My father used to impress upon me the value of hard work. Everything needed to be worked hard. Shortcuts were lazy.
I didn’t buy it then, and I don’t buy it now.
What value is working hard at something that you’ve already mastered, or that really has no value?
Let’s take weeding. There is no world championship in weeding. There is no technique that makes it less likely that weeds will reappear in the garden. So why should I spend precious hours pulling unwanted plants out of the ground if there is an easier way to accomplish this?
Our garden beds have been a mess of weeds and groundcover since day 1. I would spend hours every week pulling out the weeds, just to find they had been replaced two days later. Every summer I would start with high hopes, and then finally give up in the face of the weeds.
My husband decided to implement the easy button. He sprayed weed killer, put down gardening fabric, and overlaid it with rock. Now our garden beds look neat, and it takes very little time to pull the weeds. Yes, I have had to give up on the dream of a wildflower garden. But at the same time, I have gained back hours I would have put in to the garden, as well as freed myself from the guilt once I inevitably gave up.
The same holds true with cooking while camping. I know people who find great thrill in cooking over an open fire. Not me. At this point I have been responsible for cooking meals for 70% of my life, and I am tired of it. I don’t want to spend my time in the woods cooking for hours.
Our camper boasts a fridge, freezer, stovetop and microwave. I also have a coffee pot and toaster. I do the easy button. The first night we are camping, I nuke up a frozen casserole that has veggies. The rest of the time I get out my slow cooker. Throw the food in, plug it in, and come back after an afternoon of hiking and playing to a cooked meal.
There are camping purists who turn their noses up, but honestly, why wouldn’t I take advantage of the things I can so I can do something I enjoy? I’ve freed myself of hours of food prep every day.
There is value in hard work and challenge. When I want to master something, or something is truly important, I work hard and diligently. But I also take short cuts. And I’m not afraid to push the easy button when necessary.
Photo by FireChickenTA99