One day when we went to the grocery store, I thought it would be a normal outing to buy food but it was different because I went with my father. Arriving at the store, my dad went straight to the wine aisle. He carefully read each bottle’s contents and took extra care handling them. I had no idea my father loved wine this much.
“Jonathan, do you think you can go do the grocery shopping while I look at the wine?” he asked.
“Uh, uh, I don’t-” I stuttered.
“Please, son, I’ll be here forever if we don’t get something done.”
“Alright,” I said, reluctantly. I never did like grocery shopping, especially when I was the one doing it!
“Here’s the list. Have fun!” And just like that, he returned to looking at the contents of the wine bottles.
Every night after dinner, my father makes his way to the pantry and takes out a bottle of wine as delicately as handling a newborn baby. He gets a wine glass and pours half a glass of wine. He then slowly moves toward his chair, sprawls in it, lets out a deafening sigh, and starts reading the newspaper while slowly tasting his ever-so-fragile wine. My dad loves his wine.
One day while making a sandwich, I noticed the date on one of the wine bottles. I then ripped it out of the pantry and sprinted toward my father.
“Dad, Dad!” I exclaimed. “This wine is way past its expiration date.”
“Son, hold on,” he said.
“No, you can’t drink this tonight!”
“Wait, let me tell you-”
“Would you like me to throw it away for you? Huh? Huh?” I asked.
“Ha, ha, no. Let me explain something,” my father said jovially.
“But -” I didn’t want my father getting sick.
“Son, wait a second,” he said more sternly. I guess the possibility of my throwing away his wine had kicked in.
“Son, some wines get better over time. The longer you wait to drink it, the better it will be. Although this may seem strange, it is true.”
When I was young, I didn’t have any understanding of what this meant but now, looking back, this would have been very helpful to remember as I went through adolescence.
In our society, we forget this simple rule: The longer you wait for certain things, the better they will be. But we want the best job as quickly as possible; we want to graduate from college in as few years as possible; we even speed through our homework just to chit-chat with friends. When we do this, we lose sight of the fundamentals.
We are all so intent on getting to the next step quickly that we will do anything to get there. This has a negative effect on our society. We become blood-thirsty zombies trying to get what we want. In a job situation, we want that promotion so much that we will step on others. When trying to go to the right college, we will do anything to get in and when we rush through our homework, we may not study enough for the test, and end up failing. All these common situations have one thing in common: they could all be solved if we just took our time.
When we don’t fully prepare ourselves for the next level, we become a society of people who aren’t ready, but want the rewards of reaching the next level. This cheats others who have prepared and deserve the job. We need to be ready for whatever comes, ready for the unexpected. Just as wine gets better over time, so will the things in our paths.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.