We like convenience in our busy society. Convenience sells. Convenience makes life easier. We might say convenience makes the hectic pace of life possible. But how often do we stop to consider what we are giving up?
If we were really honest with ourselves, would we find that convenience has become one of our life values—something we will sacrifice other values in order to get?
Sometimes life is hectic and convenience is worth paying for, but is it a good idea to make convenience our way of life? I think our society has become addicted to convenience. I see signs of it in my own life.
For example: When pre-shredded cheese first hit the local store, I was suspicious. Was it more expensive? Did it taste as good? But I was a busy mother and shredded cheese was darned convenient. It quickly became my standard way to buy cheese. It was fast, it was affordable, and I didn’t spend much time pondering the quality.
Shredded vs. non-shredded cheese. Not a big deal, in and of itself, but when I make decision after decision based on what is most convenient, I have made convenience one of my life values—whether I realize it or not.
Lately I have been rethinking my appreciation for convenience. Partly because I’m paying more attention to what I eat, and partly because I’ve been trying to be more intentional about living according to my values.
I have come to realize that convenience often clashes with what I claim are my values.
- Shopping. I like the idea of supporting local businesses, yet stopping at various local stores is less convenient than going to WalMart and doing all the shopping at once. I am trying to be more intentional about making the effort to buy local.
- Healthy eating. If I want to remain fit and healthy long-term, I need to pay attention to what I eat, which means fewer additives, less processed food. Cooking healthier takes more planning and longer preparation, but I am willing to give up convenience in order to gain better quality—both in taste and nutrition.
- Getting involved. I sometimes write about the benefits of learning something new or making a difference. Yet, as an introvert I am happy spending most of my time alone, doing what I want to do, in my way, on my terms. Staying home is easier than driving somewhere to attend a class or volunteering at a local organization. I have to be intentional about getting out and getting involved. Some days I am frustrated when volunteer obligations interfere with my writing goals, but I believe that in the long-term I’ve made the better choice.
- Availability. People and relationships are some of my most important values, yet making room in my schedule for others and their needs is often inconvenient. I have work goals, responsibilities, and plans for how I spend my free time. When I sense conflict between my personal agenda and a relationship or need that crops up, I remind myself that convenience is not a value, while spending time with people is.
Where has convenience crept into your life and taken over? Where might it be time to get more intentional and fight back?