Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Teen Tuesday: Instant Gratification

Instant. Gratification.

Sounds amazing, right?

Instantly you're happy and satisfied and filled with warm fuzzies. Instantly your itch is scratched, and you get what you want RIGHT NOW. Without a moment's hesitation, your wishes and desires are fulfilled.

Want a soda? Great, here's two. Want a piece of triple chocolate cheesecake with truffles on top? Why not the whole thing? Chubby butt? No problem, we've got diet pills. Think Top Choice Grade A Boy is cute? No prob. Just make yourself available.

No prob. Really, it's not. Because if you want something, why shouldn't you have it?

Actually, there are two problems with this mindset:
  1. It feels so dang good to be instantly satisfied. The high from it is nearly addictive and does nothing to train our bodies and our brains to work for results. Instead, we simply go in for another high.
  2. Secondly, the consequences. And Lord, can they pile up.
At sixteen, my daughter already has a handful of friends adventuring into parenthood. Sure that one night of creating the baby was heavenly, but the long term effects are catastrophic. I don't think I need to mention diapers, midnight feedings, two-year-old temper tantrums, teething, potty training, back-talking, learning to read, homework, rule-breaking, groundings and teenage drama for you to get that one night of pleasure can equal an insurmountable amount of time, effort and money. None of which teens have a whole lot of.

But let's not forget about that friend of my friend who shared a romantic evening with Top Choice Grade A boy and brought home a life-long case of genital warts? Life-long. As in she had to tell her fiance before they got married that she would be bringing ugly little friends to bed with them--'til death do they part.

Or that classmate of mine who indulged in a few drinks too many and has been in a wheelchair for the past twenty years? I'm sure his euphoria died the minute his truck struck an electrical pole.

Oh, the pitfalls of instant gratification are many, and trying to avoid them all sounds like a dull and boring life. But, I'm here to testify that it's not. Really. Because if you play it safe--not stupid--you can find those warm fuzzies you crave so much.

"How?" you might ask.

By knowing what you're craving.

Do you want the cute boy to like you, or do you just want everyone to think the cute boy likes you? Because if Cute Boy actually liked you, he'd respect you and wouldn't want you to do something to make yourself look sleazy and skanky. Sure he might want his own instant gratification, but if the long-term craving is different than a quick romp, he'll settle for a cold shower and time spent with you.

If you simply want to feel popular by adding another notch on Cute Boy's bed post then expect some of those unpleasant consequences we talked about earlier. And one we didn't--nobody respects a promiscuous girl. Not even the promiscuous girl herself.

Do you want to drink yourself stupid, or do you want to feel comfortable and cool at the party? Like you actually fit in? Because these are two completely different cravings, and each should be handled differently.

Just an FYI, drinking yourself stupid will only feel good for about 35 minutes. After that, you're just stupid. You'll trip over carpet fuzz and probably puke on the cute boy you're trying to impress. And at the end of the night you'll reek, look like a raccoon from h#ll with your eyeliner dripping down your cheeks and will miss out on all the good things happening around you. Namely the other sober people who just want to hang out and have fun. They do exist.

If you want to feel comfortable hanging with a large group of kids, find the right group of kids. Find the kids who like the things you like. I guarantee you'll be surprised at the number of teens who don't actually want to drink or smoke or act like morons. They're out there. Probably debating if they should drink to fit in, just like you are doing right now.

So, do yourself a favor and take that first step. Reach out to someone you have something in common with. Forge a friendship where instant gratification comes from being with a true friend and all the goofy inside secrets you share. My oldest son and his friends hung out in our living room playing piano, strumming guitar and singing. Sounds quirky, I know, but that's what made them happy. Smart happy, not stupid happy.

If you can do that, you'll have more warm fuzzies than you know what to do with--and no icky surprises that may haunt your life forever.

What kinds of things do you like to do? What quirks or passions do you love about yourself and would like to share with others? Name at least one person (in your mind) you admire for NOT doing all the dumb stuff to fit in.

Just once this week, think before you act. And next week, do it twice!

Alexandra Tys~

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