We are a generation that loves and embraces progress, especially when that means we experience things faster. Faster internet searches, faster ordering and delivery, and extra time to consume even more at an increased rate. But with so much focus on getting what we want now, we’re easily distracted and annoyed by the simplest of things.
Does your teenager roll their eyes when you ask them to unload the dishwasher, for instance? There are so many benefits to the advances we have made, but somewhere along the way, we’ve lost sight of how those advances could be detrimental to our lives and the world we live in.
Maybe it’s not realistic to revert to a time without these innovations, but if you’re being honest, you could probably do without these four things, or at least moderate them.
This is the big one. We have access to games, videos, and loads of information that isn’t particularly useful from a variety of places. Where once it was a big deal to have two televisions in a home, we now take in our media from a smartphone, tablet, and laptop all at once.
And the companies dominating the media market have perfected the art of keeping you interested, looking for one more meme, one more level, or one more episode. You can access real-time information directly from friends, play games with people on the other side of the world, and stream the latest movie release the moment it hits your thoughts.
But an unending source of entertainment means you might be missing out on the opportunities that help you become a capable human being. Do you avoid meeting new people or trying new things because it makes you nervous or takes too much energy? Is it too hard for you to focus on reading a book or making it through a long meeting?
It might be time to cut back on your media intake and challenge yourself a bit in the real world.
How many of us can plan a camping trip without listing paper plates on the shopping list? We have become incredibly reliant on the convenience of paper products when we’re on the go and for large events. Parties, fast food, road trips–they all end with throwing packaging in the trash.
And while it’s a relief not washing all those dishes and having to pack them in and out, we’re really doing a disservice to the planet by avoiding a bit of extra work. There are landfills boasting paper products decades old that still haven’t broken down and oceans collecting all sorts of plastics that alter ecosystems, injure marine life, and even make it back into our own bodies with not-so-great results.
Is it really too much to ask that if we’re going to commit to a meal or event that we also commit to the associated preparation and clean up time without taking shortcuts? And if it is somehow too much, at the very least, we can join the movements of recycling and upcycling, and advocating for sustainable manufacturing (check out BioLogiQ.com for an example of better plastics for our environment).
It’s not that we can’t do it; it will just take a little more effort than we’ve gotten used to expending.
Extras When You’re Out
We are kings of the last-minute buy. And when you’re out in the world that marketing has created for you, it’s easy to see why. Everywhere you look is a message telling you to try this, buy that, and indulge a little.
It’s hard to resist the persuasion that you can push your budget a bit more than you had planned to. We do it all the time at the grocery store when we justify a box of donuts or a package of cookies. And while maybe those don’t seem like a big deal, it all depends on your unique situation and your tendencies.
For someone on a tight budget, those donuts are a sweet treat that could mean a day without meals at the end of their paycheck. If those indulgences get out of hand, you could end up eating out more than you should and overdoing it when you head out for some retail therapy.
With a bit of planning and play at moderating our lives, we could have a few more bucks in our pockets for really meaningful wants.
Gadgets & Toys
No one has gotten away from late night TV without getting reeled into an infomercial about some incredible new product. Maybe it was a waffle iron, a blow dryer, or a line of cleaning products for your pets. Chances are there’s something in your cupboard that wasn’t worth the money or the space it’s taking up now.
One of the best things about our human nature is our fascination with inventions and how they can work into our lives to make them better, but most ideas aren’t going to stick around on a personal level for more than a few years.
It’s time to simplify, and rather than scooping up that trendy banana slicer, take an objective look at whether there’s an easier, more cost-effective way to get the same results. Your food will still taste just as good cooked in your regular saucepan, and you’ll have just as clean a puppy with a cheaper pet shampoo.
Toys are fun, but limiting them means you’ll make better use of the ones you already have.