Instant Gratification


I felt compelled to write about this…and I’m not sure why, since I don’t spend much time on my blog these days, and I seldom write about personal matters, but I think this is good.

In an age of instant gratification, and creating extremely busy lives for ourselves, I decided I would start taking 8 solid minutes in the morning to make a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal. Butter, a dollop of fruit preserves, and a dash of Maldon sea salt flakes. Why?

Things are always better when they take time. And…well, quite frankly, I was going from waking up to working almost instantaneously and that wasn’t working for me.

So, I started boiling water, stirring oats, and waiting… and I realized something. In those moments of waiting (and I do mean waiting…no aimless scrolling while I waited), I watched the water boil; even though I have an electric kettle that can easily boil the 3-quarter cup of water I needed – and reflected on the previous day and brainstormed my day ahead. It was almost a form of meditation. I took in the beauty of the “old” style of making oatmeal (“stir frequently”), was grateful that in that moment, I had one goal. Nourish myself, both physically and mentally.  Now, I’m not saying I never ate breakfast before, but when I did, it was usually spooning  yogurt as quickly as I could, or warming up some quiche frozen from the morning before. I rarely waited for the proverbial “pot” to boil. I’d feed the dog, kiss my husband goodbye, and I’d visualize all that was on my to-do list for the day as I got dressed and started my day. And now? Now I see why people make coffee and sit down with a newspaper (or at least they used to!). Maybe before meditating became trendy, that was how people enjoyed the moment.

My goal: make more “oatmeal” in life. Create moments for myself where I’m not rushing to cross things off my to-do list and doing things as quickly as I can, but rather, focussing on what I can learn about myself and the situation by being in it. I’m not saying you have to start making oatmeal, but try to remember that good things take time. Instant gratification is expected, but often creates frustration when things don’t happen as quickly as they could, or don’t happen the way they “should.” Make “oatmeal.”  Take time for yourself each day – morning, noon, or night.

You won’t regret it.