Single Steps Strategies Blog

Delayed Gratification – Alive and Well and Living in Las Vegas

“I need it now.” “Life is too short to wait.”  “I just can’t wait.”

Unfortunately, with the rush of the world today, and the fact that anything can be bought on credit, there seems to be no reason to wait for anything we want.  The problem with this “buy now, pay later” philosophy finds people needing to “pay the piper”  at just the time they are going into retirement, finding their way into a Long Term Care facility; or as they lose their job, as they have a family crisis, as the business begins to fold, or when the market goes down. 

But my mother had an expression that “good things come to those who wait.”  Or in my world that means good things come when we plan and prepare.  Delayed Gratification.  Waiting for the right time to get the right thing that you want.

I relived this lesson recently when I was on a two-week vacation in Italy.  In my travel group was a mother, probably in her late 40’s and her two teen-age children.  I got the impression there was no dad in the picture.  Not sure why.  But really didn’t matter.

The children were delightful, well-behaved, mannerly, and used to spending time with adults.  They we so respectful to their mom. 

They were clearly Hispanic, and the mom probably immigrated to the United States. They lived and worked in Las Vegas. 

One afternoon as we strolled along the streets of Sorento, I found myself walking side by side with the mom. I had to tell her how wonderful I thought her children were.

She shared their story. 

Many years ago, they decided as a family that having “things” was not as important as having family time, experiences, and travel.  So, they downsized their house.  And stopped buying “things” and decided on a plan of experiences they would like to have.

She told me that the biggest thing on their planning list was to do a vacation in Italy before the children went off to or completed college.  Along the way they did other things.  Short trips, interesting activities on weekends, and life experience when they could.  They simplified, saved, and planned.

It took them 5 years to come up with the money they needed to pay cash for the 3 of them to take the trip and have enough money to spend when they got to Italy.  One afternoon, my friend Tom and the daughter were walking through a market when she spotted an Italian scarf, she thought was beautiful. Tom suggested she buy it.  She told him she had 20 Euros to spend that day (they each had a daily budget) and she would rather spend it on an evening in the city than on a scarf.  What a great life choice for such a young girl.

I had to think about the last time I had heard of a family or a person, even, who wanted to do something and they planned and saved and waited 5 years.  I remembered a few who paid and went; a few who didn’t go; and quite a few who charged it and planned to pay for it over time.

The beauty of this family’s decision is that they planned, saved, paid, and went; and then they came home filled with the knowledge that there were no regrets.  An amazing life choice that will stay in their memory as the kids grow and have families of their own.

The perfect example of living abundantly.

– Mary Grace Musuneggi