We are a society of quick fixes. We have fast food, grocery pick up, streaming shows on demand, and anything our little brains want can be shipped to our door in a matter of hours by Amazon. This is a thing in big cities, y’all. I ordered my Chicago daughter a book on Prime, and she had it in her hot little hand that afternoon! One thing we don’t do well is to work long and hard at something without hope of an instant reward. Delayed gratification is one of my biggest challenges.
I like stuff now. But the good stuff takes time, by design. If it’s really good, it’s worth the wait. Take my beloved husband, for instance. We grew up in the same town and knew a lot of the same people, but we never met. I had to go through countless relationships, kissed a LOT of frogs, and married a few, before I found my prince. And then we WORKED at it.
Happily ever after doesn’t just happen, it takes work and the patience of a saint.
Every time I pick up his dirty socks in places that dirty socks should not be, I sigh and say, “He’s worth it.“ He’s worth the time and effort, because he’s my person. All the flashy, cool people come and go, and he is still here, making me food and cocktails and holding my hand when things get weird and baffling. We are going on 24 years together, some amazing, some crappy and scary, and we are still here. Because we are worth the time and effort.
I spoke with a volleyball mom the other day about camps. I asked about the skill level of her daughter to advise her on the right camp. I said, “How long has she played, and what is her skill level?“ The mom said, “She’s played once, but she was very good. Not advanced, but very skilled.“ You cannot be skilled at volleyball, or any complex task, after one time, one week, one month, or one year. It takes lots of time, effort, and repetition to develop complex skills, and 10,000 hours to attain mastery according to Malcolm Gladwell, one of my favorite authors and podcasters. When my volleyball girls whine about not making a serve or shanking a pass, I tell them, “If you haven’t put in 10,000 hours, then you have nothing to complain about. KEEP PRACTICING!“
Anyone can give up when things get tough. I wanted to give up on my sweetie a few times in the last 24 years, but we stuck it out. Now we’ve gotten to the mastery of being together. It’s so much easier, because we’ve practiced what not to do and what to keep on doing more. So, if you have something that’s really important to you, know that it will take time, attention, and grit to attain mastery. What is worth your time and attention for the long haul, and what isn’t? Write it down and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org — it would make my day!