I was watching a documentary on Amish teenagers recently, and something that one of them said really struck me. It was about how hard it was to be in a horse-drawn buggy and to see cars zipping past them so quickly, going fast from one place to the next.
My first reaction was, "How lucky the person in the buggy is."
Right now, I don't have a car, and I rely on public transportation to get from point A to point B when my own legs can't take me there for whatever reason. Public transportation costs money, and so I can only take it when I have a bus pass or when I have spare change.
This means that my outings are usually carefully planned to kill as many birds with as few stones, so to speak. While some days it might just be nice to go to the library to get a new book to read, and then worry about nothing else, I have to consider whether or not I can do that on my bus pass. Would it be easier to wait a week and get a new book then, and while I'm at it I can pick up a few groceries and give the rent cheque to the landlord? Or would it be better to do that in three trips?
If a car, I could get quickly to as many places as I want, but what would I do when I got there?
I noticed that when it became harder for me to go places, even by bus, my trips became more carefully planned, and I wasted less over all. In times past, I would buy groceries with the intent of eating them, but sometimes I just wouldn't get around to it before the apples turned spotty or the milk went off. But it was okay, I could just hop on the bus and go buy some more.
Now, I consider things more carefully, waste less, and enjoy the trip more, because I have to go a little more slowly and don't have steady access to a convenience that a lot of people take for granted. I think that perhaps when we start to take one thing in our lives for granted, it becomes easier to start taking the things connected to it for granted. I take the bus to get food, therefore I take for granted my easy access to food. When you give yourself a little challenge, a little struggle, you appreciate the gain all the more.
I've noticed that too when it comes to cooking. I used to eat plenty of microwave dinners, plastic food in plastic trays that got zapped to be heated. They filled me up somewhat, but didn't leave me satisfied, not really. But if I cook a meal, take my time with the preparation and let myself enjoy the act of working for it, the final meal tastes so much better and is more of a satisfying experience.
There are times when convenience stops being quite so convenient.