I’ve been contemplating the word “convenient” lately. We want out lives to be convenient so we can save time and energy to do what we really want to do. Isn’t that really what our lives are all about? We have dishwashers to make it easier to do the dishes. We have clothes washers so we can have more clothes to wear, but have to do less work to take care of them. We have cars because we don’t want to walk, or can’t walk. We have cell phones to make it easier for folks to communicate with us so we no longer have to wait for a more convenient time. What’s more convenient than RIGHT NOW?
I do love my appliances like my refrigerator, washing machine and my electric hot water pot. Now that it’s just me at home, I’m no longer so attached to my dishwasher – I’ve rediscovered the joys of warm soapy water in the winter. I know I don’t want to have to live without some of my conveniences. But I’ve been thinking that maybe all that convenience isn’t sustainable. All my conveniences come at a price – ultimately for the environment, but for me personally as well.
I look at so much of the rest of the world and the reality is few other people have the conveniences that I do. Things I take for granted are unheard of luxuries for most of the world’s population. But I live in America. It’s unpatriotic to live without conveniences right? Isn’t that part of the American Dream – to have things that make my life easier so I have more time and energy to do what I really want to do? But what is it that I really want to do? Do I honestly want to spend more time on my cell phone so I can be more accessible to others? Do I want to have more time so I can watch television or surf the Internet? What is it I really want to do with my time, energy and conveniences?
I’ve decided that what I really want to do is live more intentionally. I want to live a less convenient life and a more deliberate life. I’ve done a good job the past several years getting up in the morning and allowing my day to rule my life in a reactionary way. I haven’t been good at planning so that I can live intentionally. I do believe in being spontaneous and not scheduling every breath you take, but there has to be a balance between being deliberate and just letting life happen to you.
So I’m going to try and be more intentional with my life. One area I want to work on is being more deliberate about living a sustainable life. That means utilizing fewer conveniences, because they use those commodities like electricity and water that we need to conserve.
I know that living a less convenient life is a pain. It takes effort. It can be hard work. It definitely takes time which means I have to be more intentional about planning so I can embrace the inconvenience.
I want to live in greater harmony with my body and my surroundings. I live in Wyoming – I totally understand how crappy it can be to walk when the wind is howling and it’s freaking cold outside. But why not? If other people can do it because they have no choice, why can’t I even though I do have a choice? Why am I so special that I get to use that gallon of gasoline to drive the half mile to the store?
A less convenient life means I’ll doing my body a favor. I’ll be exercising muscles that frankly could use the work. I’ll clear my mind by getting outside and breathing the cold air and experiencing that altogether oddest of sensations of having your nasal hairs freeze. I’ll flood my heart with joy while watching how easily a raven negotiates the wind that I’m battling against.
I’ll also be doing my world a favor. If we each did one thing that wasn’t convenient, it would add up. When I walk instead of drive I don’t use gasoline and I don’t contribute to carbon emissions. And I save myself some money – I figure walking instead of driving is a great way to give myself a pay raise. All of our little efforts count. All of the times we walk, plant a flower, turn off the tap between rinsing dishes and open the curtains instead of switching on the overhead light all count. Singly it’s not huge, but you can fill a bucket one drop of at a time.
I’ll keep you posted on how my inconvenient life is going! Expect to hear some complaining!