Last Thursday morning, I underwent a brief and relatively easy medial procedure, but one that required me to be under "twilight" anesthesia for about twenty minutes. I spent the rest of the day feeling awake but sluggish, wishing that I'd get all my energy back without having to spend a stir-crazy day camped out on the couch. I developed a few side effects from the morning that, while fairly routine, made me feel sore, tired, and frustrated. All I wanted was a quick fix that would help me feel like myself ASAP. I spend the afternoon (and the next day) looking things up on Google to see if there were anything to do to speed along recovery. The answer? Drink lots of water, take Tylenol for aches and pains, and give it time; symptoms will resolve in about seven days.
I was not amused. How frustrating! I mean, how dare there be no way for me to solve my discomfort other that to stay hydrated and wait things out! What do you mean there's nothing else I can do?
I, like so many others in this day and age and place, have come to rely on quick fixes. Technology helps me move fast and take care of things in an instant. Twenty-four hour grocery stores mean that I can always buy eggs at midnight when I'm baking cupcakes for tomorrow's meeting and didn't plan ahead enough to make sure I had all the ingredients. I have enough in my savings account that I can just buy an umbrella if I forgot mine at home. No matter how long I've been eating junk and not exercising, I can buy exercise videos that promise to reshape my body in as little as 30 days, with results becoming apparent after only a week.
And the speed of the world offers me the seductive - and irrational! - reasoning that no matter how long it takes to get into a mess, all I have to do is snap my fingers, and I can reverse my fortune in an instant.
It is the promise of all advertising. It is the hope of all technology. And it is the rhetoric of all presidential election season discourse.
Whether cutting down your opponent for not turning the country around in a short three and a half years, or promising that you will be the one to turn the economy around in this next four year span, it is misleading and unhelpful to base campaigns around the idea that if you can't fix things quickly, then you are doing it wrong. That all of our hopes and dreams and pains and needs can be fixed and fulfilled in the blink of an eye.
We are impatient, I think. We speed along side streets, racing one another to red lights. We want our food to be fast, and our computers to be fast, and our phones to do things quickly, and we want all of our human struggles and pains to just hurry up and get better.
But I don't think that's the way the world works. Not everything comes with a quick fix. And just as baking a cake from scratch takes time...and becomes the most delicious thing you've ever eaten!, so do I think that many things in our life - politics, food, health, medicine, conversations - end up much much better when we give them the space and the time that they deserve to truly flourish.