And I will be the first to own that it has taken me a very long time to learn this lesson, and I am still learning it.
Abraham Lincoln said it. That man certainly had a lot of great observations about people, life and how we screw it all up. Wish I could have a conversation with him. But then again, I am sure he would find me pretty over the top.
I have always been this weird amalgamation of things. I am very disciplined about some things, many that others find hard to do and then I am completely undisciplined about other things that are really not all that hard, I just have a very hard time getting over my not wanting to do them.
But I will fully admit that I have been ruled throughout my life by what I want now, over what I want most.
I do it with dating. I can see that the current prospect is not what I really want on many levels, but I have gone ahead with the whole ordeal because I am either delusional believing he was what I wanted most or because I couldn’t see that I was picking what I wanted now over what I wanted most.
I have done a lot of work in this area. And am making progress...it is slow. But I do have the capacity to wait for what I want most now, instead of what I want now. Finally learning that I can’t just produce someone in my life whom I admire, respect, desire and enjoy. That is hard to find and I just can’t make it happen because I want to. I spent decades trying to do that...it didn’t work, not one time.
I am still struggling with the sugar thing. It isn’t what I want most, I want a completely flat stomach most, but it is always what I want now. And so I struggle. Again. Still.
I want to save money but then I like clothes and shoes and shit like that. So I tend to give myself what I want now instead of what I want most which is a bank account with lots of zeros.
If there has been one battle I have fought, other than sobriety, it has been my inability to delay gratification. I am very susceptible to what I want now, instead of what I want most.
I am getting better. I am able now to turn down things that are not in alignment with what I want most. I have a bank account that is solely reserved for the purchase of my cabin in the woods. I don’t know when I will get there, but I am saving today for that possibility in the future. I wasn’t able to do that in the past.
I am not dating random people in some sort of misguided attempt to fill the loneliness with someone, anyone. I do not online date because it brings out the worst in me and makes me kind of hate all of humanity. I really do not think the man that I want can be found on some sort of fucked up Amazon shopping for men site. I am willing to pass up what I might want now, for what I want most. Which is a very new endeavor for me in the whole man department. I think I operated for years with a “You will do” attitude and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I was always so disappointed.
Gaining discipline isn’t all that fun. It is totally more fun to just get what you want now and tell yourself that whatever it is you can get now is actually what you want most. That really doesn’t work but that didn’t stop me from trying that for YEARS. Ok, many, many fucking years.
But I have come to find there is a reward for waiting for what you want most. A delayed gratification that is deeper, more satisfying and fulfilling than anything I can get right here, right now. But I have had to push through the confines of my own thinking, my own warped sense of what I needed and wanted and what was available to me in that moment.
Today I can see that my life is very full. Yes, it lacks a guy. That guy. But I have arrived at a place where I am content with myself and if I ever meet him then great. But if I don’t, my life is still pretty amazing. When it comes to men and dating, I have the discipline now to choose between what I want now, and what I want most. And what I want most is a true, loving connection with someone I trust who trusts me back.
I still give in way too much with the purchase of things - that area of my life needing some greater discipline. But I am getting there, slower than I would like but faster than I have in the past.
Being able to wait to get the things that I want most has been a journey. I am still not the best waiter. But life’s pains and hardships and heartbreaks have a way of helping you see that you can always grasp the bright and shiny, and be fooled that all that glitters is gold, when experience has taught you that sometimes, what appears to be glitter is actually a flashing warning sign that is telling you, in no uncertain terms, to stop, duck and roll your way right the fuck outta there.
I missed that a lot in my life because I was moving so fast that all that really registered for me was “wow, look at all those pretty lights...” Today I have slowed to a point where I can tell the glitter from the warning signs...most of the time. And when I can’t, I get a new lesson in how I feel and how my life goes when I lack the discipline to wait for what I want most.
We can have a lot in the now. But it is rarely what we want most. Our minds amazing tricksters to get us to believe that what is available to us now, has anything to do with what we want most.
I will be learning this lesson for the whole of my life. Getting daily opportunities to discern that from what I want now, from what I want most. With an ever increasing ability to have the discipline to make better choices. Again. Still.