The Struggle of Excelling at the Marshmallow Test

Do you know the Marshmallow Experiment?  More specifically, the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment (in case you know of various Marshmallow Experiments, in which case, I would rather like to hear about them).  Anyway, a quick overview: You put a child in a room with a marshmallow, and tell them that you’re going to leave, and that they are allowed to eat their marshmallow, but if they refrain from doing so, you’ll give them another marshmallow when you come back.  It was designed to test the ability of delaying gratification.

Anyway, when I was a kid, I would have aced the Marshmallow test.  Not only that, I’m pretty sure that once I got the two marshmallows, they would have lasted half an hour.  Each.  I was the Princess of Delaying Gratification.  I always had a tiny stash of candy somewhere in my room–and I remember vividly the miniscule bites I would take daily to make a regular-sized Snickers bar last a couple of weeks.  I would get an activity book as a present, and not a pencil would touch those pages for months.

And you know what?  Generally, by the time the preciousness had worn off, and I felt like maybe I could do a dot-to-dot, I was pretty much beyond the age when dot-to-dots are fun (except when they have a hundred dots, those are still fun.).  And the last few miniscule bites of that Snickers bar were stale, dry, and sad.

It has taken me years (twenty six and counting, about) to get past this.  I am definitely still not past it (says the moldy vegan Chorizo in the fridge that I was “saving for a special dinner”).  But I’m getting better.

If I have just baked up some fresh, warm, soft-and-a-tiny-bit-chewy chocolate chip cookies, I’m going to eat them.  Now.  Because they are delicious now, and you know what?  If I’m desperate next week for some cookies…I’ll make some more cookies, for goodness’ sake!

If I want to knit a sweater with a bunch of lovely yarn from my stash, I’m going to knit that sweater instead of giving in to my inner wonderings of “is there something better I could knit with this yarn?  Shouldn’t I save this yarn for a *insert project that’s never going to happen here*”  Because there is always going to be another visit to a yarn store, and there will be more beautiful yarn, and I’m not doing anyone any favors saving the yarn I’m in love with until I’ve fallen out of love, and it’s just another skein in my stash to be tossed around and tangled by a rampant toddler.

So I’m going to do it.  I’m going to use something I love today!  Eat something I really want to eat today!  I know those lemons on the counter could have a million uses.  “Shouldn’t I make lemonade this weekend?  Or maybe I should wait until I need more salad dressing and use them for that”  Make lemon cookies if you feel like making lemon cookies!  Binge watch that show on Netflix because you know what?  In two weeks, there’s going to be another show to watch, and you won’t care that you’ve “used up” all the episodes of this one!

Today, I’m giving myself permission to be sensible for once, and do something I really want to do when I really want to do it!  I know I’m never really going to change.  I will always wait for the second marshmallow.  But maybe when that second marshmallow makes its appearance, I’ll grab life by the fresh marshmallows and shove at least one of them into my mouth whole, while it’s still squishy, sweet, and delightfully puffy.


2 thoughts on “The Struggle of Excelling at the Marshmallow Test

  1. Beautifully written! I like you get 100% plus bonus points on the marshmallow test and like you it has lead to clothes going out of style before they are fully worn or food going bad. I am trying to get better and do things when I want but it is hard, I however have no problem with TV shows those I will watch like a maniac for hours!

  2. Haha, I’m totally with you on this one. I was the exact same with a small candy stash, pretty pencils that I never sharpened, fun stickers that I never used, and the list goes on. Does it run in the family?? I’m not nearly as bad now. Partly due to the fact that I have a husband who will eat his share of the cookies and then look at me with puppy dog eyes the next day when I am still eating some of mine. Sometimes it’s not worth saving my goodies if I have to share them LOL. I still have a lovely small skein of yarn that Saffron made and dyed for me because I couldn’t decide on a project worthy of it, and a skein of wool from Jemia from Scotland. One of these days…

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