Tuesday, April 21, 2009


After many days of gorgeous weather it turned cold one day recently, but George and I braved the temps and went to the park anyway. And I even parked in my normal spot which forced us to walk across the entire length of the park to the dog area. While George ran around, I stood with my back to the cold wind, leaning slightly so it wouldn’t blow me over, and thought about how I could have parked just fifty feet away and avoided the numbing walk across the park. But that’s not a shortcut I’m willing to take.

In Las Vegas, walking through grass is a luxury. So I always avoid the parking spaces right next to the dog park and instead park on the far side which forces us to walk through a grassy field past trees, picnic areas, and swing sets. And no matter how rushed I am or how cold it is, I always park in those remote spaces.

Why not take the shortcut when it would better suit my schedule? Because I know that once I do, it will make me give in more often, and George and I will miss out on our grassy walk. We’d give up enjoying the simple things in favor of time management. I’m just not willing to do that.

In the same way, I have never ever made a cake or cookies from a mix. I love the old-fashioned feeling of baking from scratch, and I’m afraid that once I give in I’ll never go back. And I would miss the measuring of the flour & spices and the sense of connection that baking gives me to generations of women before me.

So when are shortcuts good? If I take a shortcut home from work, it gets me home faster, but then I miss out on driving through residential neighborhoods where kids play, horses are in backyard pastures, and life seems slower. Shortcuts at work may complete a task sooner, but doesn’t the term “shortcut” imply that the job wasn’t done completely? Fast isn’t always good.

Nowadays it seems like everyone is trying to shortcut everything – streamlining everything – leaving out the very bits of life that give us meaning and fulfillment. And while this is a well-worn theme nowadays, the notion of slowing down and simplifying is overused because we need constant reminders! So why not take one week and try to live without shortcuts? Slow down. Walk the long way to the park. Life may just be better!

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