The “Now” Syndrome

300px Texting in traffic The Now Syndrome

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Look at today’s technological innovations.  Look at all of the different forms of financing.  To help visualize what I’m talking about, I’m going to list a few of them:

What do they all have in common?  They are all different medicines for “now” syndrome.  Now syndrome is a horrible epidemic that is plaguing the world.  We don’t know where it started, but it has spread quickly.  People just can’t seem to wait for anything any longer.

Hurry Up, Faster

We’ve gotten into such a rush that we can’t even cook our own meals anymore!  More and more, people are turning to pre-prepared meals and frozen foods to put dinner on the table.  We can’t save for vacations, we’ll take out loans or put them on the credit card.  We’ll finance everything from clothes to burgers on our credit cards, and we can’t make a phone call, but we’ll send a text instead.

We are so obsessed with looking wealthy that we’ll borrow against our future wages with a payday loan so we can continue paying the $100 cell phone bill, because we need the data package so we can pull up that hilarious Youtube video.  It would be too much of an inconvenience to have to wait, let’s pay so we can have it now.

What Happend

The first microwave ovens were well before my time, but I can only imagine what some people’s opinions were of them.  What we have today is microwaves multiplied by a trillion.  We’ve become so obsessed with time and efficiency that we’re trying to make every aspect of life as compact and convenient as possible, not realizing that we’re actually truncating the good things.

Time with friends and family is being replaced with text messages, Facebook posts, quick cell phone calls, and maybe an in-depth email every once in a while.  Home-made dinner is replaced by “gourmet” frozen foods which have very maternal names and sweet grandma photos printed on the front, when they were actually manufactured by a heartless machine.

Lay away has been replaced by credit cards, savings has been replaced by the emergency credit card, and the list continues on.  “Now” syndrome is sweeping the world off of its feet and washing identities away with it.  We’re getting to the point where we are so disassociated because of our efficiency that kids can’t spell or form proper sentences; we feel awkward when faced with the horror of an actual personal interaction rather than a digital one.

Do You Have Now Syndrome?

I think everyone has it to some extent.  I think many people run into situations where they want something and they don’t want to wait, but it’s also important to draw a line where it doesn’t control you.  When your wants control your cash flow, then you have a problem.  When you’re pushing for something to happen now, stop and consider why the timeline is so short.

Will it do you just as much good a week or month from now?  How about this: do you need this item, or are you replacing a perfectly fine alternative at home? That happens commonly with televisions.  Release yourself from the grips of “now” syndrome before it takes over everything in your life.

Updates:

Comments

  1. says

    I very much agree with this. Stressing out and making things so fast and quick is a surefire way to lose track of enjoying your life and really living it.

    I would prefer eating and making a homecooked meal over opening a package.

    • says

      Hi There Minimalist,

      I’m glad I’m not the only one out there with these thoughts. I hope America gets back on track before we completely forget who we are… or were.

      Thanks,
      Timothy

  2. says

    Today I was explaining to a friend that I don’t have a cell phone, and don’t text, Tweet, Facebook, or Myspace. This was a beautiful post. Well said! Now if you’ll excuse me I have a homecooked quiche to pull out of the oven. :)

    • says

      Hey There Working Poor,

      I’m glad you liked it. It’s been weighing heavily on me lately and I needed to get it out there. Congrats on the Quiche, I hope it turned out well! I’d take a home made Quiche (good or bad) over a TV dinner any day. Even a bad one was made with more heart.

      Thanks,
      Timothy

    • says

      Hey Sam,

      It’s hard, but I’m happy I dumped the smartphone. You don’t realize that you’re “one of those people” until you finally ditch it and get annoyed by what people are doing. Lol, I finally realized “wow, that’s agitating… and I used to do it all the time.”

      Thanks,
      Timothy

  3. says

    Interesting points. I actually agree with your premise, despite the reality that I now have a smart phone and enjoy its features.

    Overall, I think that many folks are addicted to getting the newest, coolest products. It’s a mentality from what’s a bygone era, when as a country we were prosperous enough to live a very nice middle class life even as a factory worker. And maybe get a nice penison to boot. These days, I think we have to focus more on savings and individual accountability….a big part of which is self-control when it comes to unnecessary spending on “cool” new things that we want but don’t really need.

