I really want to cover on the fact that we are living some so called american dream, where instead we are actually living in an american excess. The truth about this society we live in, is that instead of being happy with our very wealthy society and enjoying the fact that we have access to everything. Then the moment we are without something minor like hot water we freak out and feel extremely inconvenienced, that’s what it really is, the feeling of convenience is what our society cherishes so much. Why? It’s simple because everything about our society is convenient, food is close, water is close, roofs are above our head, travel is possible and there are so many other possibilities. The entire American dream was based around the idea of convenience. Food became time consuming to make, so we brought in fast food. Laundry was time consuming, we created washing machines to do it for us and so forth.
So on the whole concept of simplicity and simplifying your life we should talk about the things that are convenient and maybe work on those. Because having a couple inconveniences is not a problem, it builds character. Imagine that you went without a formal laundry machine, that would be tough, that would be inconvenient. So well what would we do instead? Well like the rest of the world you would have to do your laundry by hand, which is possible. Time consuming but possible. Washing the laundry by hand is time consuming, it is also relaxing and a bit of a workout.
By doing things the inconvenient way we are opening up the opportunity to grow as a person, learn a new skill and unwind through dedicated tasks. I went a couple weeks of doing my laundry by hand and I found it very relaxing, a little bit of a workout but just some time to sit and do one task can be nice. When it comes down to it our lives aren’t nearly as busy as we make them seem. We add things like scheduled tv shows, and other excessive activities. If we remove the unproductive things we find there is so much more time. I rarely watch any tv, I cut down on internet time, I don’t go party or out drinking, and surprisingly I have plenty of spare time for more relaxing activities. To sit down for an hour or so and wash laundry by hand is not a huge deal. It isn’t that bad at all. To cook a whole meal from scratch is not that big of a deal because you start cooking and cook properly on medium temperatures and while it cooks you have time to multi task. The result becomes healthier food, but also you get work that you are proud of because it is yours and you don’t mind it because you immediately see the product of your work.
Immediate gratification is another problem our society has, which ties in perfectly with convenience. We no longer worry about immediate gratification because we can have anything we want, when we want for a cost. You want a new shirt? You can travel to the store and buy one, the longest wait we have to endure is ordering online, and even that people treat like it is a huge deal to wait so long. We need to shift the immediate gratification and I’d like to say get rid of it altogether but that is something that won’t be happening any time soon. Instead we should focus the efforts of our immediate gratification into our own lives, our own very personal lives. As I mentioned above when cooking your own meal, yeah it can be work, it can be hot but in the end you and whomever you are with gets to enjoy the food. You get to see the work, see the production and then eat the results. That is a healthy sense of gratification. It is work, fulfills a need and allows you to be doing something.
Another thing to realize is that convenience is something that we also take for granted, it is exactly as stated, a convenience. Meaning not everyone has it and not everyone gets to experience it, so by removing a convenience from our life we aren’t actually creating any problems we are simply just doing things differently. So what is convenient for us as North Americans doesn’t exist everywhere in the world. Fast food isn’t everywhere, laundry machines, elevators, escalators, cars, planes and so on don’t exist or are not commonly used everywhere. So what are you losing by removing a couple conveniences from your life? Well to be honest you are not losing anything, you are joining the majority of the population by doing things a more traditional, simpler way.
Something I am trying to implement recently is removing small everyday conveniences. The major one is hot showers, as someone who is environmentally conscious, financially conscious and just generally looking for ways to simplify this step makes perfect sense. The average shower takes upwards of 40 gallons of water, on top of that we heat the water using gas and then pump that, and none of this perfectly potable water is every reused. On top of that we all take long showers and have somehow determined that a shower needs to be upwards of 20 minutes, I understand relaxation but that is excessive. So by cutting out the hot water altogether and just having a cold shower what are we doing? Well we are removing the convenience of hot water, the cold water is better at waking you up as it is more of a shock to your system and you will be using less water since it is cold. It is not a pleasant to take cold showers which is not as convenient, which in theory would mean less time spent in the shower and more water saved. Also this means that when you travel or go anywhere without hot water it really won’t be all that different to you and the convenience factor disappears.
I moved into a house and was without gas for a good period of time in the late winter months. I wasn’t going to travel to a friends house for hot water everyday so I began to use the cold water and get used to that, it wasn’t so bad I mean the result of a shower is to awake, relax and essentially be clean. So that was still being done without much of a difference. It is definitely a shock to the system but it isn’t all that bad.
Point being that small inconveniences can lead to a simpler life and sometimes taking a bit to just focus on one task instead of being on the go is a nice change of pace. Your mind is open to different things and one of the benefits to simpler things like cold showers, home cooked meals, hand washed laundry is overall it is so much cheaper. For the people who are worried about finances simplicity can be beautiful. Just cutting away the convenient things can be good for anyone, it doesn’t matter really if you are rich or poor, it can be done by anyone. You will find an appreciation for your work and you will find that there is a great relaxing feeling of doing these things the simpler way.
As always have a great day, I hope you find some knowledge or inspiration in the things I write. Remember that a complex over the top lifestyle isn’t always the best lifestyle and although it is different from the general of North American society that does not mean it is wrong.
Thanks for reading!