Instant is Inferior

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The verdict is in! “Instant” is inferior.

Yesterday, as I was chipping away at the Instant Dry Nail Polish that I had put on the day before, I started thinking about all the “instants” in our daily lives – instant mashed potatoes, instant milk, instant soup, instant coffee, instant cocoa, instant cider, instant oatmeal, instant sweet tea (shudder), instant nail polish, even instant underwear. And then there are all the quick versions to make things “convenient”, even though they don’t use the word instant in their description – bagged salad, slice and bake cookies, frozen pizza, digital cameras, diet pills, credit cards, pay day loans, e-cards. There are so many, many more.

After asking friends on Facebook, we are in agreement that the instant versions pretty much suck. The Instant Dry Nail Polish I was chipping at with my nails lasted about an hour before it started chipping on its own. One hour. Instant mashed potatoes don’t even taste like real potatoes. And don’t even get me started on instant coffee and tea.

As Elite points out in this article 3 years ago, we live in an age of instant gratification. We want everything the way we want it, and we want it now.

One down side of this instant gratification mentality is that everything and everyone becomes disposable. You don’t like the photo you just snapped? Delete it. Don’t like what so-and-so posts on Facebook? Defriend her. Don’t like how your husband spends money? Divorce him.

People used to have the mentality that you work for a reward. The greater the reward is, the further you must go to get it. When my grandparents were young, if they wanted a car or a house, they saved money for it. They didn’t go get a loan. If they didn’t have the money then they didn’t get it til they did. We’ve pretty much given up this idea. If we start a business and it doesn’t immediately succeed, then we’re ready to throw in the towel and try something new or give up altogether.

We don’t want to work for or wait for anything, whether it’s waiting for nail polish to dry or working toward a better relationship with the person you’re currently with. We want quick, easy, instant results. Another downside of this type of thinking is that the quality of what you get isn’t nearly as good as if you had waited and worked for the real thing.

Taking the time to brew coffee, especially if you’re grinding the beans yourself, is far better tasting than instant coffee granules. How can they even call it coffee?! Instant oatmeal is severely lacking in texture. Frozen pizza and bagged salad doesn’t taste nearly as good as what you can make yourself. The satisfaction and confidence gained through losing weight by proper eating and exercise is so much more rewarding than swallowing a quick fix pill. Enduring trials in a relationship is better than giving up and trying a new one. And the time it takes for nail polish to dry is well worth the wait and frustration, even though it still doesn’t last very long on my nails.

We have become impatient and immature. We’re like children throwing temper tantrums because we’re not getting what we want fast enough. We can either settle for the instant, cheap imitations of what we want, or we can work hard and wait patiently for the real thing.

I know which one I want. What about you?

 

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