Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lost "Arts"

When was the last time you did any of these things?:

Used a sewing machine to make a garment
Changed the oil on your own car
Made biscuits from scratch
Wrote a letter to family or friend in longhand
Wrapped a present (without using a bag!)
Played a musical instrument
Sang in a chorus/choir
Created a piece of art
Went on a walk just to enjoy nature
Gave yourself a manicure/pedicure

This is not an indictment of anyone's personal practices - just an observation that we may be becoming more and more removed from certain types of activities that used to be part of our daily lives, responsibilities, and small personal joys. Sure, things change over the years. But it strikes me that we are constantly undergoing meaningful cultural change. And it's not all good. Aren't we more than a bit spoiled?

There was a time that if I wanted an outfit for a special occasion, I would buy a pattern and fabric, and make it myself. I remember, with fondness, a killer magenta dress that I made for a date sometime in the mid-80's. I recently bought a new sewing machine and have material for a summer frock, but am having trouble getting that project off the ground. Funny how intimidating a new sewing machine, still in its box, can be...

I admit that I never changed the oil on my own car, but today, when you can have it done in 20 minutes for 30 dollars - why would you do it yourself? Someone else can deal with the environmental requirements for disposing of the old oil, while you have a Starbucks.

Internet shopping and gift wrap services have eliminated the need to wrap a lot of presents. But I make sure I buy wrapping paper and bows to make some gifts extra-special for the recipient. It wouldn't seem like Christmas otherwise.

Last year, I got a long, newsy handwritten letter from a friend. It was tucked into a Christmas card. I recognized it for what it was, a true gift from the heart.

Many, many conveniences are available for a price. They help us save time, but usually at a price. Sometimes the payment comes from your wallet. Sometimes the price is a loss of connectivity to things that matter. However you do what you do; please make sure you are staying dialed in to life.

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