In our high-speed, short-take, 140-character world, we’ve put cutting corners on a pedestal. We plunge in. Don’t read instructions. Make an early exit. Honestly, we’re lucky when we don’t wind up a winner of the Darwin Awards.
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably figured out that we’re going to tell you take your foot off the pedal. We’re going to have the audacity to assert that, sometimes, easy isn’t always better. Even a guy like gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson knew that “anything worth doing is worth doing right.”
Here are five suggestions for taking the long way around:
Make a perfect cup of coffee.
Many of us live for that first cup of coffee in the morning. But actually taking the time to make it is another thing.
A daily trip to Starbuck’s can get expensive. So can the cost of those pods you’re feeding into your Keurig. So why not take a few minutes out of your morning to make that perfect cup of joe? You’ll savor it more and save some money in the process.
First, invest in a good French press (and a kettle to boil your water). Then, to really make a difference, find fresh beans of a flavor you like and grind them the same morning you’re brewing. Lastly, try different kinds of water to see how it alters the taste of your coffee. Water from your tap might be just fine, but why not experiment?
Lather up for a proper shave.
Sure, you use an electric razor when time is pressing. But when it’s not, there’s nothing quite like an old-fashioned shave.
Start by bathing your face in hot water. Then whisk up a lather with a badger-hair shaving brush. Gently, using a straight razor dipped in hot water, go with the grain of your beard. You’ll be amazed at the smoothness of your shave.
To finish, rinse your face with cold water and pat on some kind of after-shave moisturizer. Then you can catch up with the rest of the rushing world.
Write a real letter.
Do you remember how it made you feel the last time you received an actual handwritten letter? Special, right? Then again, in this age of emails and text messages, maybe the memory has faded — or you’ve never even gotten one.
The impact of sending a note through the mail to your friend, relative, or significant other can’t be overestimated — and not just because it’s increasingly rare. It shows you’ve taken the time, effort, and thought to communicate. And that’s a message all by itself.
Read a novel — with pages.
As long as we’re in a writerly mode, step a little further away from that TV or smartphone screen and embrace the joy of cracking open the spine of a new book. Take in the smell. Feel the book in your hands. Take pleasure in turning the page — and never having to worry about a dying battery.
There’s also something to be said for reading something longer than 140 characters. Because a well-told tale is a narrative that you can’t put down, for at least one more page.
Make dinner special.
Yes, grabbing takeout and planting yourself on the couch in front of the TV is common practice. But we also know there’s a better way. Hit the grocery store, grab some fresh ingredients, and make your own dinner.
Easy recipes can be found online, and you might surprise yourself and actually enjoy the process of cooking. (America’s most famous cookbook is called Joy of Cooking for a reason.) Mix yourself a cocktail and, while things are cooking, set a table.
If you have a friend or significant other with you, even better. But even if alone, relish in the meal you’ve just created. Treasure it more by maintaining some no-screen time. Besides, didn’t you just start a new book.