At work, a common strategy for resolving a high priority issue is to quickly implement a short-term fix (or hack) and then take time to build the right long-term solution. This method is used outside of software, of course. Short-term hacks are everywhere.
Before my simpler living and semi-retirement planning started two years ago, I had many “how did I get here?” and “who have I become?” moments, typically during or after a vacation. On a five-day camping trip to Death Valley National Park in 2010, I thought: how can I be eating better here than at home?
For a few years after moving west, my typical evening dinner (if I wasn’t eating out), was sticking an Amy’s Kitchen meal in the microwave. Now Amy’s Kitchen products are vegetarian with mostly organic ingredients, but these were still microwave dinners—a convenience food INTENDED FOR OCCASIONAL USE ONLY. I was, as I recalled, someone who loved to cook and whose favoUrite job was in a vegetarian restaurant. I decided on that trip that I just couldn’t do microwave dinners anymore*.
Now on Sunday nights, I feel that my work week is off to a good start if I’ve cooked enough food to provide my evening meals through Wednesday. I want to eat healthily, but don’t want to take time to cook (beyond making a green salad) when I get home from work—so until I have more free time in semi-retirement, food prep on the weekend is my mid-term solution. When that doesn’t happen, I have to resort to a hack: soup from a box or chili from a can.
Since somehow I had come to see microwave meals as dinner, I’ve been looking for hacks in other areas in my life where a long-term fix was always expected—but I haven’t got around to it or, with my lousy memory, I’ve forgotten about it. Certainly, that includes the meds I’ve taken occasionally in the last few years for annoying health issues that I know I need to resolve permanently through diet, exercise and stress reduction.
The problem everywhere is that with a growing backlog of necessary long-term fixes and limited resources, some stuff just never gets done, especially if it’s beyond a lifespan or political term—and the well-being of me, other people, other sentient beings, the planet suffers. I am unforgetting. I am ungiving up. And the duct tape is coming unstuck.
*I continue to buy other Amy’s Kitchen products (still family owned after almost 30 years), as a treat (pizza!) or an acknowledged hack, but haven’t had a microwave dinner since 2010. And I am grateful that I have a choice: access to fresh produce and other healthy ingredients and the ability to educate myself about food.
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