Sailing between Galapagos and the Marquesas, an uncomfortable 24-day crossing for us, I reflect on features missed of my life recently left behind. Departing California for Mexico and the South Pacific on a 42-foot sailboat, life significantly changes as one would expect, but exactly what changes and how these changes affect a person one cannot know until engulfed in the new circumstance. In the cost-benefit analysis, we would only leave if, by leaving, we calculate a better overall outcome for ourselves, ultimately gaining more than we forfeit. But I find one particular adjustment difficult to make: “Convenience,” specifically the lack thereof.
Convenience is seductive. I miss her. She gets me what I want, when I want. All I have to do is figure out what I want, something I’m exceedingly good at, and she comes through for me. Dressed in Amazon Prime, 24hr grocery stores, next day parts from West Marine, Jack’n the Box drive thru, the big box stores, Costco, Walmart, Target, or the mall; she gives me what I want, when I want . . . and I am capable of wanting so much.
Car is great too; a cozy cocoon, it entertains, it comforts, and it takes me where I want. It asks little of me. Entertainment, I miss too: movies, television, theater, art galleries, music, opera, dining out, etc. It, too, asks little. I merely have to decide what it is I wish to see . . . Car takes me there.
Convenience has a bathroom near your bedroom, a large shower, washing machine, dryer and dishwasher. She’s water, power, gas, phone, sanitation, and Internet. She’s so there, so ready to serve. I miss Convenience.
I left Convenience for a more challenging relationship with Self-reliance. This new one taps me for everything I’ve got: brain, heart, body, and soul. I don’t demand of her . . . she demands of me. Convenience never asked for anything. Each day with Self-reliance, I’m spent. I bed and rise early. I’m uncomfortable, and yet somehow I no longer seem to need to work out or visit medical specialists. I no longer ache. I’m thinner. I’m fit. With Self-reliance, I don’t get to buy things. I must watch what I spend, and try not to. She requires that I wait to get the things I want, and/or do without. Entertainment under Self-reliance is simple too; cards and board games with wife and sons, watching together a video on a 9” screen, meeting new and fascinating people from around the world of all walks of life, walking or swimming by exotic animals and plants, hiking active volcanoes, picking unusual produce from a local farmer’s field, but mostly, just solving problems. I chose this new relationship because she’s supposed to offer my family and me more substantive rewards, but who knows? It’s too soon to tell. Still, the other relationship was pretty good. Learning to live with less is not as much fun as learning to live with more. I miss Convenience. Fortunately for me, she harbors another easy-going quality: Convenience never gets jealous. No matter how long I’m away from her, she’s always willing to take me back.