Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Are we being enslaved by convenience?

Yesterday while hubby was mixing up his shaving lather, something he used to do daily, but has slowly gotten away from and back into the commercial stuff, he was talking about how rich and creamy it was and wondering why he didn't do it as much anymore.

It only takes him a couple of minutes total.  He has a wonderful mug and brush, no cheapy from Wal-mart for him.  We often stock up on the Williamson or find him some handmade lather bars.  I prefer the handmade, with those I know the exact ingredients.

The more he was talking about it the more I got to thinking and wondering...

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I am a very traditional girl.  I am not a fan of many modern conveniences, and often feel the old way is the best way.  Needless to say if we lost all these modern gadgets tomorrow, I would be just fine.  I would miss my phone and computer, I love being able to talk and chat with my friends and  family whenever I want and  I love the internet and its ability to pull patterns, recipes, ideas together.  I would miss my blog, but I have paper and pens and can journal to my hearts content.  Other than that....

My mind and mouth wandered to the following question... Do you think all the things that are so convenient for us are enslaving us? 

I am very serious about this.  How many men take the time to make their own lather?  It's super simple, you control the exposure to your skin of so many chemicals, the impact on the environment from the creation and waste caused by all those cans...

That of course is just one example, and probably a silly one at that.  I am just wondering if we aren't allowing huge companies to force us to being slaves to their products and profits.

Advertising is rampant in this country, as in many others, it is everywhere.  Each turn is a push for something else that you can't live without, that will make your life easier, healthier, better... but is it?  Or are we simply buying into the marketing hype and making someone very rich in the process? And what is the cost to us?  Is it simply in the dollars we spend, or is it something greater?

How many families cook at home still?  Still have a family dinner at the table every night at six? A dinner that doesn't involve food additives and chemicals, where there aren't scary news stories connected with what might be on the plate?  How often do we sit down, leave all electronic devices out of the room, talk and enjoy each others company?  How often now are the parents asking the kids about their day? I fear it is frighteningly too rare. 

It's far easier to swing by or into the local fast food place and grab breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I am just as guilty as the next, I remember not too many years ago where dinner out was a treat and hubby and I would sit there and enjoy a leisurely meal focused on each other and our conversation.  I fear that as a society we have gotten so busy, so hustle and bustle, that the very things that are important are what we are sacrificing. 

Yesterday due to a scheduling error, I had not brought hubby lunch.  So we decided to walk down to have sushi at a new place we like.  I was excited to have time to simply walk, talk, and enjoy the unusual weather we are having in the mid-west this year (it was warm, but mostly humid, not swelter and kill me hot).  We both had our cell phones, because we are on call 24/7.  Hubby took two calls and I ended up walking beside him in silence the entire walk.  I understand his need to deal with issues, but I mourn the loss of the walks that didn't involve intrusions.  Looking around the restaurant yesterday, there were few face to face conversations, everyone was fidgeting with an electronic gadget of some kind.  It was sad.

We are a country that is gaining weight, hooked on medications for everything that ails us, yet we refuse to look at what we are eating.  Go to any grocery store, the vast majority of "stuff" (it is hardly qualified to be called food) is just that stuff.  Would you honestly buy those "healthier" baked chips, if they were truly called what they are?  I doubt it, I couldn't do it last night when I read the label... potato, corn starch, soy, and a bunch of chemicals you can't pronounce with an enticing flavor added pretend chips... now I really don't see that being a big seller, do you?

Just 50 years ago, so much of this didn't exist.  People walked, rode bikes, stayed closer to their community.  People had front porches, they talked face to face.  Kids played outside, there was laughter and noise in the streets.  The grocery was smaller and had real food, not chemical messes designed to entice you.  There was not a fast food joint on every corner.  People didn't work like slaves to the point of eliminating a life for pay for stuff...

Shoot just 20 years ago we were in a different place than we are now...

Back then... people were thinner, healthier, everyone wasn't fighting some type of illness, diabetes was rare. I don't know if anyone had ever heard of gluten allergies (and did these happen because of all the strange and weird stuff they are doing to our food in the name of convenience?). Every child wasn't at risk of being labeled ADHD or ADD when they were simply kids needing to run off energy, and if they truly had those illnesses it could be identified, and again, is some of that a result of all the chemicals that we use and consume daily?  The human body was not meant to be a petrie dish.  We are not a science experiment. 

We no longer have back yard gardens, kids do not play in neighborhoods (too dangerous, unnerving, hot, cold, nothing to do... etc), we don't have sidewalks in most of our communities, you can't bike for fear of being run down by never ending traffic, we drink chemical concoctions, our water is treated with fluoride, chlorine, and host of other chemicals we can't pronounce.  The research is proving that some of that stuff, fluoride in particular is causing a dumbing down effect on us.   We have food deserts in this country...

I think that I will continue to make my own soap, so it takes me a few extra minutes of my life, but at least I know what I am using on my body and I can pronounce every ingredient.  I will continue to cling to my old ways. I need to cook more at home, and read more labels, last night I was tired when we were heading home, I didn't really have the energy to cook, so grabbing Subway worked for me.  I opted to eat a salad and skip the bread.  Been having tummy troubles lately and I wonder if it isn't all the tampering going on with breads lately... I have an issue with a food product that does not mold after a few days... ironically, I didn't have a sore tummy.  I also skipped the baked chips I usually get because I read the label and couldn't believe what was really in there... so I lost the calorie battle buying real chips - but guess what real chips have potatoes, oil and salt in them... go figure...

I guess it all depends on how you look at things, but I don't want to be enslaved, I don't want to be owned and abused by big marketing firms and companies that are making a profit off of my ignorance or willingness to surrender my life, liberty and happiness simply to save a few minutes of time and energy.  I want to find a way to be working less for things and enjoying life more for itself...

I think I am content to live my life a little backwards as I strive to move forward and not be such a slave to convenience.  What do you think??  Am I way off base here or might it bear further thought?