I've been thinking about the way that Americans live. I read this quote by David Johnson in the Tribune on Sunday and it really captured what I've been thinking about, "We're busy modern Americans, and sometimes we all need to go for the more convenient thing. But when our whole life model is based on convenience, I think we've lost something." I fit this model at times but am proud that there are many inconveniences that I practice for the better of my own life and the planet. For instance, I birth my babies at home and without medication (that's certainly not convenient), I cloth diaper, I recycle everything, I refuse to throw out bread crumbs or old grains of any sort, I cook with whole fresh foods, I use gentle discipline with my children, and many other things. It makes me feel good that not everything I do is convenient. I think there is personal growth when work is involved, and generally when something is convenient it takes little work to achieve something.
However, there are still many actions and decisions that I make based on convenience. I use a dishwasher and dryer. I eat out probably more than I should, I buy more than what I need so that I don't have to clean/wash stuff often, I drive my car nearly everywhere, and do lots of other convenient crap because well, I'm an American and lazy as hell. I also go crazy for fun and cute. I'm all about cute. If something is cute or funny, I buy it. Jenny spends hours in Hallmark and sends me hilarious cards for any purpose she can. I think this falls into my same values of if it's cute/funny buy it.
As far as other items that are available, the creators of products are giving us a million choices. Customizatiopn is huge right now. Everyone wants to think that they are the only one with the pink and black polka dot ipod. Honey, tons of people have it. And I'm not even going to mention the fact that all of this choice creates much more waste than is even comprehendable. I can't imagine how many items get cast aside when the next pink and white polka dot ipod comes along. It's so sad. You want customization? You want to be unique? Here's an idea...make something yourself. What a thought! Okay back to the convenience rant.
Here's the thing, is it really convenient to buy lots of toys for your child so that they never have to figure out how to entertain themsleves using their imagination, or own 20 t-shirts so you can go weeks without washing them, or eating out and losing the great conversations had during cooking, and cleanup? We are losing more and more contact with ourselves and others because we are too busy trying to make things easy on ourselves. Isn't it true that we cannot grow as people unless we become uncomfortable? We should all worry about ourselves if we have become complacent. I'm not saying happy here, I'm saying complacent. There's a difference. I believe anyone can be happy at any time, its a choice involving attitude and perspective. I need to remind myself of that often.
I wonder how different life would be if we had to make our own bread, kill and prepare our own chickens, travel on our own two feet, or make all of our own clothing and home furnishings. I think life would be a lot slower, we would spend more time with each other as human beings, we would feel more pride in ourselves and appreciate the knowledge of our frieneds more. We would be happy and life would be simpler and perhaps even more convenient because of it.