Scary stories from a lovely place
When I was 17 I was hiking with some friends up Pigeon House Mountain which is on the south coast of New South Wales. It’s a steep walk, climaxed by the use of ladders for the final climb. One of the guys on the walk kept encouraging us all to keen going by reminding us that hiking was delayed gratification. It was hard in the moment, but at the end we would enjoy a spectacular view and the satisfaction of completing the walk – just like life and life after death – the new creation.
Since then ‘delayed gratification’ has always been one of my favourite expressions. The two words are each mellifluous in their own right, and paired together they conjure up all sorts of interesting thoughts in my mind.
This week I’ve had another experience that piques for me the meaning of delayed gratification. A few weeks ago I ordered a book from Book Depository and today, it arrived. The book is ‘Why Love Matters’. It’s about the physical and psychological effects of affection and love on a growing baby’s mind. A friend recommended it to me months ago and I have wanted to read it ever since. I’ve been knocking it into ebay every now and then but couldn’t find it. I had thought I might receive it as a birthday present. When the 11th July came and went with no appearance of ‘Why Love Matters’ I decided to cave and buy it myself. It was $18.
Since arriving in Australia in May, until a few weeks ago when Stephen started working, we have been living off savings and free money that the government are giving us just because we have kids. It was a lot of money and enough to live off while we don’t have any major financial obligations. But our budget is tight and so the purchase of ‘Why Love Matters’ always seemed like a luxury rather than a possibility.
I wonder if one good description of affluence is the ability to buy stuff on the spot. Another would be the ability to buy non-essential stuff at all. It has been good to delay and delay and delay the purchase of the book. When I ordered it I was so excited. I knew that the book I had wanted to read for ages was on its way. Just like on that bushwalk, when the book arrived I felt the meaning of delayed gratification. It has made the purchase and ownership of the book all the more sweet.