#47 - Instant Oatmeal

Why is everyone in such a hurry? It wasn't that long ago that the oatmeal that came out of a box and only took 5 minutes to cook was "Instant Oatmeal." Now, you can make a bowl of mush that was probably once actually oats in less than a minute in the microwave. And even then, people stand next to it, wishing it would be done already so they can eat and run.

The other day, I was hurtling down the freeway at 70 mph, next to a bunch of other people who were also hurtling down the freeway at 70 mph, and the insanity of it all just hit me. Maybe the reason life speeds up when we grow older is because /we/ speed up. As a kid, we did a lot of walking. Then, it turned to bikes, and finally, to cars, and, not long after, to flying at speeds well in excess of the speed limit.

Everything we've invented to make our lives easier is actually making them harder. Stop and think about it - we invent washing machines, and then we counter-invent owning hundreds of items of clothing and washing them after 1 wear with no regard to whether they're actually dirty or not. We invent cars, and then we counter-invent working an hour's drive away from our homes. We invent computers, and then we counter-invent so many programs to run on them that everything is constantly crashing, and we're constantly having to upgrade them. We invent the internet, only to counter-invent billions of websites, blogs, email programs, etc. that can literally keep us chained to our desks for 24 hours a day. And all of these things take us away from actually spending time with our families, friends, etc.

I just wish everything would slow down a little bit. We need to take time to breathe, enjoy the moment, treasure life.

A little boy was run over and killed yesterday in Saratoga Springs while his mother was standing there, waving good-bye to her other children at the bus stop. I've been thinking a lot lately about the subject above, but this tragedy really hit me and made me determined to slow down and treasure life. It isn't going to last forever.

While your oatmeal is cooking for 30 seconds in the microwave, turn around and talk to your kids instead of standing there, impatiently waiting for it to be done so you can rush off to the next thing. Better yet, get one of those tubs of old-fashioned rolled oats and take 5 whole minutes to savor life.


  1. I've been thinking a lot about this lately too. 50 years ago during the summer, people would spend time on their front porches drinking lemonade, watching the children play, talking to people passing by, enjoying the lazy summer days. Although our summer has been packed with fun activities, we have not had much time just sitting back, relaxing and enjoying it. Life is so packed, so busy, so fast-paced. It would really help if we would stop doing project after project and just relax.

    How terrible about that little boy. I just read a blog the other day from a mother whose 14 month old baby girl drowned in their hot tub. I can't imagine the pain, especially having a baby so close to her age. I've been scooping up Brielle for the last few days every time I see her and hold her close.

  2. Ahh, what a great post Jennifer. You are so, so right!

    I've decided to homeschool my boys this year. A lot of things on my 'to do' list are getting relegated to the bottom of the priority list because my boys are (imagine!) going to be coming first.

    One of the reasons why I wanted to homeschool them was precisely because they are so precious and I'm missing out on so much by them being gone all day long.

    I hope I can do this, because I want to savor life - I want to cherish my baby boys. I want to treasure life.

    Thanks for the reminder AND the encouragement!

  3. Great blog, Jennifer. It's ironic how we make our own lives so frantic isn't it. I enjoyed your comments.

  4. Tone down that music honey. I nearly fell off my chair. And it woke up everyone in the house.

  5. Anonymous, Are you saying the music was too loud? Perhaps you could try turning your speakers down.

  6. Unless you're speaking figuratively, of course. In which case, I'd like to know why you found this post so hysterical that your laughing woke the whole house up. :)

  7. Jennifer - What an excellent post. I tend to get so caught up in committees and to-do lists, that I lose track of the one thing that's really important - my family. I have to consciously re-evaluate how I'm spending my time. Every month I look over our schedule and make sure we're taking time out for good old family play time.

    BTW - what music? I have my speakers on and don't hear anything.

  8. Danyelle, I have a playlist on my blog, but instead of putting it on the sidebar like most people do, I put it at the bottom of the screen, so you have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page before it turns on.

  9. I didn't hear about that little child. What a horrible tragedy.

  10. I heard about that accident, so sad. Things never seem so important once you hear about things like this. Great post, Jen, and great reminder. Life is meant to be lived, not watched out the window at 100 miles an hour.

  11. To anonymous, I say, whatever. Your playlist is fine! Party pooper...

    Anyway, I really enjoyed this post. Such a great reminder. To take your object lesson a little further, I've begun eating steel-cut oats - they take like almost an hour to cook but they're SOOOO good (and better for you). I guess when we slow down and really take some time, the rewards are greater.

  12. "The emergence of New Media is facilitating a world-wide conversation on almost every subject including religion, and nearly everyone can participate. ...

    "Conversations will continue whether or not we choose to participate in them. But we cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches. ...

    "The challenge is that there are too many people participating in conversation about the Church for our Church personnel to converse with and respond to individually. We cannot answer every question, satisfy every inquiry, and respond to every inaccuracy that exists. ...some who seek answers want them to come directly from a member of the Church, like each one of you. ...

    "May I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet, particularly the New Media, to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration. Most of you already know that if you have access to the Internet you can start a blog in minutes and begin sharing what you know to be true. You can download videos from Church and other appropriate sites, including Newsroom at LDS.org, and send them to your friends. You can write to media sites on the Internet that report on the Church, and voice your views as to the accuracy of the reports. ...

  13. A lot of comedians talk about this topic--how there are 2 directions for pop tarts. The one minute version of toasting and the 3 second version of microwaving. Time to loosen up our schedules :) Sad about the little boy in Saratoga Springs too. The mom is a friend of a friend, so it really hit home.


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