Reader Shalin wrote in this week and asked a question I hear often: Where is the line between convenience and simple living?
Honestly, I don’t believe there is a set line between convenience and simple living. They aren’t on opposite sides of a scale. What is convenient and contributes to a simple life for one person may not have the same effect for someone else.
Dish washing: I hate it with a passion. As a child, this was my chore, and I vowed as an adult never to live without an automatic dishwasher. To me, washing dishes by hand is a waste of time and steals valuable moments that I could be taking a walk with my family, playing a board game with them, or reading to my son. However, I have a friend who loves washing dishes. She enjoys having her family gather in the kitchen and everyone work together to clean up after a meal. Her family continues their conversation from dinner, each takes on a role in the chore, and washing dishes is as much a part of dinner as eating. To her, an automatic dishwasher detracts from a remarkable life.
Neither of us is correct, and neither of us is wrong. We have made decisions about a dishwasher based on what is right for our families and for our pursuits of remarkable living. The automatic dishwasher helps me to pursue the life I desire, and washing dishes by hand helps my friend to pursue hers. What is important is that both of us have taken the time to evaluate the technology and weighed its advantages and disadvantages for our specific circumstances.
Simply stated, either a product or service helps you to achieve the remarkable life you desire, or it doesn’t. Whenever you encounter a new technology or service, you need to learn about it and decide if it will help or hinder your life. Don’t worry if you’re breaking with traditions of the past or modern social norms — accept the technologies into your life that help you to focus more of your time on what matters most to you, and don’t accept those that distract from it.