Monday, July 12, 2010

On planning

It's not a new thought to me that simplicity requires planning, but I'm becoming more keenly aware of it as I try to simplify.

Example: If I want to hang my clothes out to dry on the clothesline, I must plan to start the laundry so as to get the clothes outside by 11am; otherwise, they will not dry before dinner*. I must plan on doing laundry on nice days, and if the weather is cloudy but not rainy, I have to get the clothes outside earlier in the day.

Example: If I want to ride my bike into work, I must plan on changing my clothes or at least my shoes and pack my bag accordingly. I must plan on riding on days when I am not going to be carrying anything terribly heavy (a stack of essays or one extra book is crucial when most of your weight is perched on a bicycle seat) to or from work. I must plan to style my hair in such a way as to avoid getting it messed up from a bike helmet. I must also plan for the extra time it will take to get to/from.

Example: If I want to cook at home and eat more cleanly/simply (buying local produce, preparing healthy meals, etc.), I must plan a meal and buy groceries. I must plan for hunger so as to avoid making impulse fast-food purchases.

These are just a few. Like, I said, I'm not saying anything new here, but what I'm faced with is, again, a conflict between what I have come to value and what our culture values. We live in a "have it now" world thanks to the automobile, factories, strip malls, the internet, McDonald's, and plenty of other factors that give us instant gratification and make us crave immediacy. In general, if we want something, we like having the freedom to just hop in the car and go to the nearest Wal-Mart to get it.

Of course, what we have sacrificed for immediacy is long-term satisfaction. We are forever chasing quick-fixes to problems that were caused by quick-fixes.

This is something I have to remind myself when the planning gets irritating. Easy does not mean simple. Fast does not mean simple. And neither of these means happy.

*Often, the days that I hang clothes out to dry are also the days that Rich likes to BBQ, and I can't have the clothes hung up while the grill is producing smoke.


David said...

Kate, it sounds like time well spent to me. I've found that often times the things that hold the most value in this life rarely come easy. On another note I really enjoy your blogs. Ever since I've started reading them, they have somewhat changed my perspective! It's always good to learn something new so thanks for that. Simplify!

Domestic Kate said...

Thanks, David! That's a big compliment. Any time I can get a person to live a little more deliberately is a victory for everybody! I'm glad to have you here.