Follow Friday + Nicki's Personal Updates: When Patience Isn't a Virtue

Patience isn't a virtue

I’m not a very patient person.

I think I used to be a very patient person, actually. As a child and as a teenager, I was the pinnacle of delayed gratification, always believing that my best days were before me. This, in turn, lead to many a night in high school, college, and medical school studying – I was, admittedly, the person who studied ahead. I brought all of my textbooks home. It was nerdy! I guess I thought it would all be worth it someday.

But after a few glimpses of the lives of the people who managed to have lives and get good grades (thank you, Facebook), I started to realize that maybe patience and delayed gratification weren’t all they were chalked up to be. Maybe you didn’t have to wait for every enjoyment in life.

It probably took me till I was 26 to realize this; I think I was the most diligent student alive before I realized that I needed to start enjoying my life and accomplishing things.

The pendulum might have swung a little too far the other direction, though. All of a sudden, I didn’t want to wait for anything. I started carrying a book in my purse, so I would have something to read in checkout lines. I found spending instead of saving, indulging in life’s little pleasures – anything from lunch at a cafe instead of from a brown bag, to a new outfit I could afford for a benefit rather than something hanging in my closet. I was having fun, being spontaneous about life for the first time. And it was refreshing. At first.

Then that, too, got a little out of hand. And after gaining a significant amount of weight and falling behind on my savings/investment plan, I started to realize something. Like most things in life, patience requires balance. Too much patience, and you end up feeling unsatisfied, depleted, living for the promise of something that may never come (or may come in a different form than you had anticipated). On the other hand, too little patience, and you end up with some fun memories and a few cute outfits, but a bigger waistline and a smaller bank account.

So I’ve resolved to take a more balanced approach. That goes for how I am running FutureDerm as well as my own life. For instance, we have a brand-new website with all kinds of amazing features premiering in August. The very young me would have never even mentioned it now, toiling away, day and night, on every single detail. The me a year or so ago would have probably released it too soon, and had a lot of people upset that there were broken or incomplete features, but been gleeful it was released.

As for me, now? A sly mention here, yes, but I am abiding by a developed strategy – let’s get excited about it (it’s amazing!), but at the same time, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. One day, one bit of progress, at a time. Perhaps it lacks the luster of promise at the end, as in my youth, or the blissful glee of immediate gratification I experienced for the past few years. But it is the right balance, and what I have grown into believing.

You don’t always get what you want in life. Or if you get it, you may get it at a different time or in a different way than you anticipated. It’s one of the reasons why retailers are able to sell merchandise at full price to begin with – there’s no guarantee the dress will still be there, in your size, in the color you want, by the time it goes on sale. And there’s no guarantee you will still be the same, in form or desire or condition, by the time it goes on sale. Immediate gratification is not the nonsensical animalistic tendency sociologists often label it to be; it makes sense, in a certain light. And it, too, has its time and place.

In essence, I’m learning all of the balances once must achieve in life – patience, discipline, and others – are considered to be virtues because they are right the majority of the time. But there is magic to be had in chasing one’s own whims from time to time as well. Sometimes that is what makes life worth living. And I think I’m doing just that.

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by Nicki Zevola

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