I read this "opinion" in today's New York Times and it has stayed with me all day. I'm going to need to read it again after a few days, I think.
Here are a couple of excerpts, in case you don't have time to read the whole thing but want to know what I'm rambling about this time:
"Though understood and promoted as an instrument of liberation, convenience has a dark side. With its promise of smooth, effortless efficiency, it threatens to erase the sort of struggles and challenges that help give meaning to life. Created to free us, it can become a constraint on what we are willing to do, and thus in a subtle way it can enslave us.
"As task after task becomes easier, the growing expectation of convenience exerts a pressure on everything else to be easy or get left behind. We are spoiled by immediacy and become annoyed by tasks that remain at the old level of effort and time.
"Today’s cult of convenience fails to acknowledge that difficulty is a constitutive feature of human experience. Convenience is all destination and no journey. But climbing a mountain is different from taking the tram to the top, even if you end up at the same place.
"An unwelcome consequence of living in a world where everything is “easy” is that the only skill that matters is the ability to multitask. At the extreme, we don’t actually do anything; we only arrange what will be done, which is a flimsy basis for a life.
"We need to consciously embrace the inconvenient — not always, but more of the time. Nowadays individuality has come to reside in making at least some inconvenient choices. You need not churn your own butter or hunt your own meat, but if you want to be someone, you cannot allow convenience to be the value that transcends all others. Struggle is not always a problem. Sometimes struggle is a solution. It can be the solution to the question of who you are."
Much of the day, as I've reflected on this "opinion," I've wished I had an English teacher assigning me to write an essay based on the piece. But I don't have such a teacher, and I don't have my thoughts organized sufficiently to produce an essay. But here are some of them:
. . . Using Amazon to make purchases has become my first option when I need something other than groceries.
. . . The cough medicine I bought (at the grocery store!) the other day comes with a disposable plastic cup to measure the right dosage. Unnecessary plastic but so convenient when a teaspoon would work as well.
. . . Homemade jello doesn't really take very long to make and it tastes much better than the store-bought cups (and again the plastic).
. . . Using the clothes dryer is reflexive at this point but I think back fondly to our last house where we had a clothes line and how good everything smelled when I took it down, and how I took silly joy in hanging all the shirts together, all the socks, etc.
I am newly at the stage of life where, for the first time in many, many years, I have enough time. I don't always have to choose the more convenient way.