I didn’t know I needed instant gratification.

That’s not something I ever really paid attention to. The need for instant gratification. The need to put something out there, for someone, and get back what I needed, emotionally, in return, almost immediately.

I’d never known that about myself.

Until I started playing music.

Being a dj, in a club full of women, playing music for them, provided instant gratification. It’s that kind of job (though it never felt like a job, not ever). You play the tunes, they either love what you play, or they don’t. Your feedback is the number of bodies you get on the dance floor: instant gratification. When my mentor first mentioned this to me, I was mystified. Once I’d been doing it for awhile, I understood it better. And understood that it was something that fed some hunger in me I’d never known existed. 

Later on, I learned that I actually am that kind of person: I require instant gratification. Outside of playing music, in every day situations, if I give you something of myself, no matter how small, I need something in return, some kind of recognition, acknowledgement, to let me know that you have received what I have given, and that what I have given has affected you in some way. Positive or negative. It doesn’t matter. I. Need. To. Know.

For awhile, when I’d send her something, I would receive that acknowledgement. That recognition, that I had put myself out there, for her. An email, an explanation, a thank you. Lately, that hasn’t happened. I know why. She’s exhausted at the end of the day, she’s not one to check her email on a regular basis (though she’s gotten better with that since we’ve come together), and when she does check now, I believe she feels that since we’ll talk the next day (we always do), it’s okay to just hold her thoughts and words and feelings until then.

Yet I’m impatient. 

I can send flowers days ahead, and know when she’ll receive them (roughly), and wait with anticipation for her to tell me of her surprise. But if I send some poem or rambling thought process of emotion, I expect something almost immediately in return. It makes no sense, really. My impatience. My requirement for instant gratification. 

But there’s a tempering factor now. Where once I would have asked, perhaps demanded to be acknowledged, that no longer occurs. Now I am patient enough to wait for her recognition. To know that what I have done, my actions, will be received and, eventually, acknowledged. Positively. So positively.

Over the years, and with the help of learning through some very poor relationships, I have come to understand that instant gratification, while not a bad thing, is not all it’s cracked up to be.

But I find I cannot easily let go of the need. However, I’ve also found that, unlike in previous relationships, I feel no need to tell her of this. I may never tell her of this.

This, then, is growth. I have grown.

My god, how I have grown.