Small Step No. 14: Experience over Convenience

If given the option, I’m prone to take the practical route each and every time. The simple one, full of convenience and ease. Less fuss, less mess. Bake a cake from scratch or order pre-made from the local bakery? Search three stores for a replacement hair dryer or Amazon Prime it? Shear your own dog or get thee to the groomers? The latter, the latter, the latter – for better or worse.

But there is this moment I’m thinking of, where Ken and the kids and I are walking our friends from L.A. through the streets of our downtown, and we duck into an artisan boutique where handmade products are being sold to empower female-led businesses. And the sun is streaming low and Scout has fallen asleep in his stroller and Bee is giddy over a purse made from pop tabs and there is kindness in the eyes of the cashier, laughter of our dearest friends, faraway voices in the echoes of the back store, the smell of lavender and bergamot everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.

It was a – dare I call it this? – perfect moment in a nonperfect world, pausing to survey the fruits of someone else’s labor, becoming overwhelmed with surprise at the ingenuity of a mind; faithfulness of a hand.

On the way out, I spot a shelf of room mists (ever a weakness) and found a tiny cobalt bottle that smelled like the afternoon – lavender and bergamot everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. Ken and Bee agreed, it was worth a purchase.

Despite the fact that it was unnecessary, a non-essential. Despite the fact that I owned a room mist already and hadn’t yet finished it. Despite the fact that it cost more than my morning’s brunch.

It’s just not every day we’re offered a tangible reminder of a lovelier-than-usual memory.

This was a month ago easily, and I find it interesting that – although I far prefer the woodsy scent of my other mist – I still reach for this one on the daily. Although my other mist was more convenient to receive, arriving on the front stoop in two days time, and although it was certainly less expensive. It’s since been pushed aside in favor of something more treasured.

And so, a small reminder for myself:

Experience over convenience.

If not for the memories they hold, our things are just things.

I think of this often, when I’m tempted to take the easy route. What lessons are hidden in the made-from-scratch cake? What stories do my purchases tell? What memories will my days conjure? A quick swipe, add to cart? Or a happy afternoon with a sleeping baby, a sun-streaming storefront, laughter echoing in the back room?

The latter, I pray.


Tell me: what small steps are you exploring these days? I’d love to hear!

p.s. These are a series of small steps that will (hopefully) provide one giant leap to greater things. Not for mankind, but for me, and perhaps for you, which will always be good enough in my book. More here.

  • Haha, this is so funny, because when reading the first paragraph, I think: the first, the first, the first. And I sometimes get so tired of myself, why can’t I just choose the easy way? Let it go a little, just buy a cake for the birthday party and not spend a whole day in the kitchen… Of course, I like doing it, and I like it that almost everything in our house is handmade, and has a story and all, but pffff it takes ages and sometimes I should just relax and go for the easy solution…

    • I can totally relate to you. Same here. There is definitely something in the sweat of the brow that an ‘Add to Cart’ click simply doesn’t provide. In our home, life is about the journey more than the end game. It’s where the adventures live. The stories. The small details that stay with us.

  • Oh, yes, I can relate. I’m much like you. Less fuss is always the preferred route. However, I love this perspective and hope I can remember to channel the experience more often. Because when I do? Oh, how the cup runneth over.

  • This has been something near to my heart this year, as I try to connect back to the world and to my community instead of falling into ease every time. It has meant looking at companies and seeing their mission and hoping it aligns with what I’m striving for. I love the feel behind your writing and it has given me a new sense of excitement towards this small shift in my life; taking the time for the experience will always be a cause for appreciation.

  • Oh my god haha, I feel like this post was meant for me. I was just asked out on a date to go to the beach and go kayaking, but I didn’t want to have to drive so far and waste gas. I’d rather do something simple – something convenient, but honestly the kayaking trip sounds much more fun. So, now I know what I’m going to do. Thank you!

    Natalie |

  • Beautiful piece, Erin.

    I feel this waybwhen i am wandering the Thrift stores in and around Boston. I ❤ taking time to meander and wonder and people watch and actually talk to fellow people. Every object has a story that i am egear to think about: where did ot come grom? Why did ot get donated? Who packed this oject up and dragged it over to the donation bin?

    I also enjoying knowing that inwill give her new life and new memories in my life — for very little money. And, keep her put of the landfill.

    Happy hunting.

  • Love this! Would you mind sharing source for clips holding your photos, etc. on the wall? Super cool way to do a constantly evolving gallery wall.

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