Monday, 28 September 2009
Instant Gratification vs. Looking Forward to Something.
I was thinking about this today, as I walked between the craft shop, where I had just purchased half a metre of stiffener fabric and some magnetic poppers for a bag I want to try and make, and the wool shop. We are counting every penny, and I have had to wait since last week for the wool (for winter hats for the family). I was really looking forward to getting the black and white wool I had seen last week, but sadly, all the inside stalls in our posh new market in Carmarthen were shut, including the Wool shop. So I changed my steps towards the sewing shop in Darkgate. There I browsed the wools and ended up choosing two balls of chunky wool in greys and navy/dark blues. The thrill of taking my pick according to what I needed (and could afford) was heightened by the fact that I had had to wait, (and the fact there wasn't an overwhelming choice!) and couldn't just go straight out and buy what I wanted, and then some more besides, as I used to be able to do. Of course, that old-fashioned habit of days gone by, saving up for something, is a rare beast these days. In these days of credit cards and instant gratification, couples moving into fully furnished, fully equipped homes after weddings which cost more than a 10% deposit on a small family home (and instead of the 10% deposit on a small family home!), saving seems to have become a thing of the past. It's not helped of course, by bank rates offering no improvement on hiding your money in an old sock under the mattress, or by people who have saved by their old age being literally penalized for doing so, as their money is taken for them to pay for care homes when they are in extremis. Yet the feckless, with nothing, get the same care for free.
As I said, I was pondering all this as I walked along. Things are so much more enjoyable when you have to wait for them. Good food (or when you are hungry, ANY food!); a glass of cold water when you've worked up a thirst; a cool shower after exercise on a hot day. Curry is all the better for being made one day and eaten the next, when the spices have blended. An outing all the more enjoyable when it has been postponed and finally enjoyed. Friends and family all the dearer when not seen for a while. The pleasure in finding that out-of-print book you have been hankering after for years is heightened by the years of searching in vain.
My husband once told me about having to save up for a large and rather expensive stamp album he really wanted. For weeks and weeks he saved up his sixpences until finally he had all the money for the stamp album. He arrived at the shop, looked at the album, and realized that he didn't want it any more . . .
Perhaps we should all think more about whether we actually need to buy something, or just WANT to buy it. Perhaps we should practice a little self control. Amazon have our number though, offering the one-click option, so that we will be sorely tempted to buy now and think it over later . . .
The scrummy wool photo at the top of the page was gleaned from Creative Commons . . .