    • says

      Hey Squirrelers,

      Like everything, it requires moderation. One of the worst days of the year (for us financial buffs) is right around the corner. The day that people call of from work, wake up earlier than they normally would (and are happy about it?) and stand in line for hours to get the latest gadgets at the cheapest (often not much cheaper) price of the season. Black Friday.

      I remember when the iPod touches came out people were doing exactly this, and now iPod touches are given away when you purchase laptops. People will stand in line for hours to get a cheaper MP3 player, but when it comes down to teaching their son how to be a man, they’re too busy. This is the reality of today :-/. Thanks for stopping in. Based off of your apple picking post, this isn’t your reality, and that makes me happy.

      Thanks,
      Timothy

      Cite for free ipod claim: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10250085-37.html

  4. says

    Good post. I found your site through http://thesavedquarter.com. It’s so true that so many people have the “now” syndrome. A lot of my immediate family does and as I learn to cook real food and not something from a box kit, I am realizing that things that take time are better than “instant.” I silly example of this is oatmeal. Old fashioned is much better than instant. :D

    Seriously though, mounting debt, the now syndrome, and rampant financial immaturity are slowly killing our country.

    • says

      Hi Mary,

      I’m glad that you found us! You’re definitely not alone. I think we all know people with “Now” syndrome. My wife had a friend that has a credit card to JC Penney, and was happy to find out that they raised her limit. She was going to max the card on her husband’s birthday, but now with the new limit, she had plenty of options. She even told my wife that they may use the card for all of their Christmas shopping.

      My wife responded “isn’t that kind of a dangerous thing to do?” Her friend replied “No, I’ll just use my student loan to pay it off.” To which my wife about fell over. Her friend said it is her way of “contributing.” My wife is just thinking “yeah, contributing to a debt bomb that is set to explode 6 months after you graduate!” The “Now” syndrome is all around us, luckily, it’s not too contagious if you build up your immunity.

      Thanks,
      Timothy

  5. says

    Hear, hear!
    I concur!

    Almost every day I find myself making excuses (not reasons) as to why I’m purchasing food instead of making it. (I don’t have time, I’m too tired, blah, blah, blah.) I’m trying (little by little) to change my habits. It’s difficult.

    Also, I have really noticed this phone trend with the teens I’ve taught at church. It seems that they ‘all’ have to have the latest and greatest ‘top-o-the-line’ phone that does everything except brush their teeth for them. Believe me, I’ve had to take several away because they were too busy being self-absorbed to pay attention to the lesson that they were there to learn. You should see the looks on their faces when I ask them to hand it over….almost as if they think I’m going to keep it forever. And you can almost see what’s going through their minds at the time; how am I going to survive without my phone for and hour and a half!?!

    I call it the ‘me’ generation. Because it’s all about ‘me’!

    This year I made changes to my finances and I’m paying off my debt. It’s slowing coming down and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. There is more that I can and want to do and I’m taking small steps towards making them happen. Because I know myself; if I do everything at once, I won’t stick with it. Whereas, if I take smaller steps and space them apart, I know that I’ll stick with my goal.

    • says

      Hi Kathy,

      It really is sad, because the kids don’t realize how much all of this technology impairs their social skills. They don’t realize they are incapable of handling in-person communication, let alone any formal meetings. I can’t imagine that a job interview would go well if you sat their browsing your phone while they asked you questions!

      The technology is convenient and inconvenient at the same time. But a child’s ability to function socially, and spell correctly are deteriorating rapidly. Keep doing what you’re doing because you’re helping them in the long run! Great job on paying down the debt as well. It sounds like you’re moving in a sound and biblically correct direction :).

      Thanks,
      Timothy

Trackbacks

  1. [...] One of the biggest hurdles I face when keeping to our budget is…. ( I say “I face” because Humble Timothy doesn’t care much about decorating) is dealing with my uncontrollable urge to get things done.  Once I started something, I need to finish it ASAP!  Humble Timothy calls it “Now Syndrome.” [...]

  2. [...] One of the biggest hurdles I face when keeping to our budget is…. ( I say “I face” because Humble Timothy doesn’t care much about decorating) is dealing with my uncontrollable urge to get things done.  Once I started something, I need to finish it ASAP!  Humble Timothy calls it “Now Syndrome.” [...]