Don't let "convenience" rob you of pleasure
Updated: Jul 25
"I'd rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special" (Shelby Latcherie, Steel Magnolias).
Although something may take more time and effort, if the payoff is worth it, then it sure beats "just pootling along"!!
I shop at my local supermarket, because it's convenient. I swim at my local pool, because it's convenient. I probably would just eat ready meals - because it's convenient, if I wasn't so concerned with what the ingredients are...and there we have a point!
"Convenience" is great to some extent...on the things that don't really matter...but on the things that do, sticking to what is convenient can deprive you of:
How far are you willing to go?
When my 3 "bff" school friends and I all went our separate ways after year 11 (or "5th year" in my day!) - we remained in touch...to this day, 30 years on, we still make time to meet up at least once a year in person. The two childhood friends I had, although now living 2.5hrs drive away, are also always a "must see" at Christmas, and whenever we can arrange a free weekend. And I will always find a lunch spare to meet a dear friend of mine in London once a month or so. It's not easy, and it takes planning, but it's worth it. There are other friends I'm blessed to have in the mix other friends with whom I have a lovely time and even holiday with (remember those things!?) - but some of those are, well, easier to plan - the others take effort, which I'm willing to make. Why? TWO KEY REASONS:
I feel super-fabulous after seeing them
THEY MAKE THE SAME EFFORT FOR ME
(It's not "convenient" for anyone, which means, we value each other too! And THAT feels awesome!!)
"Convenience" is not always fulfilling in EITHER direction!!
I was asked the other day why I no longer saw some people I was previously close to - the answer was, for over 4 years I'd made quite a big effort which simply wasn't returned...and these last few years I'd stopped trying...I still have positive memories, but I realised I was probably just "convenient" to them...and that's not enough for me! Plus it meant all the mis-directed effort could now go into what makes me feel much happier!
It's all too easy to fill our calendars with things - and even people - that are "convenient", and that is ok if you are not discerning. But if they don't stir you, if they don't fulfil you, if they leave you somewhat "meh"...are you channelling your energies appropriately? ...and deep down, for YOU too...don't you want to be more than convenient???
List the people you want to see but haven't for ages.
Book them into your calendar BEFORE saying "yes" to the other stuff. (...in February I went round booking people in 2 months in advance...getting in there before habit fills the slot, and I'm excited for a lovely April and May...and so are the people I'm seeing)
AND Then, it might even be, that the people you would ordinarily see more often, perhaps because of convenience, become more meaningful, because they too now have time "booked in" rather than "force of habit"!!...or you might find out YOU were just convenient to them, and it's a relief to you all!!
And what of "things" - are you putting off what you really want because other things are getting in the way?
I'm not going to tell you to drop those things - we've likely put them into our calendar because they were, well, convenient...instead:
Identify the things you'd like to be doing
eg: maybe you want to learn something new
- you might be looking for another job
- you might want to start a fitness routine
- you'd like a "date night"
...and so on
AGAIN - book them in, in advance! I have started training for a swimming challenge, and I have booked out 8-9am to exercise every day, along with Sunday morning...everything else will work around that. (If I have to drive somewhere for work, I shift my workout earlier or later - but it stays booked).
"Convenience" would have seen me fitting in swimming around my work, and not really getting a good workout, nor actually being bothered some days. In my relationships, "convenience" would have meant missing out on the buzz I get from the people I hold so dear - which far outweighs the effort to get to them!
If something is important to you - and I don't mean "just having friends" - I mean having "those" friends; nor do I mean "just doing x" - I mean really truly loving x... - then it may take that little more effort to get it done, but it'll be more worth it than a lifetime of "meh."
Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and author with a specialty in the "how to take action", rather than just giving explanation and advice. Listen to her podcast Retrain Your Brain here; or her Radio Show "The Wellbeing Lounge", and catch her practical masterclasses Psych Back to Basics on DisruptiveTV & Energy Top Up for resilience. For self development tools based within positive psychology: click Her YouTube Channel . Twitter/IG @draudreyt