hear you say. And you would, of course, be correct. We don’t have hooves and most of us have better oral hygiene, excluding a fairly significant number of Trump supporters, or roughly one-third of the nation. But we do have the same tendency to let everything around us distract us from the task at hand. For a horse, it’s being the first one around the track. For us, it’s about making our way around the track, not necessarily first, but at a pace that works for us. Don’t worry about the other horses. Stay in your lane and keep moving. And realize that it’s inevitable, especially if you’re not the lead horse, that you will at some point step in some shit. This is life. Not only should you get used to it, you should embrace it.
  •        Start wrapping your head around the fact that you are not entitled to anything at any time. Period. My ex-wife once vented and fumed and pouted, “At our age we should be able to afford name brand laundry detergent!!” Yikes!! I calmly replied, “Our financial situation dictates what we can and cannot afford, not our age.” The look of pure, unconstrained rage I received in response was frightening. I mean, snap out of it woman!! Good grief, it’s just laundry detergent for crying out loud! (I thought, not said). Anyway, to reiterate, you aren’t entitled to a specific house, car, salary, and certainly not name brand laundry detergent. Get a grip. Seriously.
  •        Understand there is no such thing as overnight success. You have to put in the work. Patience and process, my friends, patience and process. You don’t start with marathons, your first position isn’t going to be CEO, and you don’t receive your doctorate before first paying your dues in undergrad.
           My first job was bussing tables at Red Lobster when I was 16. Over the years, and there have been many since I was 16, I’ve slowly but consistently moved forward. There were setbacks along the way (see stepping in shit above) but each progression, each raise or promotion, each physical accomplishment, felt amazing. And that’s exactly the point. Enjoying the process and the small victories along the way keeps you moving and as some annoying professional types like to say, “Leveling up.” Ignore the flashy, overhyped BS around you and realize what you see in others isn’t always reality. Especially on social media. That perfect ass you drool over on Instagram took 47 takes before it looked “perfect.”

That’s it for the most part. It’s not terribly complicated but for some of us, myself included, it can be challenging. That’s kind of the point though. We’ve become so accustomed to having everything now and not having to work hard for it that if it takes more than 5 minutes to achieve, we’re not interested. We bow out. Don’t be a lazy, whining, wuss of a human being. Have some pride for Christ’s sake. Nobody liked Veruca Salt because she was a spoiled little witch with a “B” and was impatient, entitled, and demanding. In the end she got what she deserved. Have the chocolate but don’t be a glutton. Appreciate it, savor it and realize that it’s fine to enjoy a little bit at a time.

Good luck…

Rick

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