Monday, May 7, 2018

Convenience - good or bad?

Instead of chatting about Motivational Monday (because I did NOTHING yesterday after volunteering at the Marathon   - I napped ALL day on the couch. I wondered why I was so tired and then realized that I had NOT drunk any water all day) I realized that this morning. No wonder I was exhausted - I was dehydrated.

So today is a philosophical morning about convenience. Don't worry - it has a quilting twist to it. I'm not trying to convince you about anything here - it's just my thoughts. You are free to do whatever you want!

Have you ever noticed how everything - even quilting has made CONVENIENCE a huge selling point. No longer are keys required to get into anything. You can start your car from your house, you can unlock the car from across the parking lot and remotely open the doors. You can buy tickets online, grocery shop and have them delivered or pop to the grocery store where they load them into your car and let's not forget the fast food! How easy it is to get drive-through food or food delivered to your door. Convenience is EVERYWHERE.

Here's an interesting article about convenience and I agree wholeheartedly with it. The last 1/3 of the article is the most interesting.

But here's something to contemplate about convenience and it's mentioned in the article. Do you not think that people are losing their tolerances for minor irritations because they no longer have to struggle with small details. Even something as small as juggling all your shopping bags when you arrive at your car. Your brain has to figure out how to hold all the bags in one hand, pull out your keys and then open the door. If we don't have small tasks for our brains to compute, do you not think that your brain is slowly dwindling in its capacity to function? If you no longer have to think to check TV schedules or keep important dates and phone numbers in your head, again, our brain is losing the capacity to think and remember! I'm sure there must be studies on this.

Guess what happens to our brains?  Yep - our bodies may be fine when we're older, but our minds will be mush!

I used to be a HUGE user of fast food restaurants, one in particular which we all know! It's on every street corner (or so it seems) and it was easy as pie (oh my - it was very convenient) to buy a tea, a hot chocolate, or breakfast or lunch. I'm ashamed to say that when I was working and left the house early, I bought breakfast from that restaurant EVERY MORNING on the way to work!!!  No wonder those pounds were packing on! I think back to the number of hot chocolates that I would drink in a day from that restaurant (up to three!) and no wonder I could never lose weight!

Let's think about quilting and convenience for a moment. What is a HUGE seller in the market?  Pre-cuts!!  Why?  Because they are convienent. While they are super convenient for us to buy (and for the shop owner to stock, the manufacturer to ship, etc.) (and they are darn cute), but have you ever tried to make a proper quilt from those pre-cuts?  I hate the pre-cuts for that. There is never enough dark, or too much light or not enough of one of the colors. I have bought my share over my quilting career, but I hate them and I'm trying to never buy them again!!!

There are tons of rulers on the market - if you buy this ruler, it will be EASIER to do whatever task the ruler was invented for. But we're losing the capacity to think! A lot of those cuts can be done with a simple ruler, but no one wants to say that out loud. Least of all, the myriad of designers out there who are creating these tools so we can buy them. Granted, there are a lot of rulers that are very useful and without them, we would have to use templates - those I get. The other ones?  Not so much. SEe, I'm not ready to go back to cardboard (for templates), but I don't mind a few inconveniences when quilting.

Tons of "convenient gadgets", but when push comes to shove, what we have used for years work just as well. Like a set of tools for applique - my fingers, starch, and a hot iron will work just as well and I could have saved myself $50.

Look at the quilt patterns on the market today. Most of them are so simple that no pattern is technically needed. They use pre-cuts and now we have thousands of the same pattern. Make the quilt in a weekend. Get that satisfaction and move on. What has happened to quilt making as a hobby and if it takes five years to make a quilt - it takes five years. Why are we in such a rush to make everything?

Don't get me wrong. I love convenience. But I HATE and will resist as much as possible things that will dictate my life. I haven't watched TV for almost a decade! That's incredible and never thought I could do that. I've given up convenience foods. I never thought I could do that either. I make oatmeal every morning for breakfast (granted I do it in the microwave rather than on the stovetop), but it isn't instant oatmeal which tastes so bad you need to load it with sugar. I've lost a lot of weight and I do not crave sugar in any way shape or form. I don't even crave food per se, except yesterday I was craving food, but I wasn't hungry. I think I was just tired. I even make my own tea in the morning now and I don't even think of popping to Tim's to get that tea and before, I would go out in the dead of a snowstorm to get that tea. I make my own lunch now when I go out for the day and take my own snacks. I'm positively a goodie-two-shoes, but you know what? I don't mind and how long does it take to make a lunch? I've been an idiot for a long, long time and how much money did I spend on all those convenience foods?

I like my electronic gadgets, but I'm not married to them. I don't play games (except Scrabble which is a very slow game to play electronically), and I'm mindful of the time I spend on any social media. I might do one or two posts in a day (if that) and spend a few minutes here and there to check what's happening.

Don't even get me started on how convenience has impacted the environment.

Bottom line, I do NOT let conveniece run my life any more. I like solving puzzles and problems. It's who I am and it's what has made me - ME!!!  I want to know the whys and hows of how things work and I don't care that things take longer than normal. Am I old-fashioned? Not really - I just care about myself!

Anyway - I've been meaning to post something like this for a long time and when I found that article, I knew this was a perfect time.

Conveniece is great, but we shouldn't be letting it dictate our life. We shouldn't be looking at the end goal of any task, we should be enjoying the steps along the way. Think about it - what's the end goal of life?  You got it - DEATH and none of us should be looking for that. It will come soon enough to us all.

Get out there today and ENJOY the ride - that's what it's all about. Not trying to get to the end faster.

Have a super day!!!



  1. Thank you for the link to Tim Wu’s article. That’s why we quilt, knit and go to the library. Not to mention play with our children and pets, right?