Lisbeth Salander & The Beauty of Delayed Gratification

We’re living in a time when there is no reason to be bored. It’s a complaint people voice often, but it still catches me off guard when I hear someone say “I’m so bored…” or  “There’s no good movies anymore…” Are these people even paying attention? Are they passionate about anything? I wonder what it is that is so fun for them in the first place. I can understand it if someone wants to grab lunch or a beer but their friends are busy (i.e. if they actually want to do something). But if someone has interests and wants to stay clued in, it’s never been easier. I do nothing and have never been busier. I’m deeply interested in sports, comedy, history, and crime. I’m constantly consuming media and I’m confused why more people don’t do the same with what they’re interested in. I follow people I’m a fan of on Twitter, read articles about Mountain Dew, and listen to podcasts about the real life Moby Dick.

Before we go on, I should point out I’m lucky enough to have a job where I’m able to never take out my headphones if I so choose. If I wanted to be a weirdo and never talk to anyone I work with, I’d have 50 hours of uninterrupted listening time a week (something I daydream about often but have never had the gall to do). Music got old fast, I love it and listen to quite a bit every day but its tough to fill a whole day with punk rock and Motown. I need to keep my brain occupied at work (#occupymybrain? Sorry) which is where audio books and podcasts (but for the sake of this post let’s just talk about audio books) come into play. This will come as no surprise to all my rabid Swedish followers, but The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was probably the best book I’ve read listened to yet. It was dark, disturbing, and 20 hours long but I caught myself listening when I changed my laundry in the middle of the night and taking the long way home so I could get in a few more minutes.

I’ve wanted to read the book for some time but now that the (excellent) movie is out, I forced myself to dig in before seeing the film. Consequently, the past week or so has been Dragon Tattoo mania. I don’t want to talk about the story, but aside from losing sleep over wondering who the murderer was I enjoyed it so much for one big fat reason: Delayed Gratification. The concept is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Instead of overindulging in my time with Blomkvist, Lisbeth Salander, and British audio book reader Simon Vance (who has been a close friend over the past week) I’d save it for the part of my day when I could enjoy a coffee or take a ride to Subway. Because I (mostly) avoided marathon listening sessions and kept it as a treat, it became the dangling carrot in front of me throughout the day.

Obviously, delayed gratification works on more than audio books. Maybe America wouldn’t be so full of fat, entitled slobs if more people exercised a little bit of self-control. There is a reason a cold beer tastes so good after a hard day instead of on the way to a job. Delayed gratification is more than eating cake for dessert instead of breakfast, it could be something as big as living in a dingy apartment in order to put down money on a house. I’m dying to start The Girl Who Played With Fire but since there’s only three books in the Millennium trilogy, I’d be doing the equivalent of slamming chocolate cake down with my breakfast cereal.

I’m constantly plugged in and have such a backlog of content I want to get to it’s overwhelming. During important times like exam weeks I put just as much pressure on myself to get through podcast episodes as to study. Being bored is a waste of time.

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