When I moved to Botswana I knew that my life would change, and of course that was the purpose. Many things changed and most of them for the good and I feel more alive than ever. I realized how many things I took for granted while living in the Netherlands and that this put me in a kind of sedation.
Things like opening the tap and that there is water, is no longer obvious. Calling someone when there is a problem with the electricity, gas, or internet or when you get stuck on the road, is no longer obvious. That I can use the same road I used the day before to go to town, well you can guess, that is not obvious anymore.
Now I have to make a plan when I go to town for shopping, because it takes me almost an hour to get to a store and if I forget something I don’t want to drive back. And of course I need to go to more than one shop to get what I want and even then, not everything is available. Here there are no supermarkets where I can buy everything in one go and can get all products throughout the whole year.
I am not complaining, this is what I chose for and most of the time I like it and as I said it makes me feel more alive, more aware. It made me also wonder what it was that made the difference and I came to the insight that one of the main reasons is convenience or better the lack of convenience.
Where I lived before everything is about convenience. When I forgot something to buy, I stepped outside the door and within five minutes I could get what I wanted, or I just ordered it online. When something needed to be fixed, I could call someone to come and fix it.
Everything in the Netherlands and I suppose in most of the western societies, is about convenience. Buying and delivering whatever you want is possible almost 24/7 and can be done from the convenience of your house. Looking for a new relationship is going through an app. We happened to go out and meet your partner the old fashion way, even getting rejected, face to face. Not funny, but hey. And what about food, processed already, just put it in the microwave or oven and done. We don’t care what is in it and if it makes you sick, it is convenient.
When we have a headache or the flu or whatever common illness, there is a drug you can use instead of trusting your body to heal itself. Yep, it takes sometimes longer and yep it can be inconvenient.
And what is this with having kids and having a nanny or put them in day care as soon as possible and later on send them to boarding school. Convenience?
I also experience it with people who know that their life is not going in the right direction and ask me for help and to coach them and then they expect a quick fix within one or two sessions. That I just tell them what to do and everything will be fine. They don’t want to do the work and put in the time and energy it takes. That would be inconvenient. It seems people don’t want to get dirty hands anymore.
I did not research it but I have a kind of theory. In my opinion the convenience thing is one of effects of the industrial revolution and the period afterwards. More and more work instead of living became the priority and therefor everything that not contributed to that had be eliminated. Machines where invented and services introduced to take over the ‘inconvenient’ things so people can spend more time at work. Even the modern big companies do the same. They arrange daycare, walking dog services, sleeping areas at work, carwash etc. Which in itself sounds great, but your life is reduced to your working life. And in my opinion life is not about work only; you are not your job.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that making everything convenient is not contributing to mankind and for sure not to the earth. We think less for ourselves, take things for granted, it makes us anti-social, keeps us indoors and we get lost from nature. Life is not fun anymore.
Of course convenience can make life easier at some points and yes life should be comfortable but I think not in way that you are no longer capable to do something yourself when things don’t go as planned and you are no longer thinking for yourself. In that way your life is reduced to work only and staying within your four walls.
Feel life again.