Monday Musings…Taking a Hack at Life Hacks

You have to admit it - we have it pretty easy. The ‘greatest’ of modern-day inventions are all about convenience. We have ready made meals, dishwashers to clean up after us, vacuum cleaner robots to do the housework for us, heated seats and steering wheels in our vehicles, and the list could go on – those are just a few of the conveniences I enjoy, I confess. But this ‘easy way out’ can have a very dark side, as we saw in the news this week: if we have the right connections and enough money, we can get into college without even trying! It seems like we all want the easy ride in life.

“Life hacks” entered the Oxford dictionary as an official term in 2011, but we all know the term ‘hack’ has been in existence since the first tool was used to cut down vegetation or gut an animal. Fast forward to the early 2000's when the word became synonymous with the world of technology. But today, that term has moved away from primitive survival or keyboard strokes of genius, to the lively connotation of creating clever concoctions that will lighten our daily burdens so we can have more time for what really matters, such as Netflix or YouTube!

And so, because my dirty dishes were being washed by a machine and not me, I indeed got to spend some quality time this weekend watching YouTube. I tuned into a channel featuring a pair of hands making crafts out of crayons. Now truth be told, I am utterly useless at crafts and run from every opportunity to partake in such ventures, but my 3-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter was quite spell-bound by the wondrous creations of these fantastical fingers. I had to admit, there were some pretty innovative uses for used and broken crayons. In fact, as all the crayons melted together, it did become a literal ‘green’ project. Hooray for recycling and not clogging our landfills with 5 mm bits of rainbow coloured wax! This was quite a clever life hack for creating works of art whose usefulness I’m not sure will last until the next garbage collection day.

I decided to investigate some more hacks and so navigated my way onto of course. Here are some of their top hacks:

  • “When you want to cross words out you don’t want to be legible, instead of scribbling over them, write random letters and words over the original.” …. instead of starting over on a new page? This explains a lot of what I read in college now. Thank you, Life Hack!

  • “Use a rubber band (tied around both handles) to keep a door from latching” ….so thieves are welcome into my house/office? …. or so I don’t need to remember where my keys are? Not sure about this one. I think I will get hacked if I do this.

  • “Does your dorm room smell bad? Tape a dryer sheet over the AC unit and turn it on.” Ok, now! Is this not a hygiene issue? Like take a shower, use deodorant, wash your sheets or gym clothes? … or maybe you have to throw out the moldy smoothie cup that has been under the bed since December?

I could go on but hey, you can use the time you would have spent doing the dishes yourself, checking out the website.

What I want you to notice about these life hacks, is that they are band-aid answers, replacing the real solutions that will stand the test of time. They won’t help you on your resume; they won’t keep you safe; and they won’t remove the actual root of the problem. And that is my beef with life hacks. We all want a quick fix for every ‘problem’ in life, whether that is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. And truth be told, hacks just won’t create the permanent growth and change that most of us need to live long and healthy lives. There is no quick diet or exercise regimen out there that will produce lasting results. There is no magic pill that will cure mental illness overnight, in a week, or even a month. There is no therapy that will ease your pain in the first session. There is no prayer you can pray, that will guarantee you a life without struggle. But do people fall for the ‘hacks’? Are they willing to try anything for a quick and easy fix to their problems? You know the answer.

The result of this hack mentality is a false sense of security, and when the reality hits that they are temporary solutions at best, well the person gives up, and their hope for a better life ends up in the landfill with the broken crayons.

There’s no hacking at physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual fitness. It requires discipline, determination, and doing the grunt work it takes to get things in order. If we want lasting change in our lives, we have to take a hack to whatever ‘life hacks’ we’ve been depending on. We have to remember the basics of hard work and not cutting corners.

It’s interesting that my dishwasher is definitely on its last leg, and you and I know that the only solution to get those glasses clean is not to put them through wash cycle 3 times (yup I have done that and how wasteful is that?) but what I need to do is wash them myself! Most times in life, that’s exactly what we have to do with the bigger issues too.

The easy ride is a false illusion. There are no short cuts in this life. Let’s take a hack to that trap and "Rise Up" as Andra Day sings as you climb the mountain that Monday presents to you!

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