Our society has a deadly obsession with delayed gratification: suffer now to be happier later.
In high school, you shouldn’t have too much fun. You need to focus on your grades so you can get into a “good” college. Once you get to college, you need to work hard so you can get internships and get into a good graduate school. You need to do well in graduate school so you can get a well paying job and be “successful.” Once you get that job, you need to work hard to get promoted. You need to make enough money so that you can retire comfortably.
Basically, you should work yourself to death for the next 50 years so that you can finally relax when you’re 65, maybe.
We put so much emphasis on delayed gratification as the American ideal that giving into instant gratification is considered weak.
Show some willpower.
But, what’s really strong is enduring the expectations or delayed gratification set forth by our society. The only way to do so is to give into impulses of instant gratification in our daily lives. This doesn’t equate to a lack of willpower–it just means you’re human.
If you want to buy yourself a necklace but feel like you should save your money for the ominous Future, buy yourself the necklace.
If you want to go to the movies on a Saturday night, but you feel like you should study for the USHAP test that’s in a week and a half, go to the movies.
If you’re trying to decide between doing a fifth SAT practice test and reading your favorite book, read the book.
I too often find myself being sucked into the logical fallacy that if I let myself enjoy life now, that if I am weak and give into the instant gratification of my favorite movie, I will somehow make my future miserable.
We are all living a life ruled by delayed gratification, so by all means, find instant gratification wherever you can.
Watch the movie.