Obvious Solutions

Obvious Solutions >> Life In Limbo

I’ve lived in my current apartment for almost three years now. And for three years, I’ve struggled to make myself shop at the truly great, truly discount grocery store that’s about a 15 minute walk away – No Frills, for all you Canadians. Every time I shop there, I am literally flabbergasted at how much money I save. There’s no comparison! But does that stop me from being lazy and going to the Extremely Expensive Sobeys that’s a two minute walk from my house? No, it does not.

See the thing is that walking home from that particular No Frills is a schlep when you’re carrying a big haul of groceries (two huge bags and a backpack full), no matter the season or temperature. I often (embarrassingly) have to pause to readjust the bag straps or just take a tiny break on my way. Because it’s a trek and because I go so rarely, I always need tons of things when I finally go, which means it’s an even more intense walk home. Which means I don’t go again for a while – see the vicious cycle?!

I can hear you now with the (very good) solutions! Get one of those trolley cart things, or take a cab home, or go shopping for fewer things, more often. I hear you, and I also stubbornly disliked all of those solutions (but ESPECIALLY the taxi one, blame my frugality). For better or for worse, I like solutions that are easy, obvious, and don’t require buying anything new.

Yesterday morning as I was brushing my teeth, I had a realization that was so obvious, I laughed out loud. It was like I had never once put two and two together – it almost felt like it hadn’t even been true before that moment! Ready for it? There is another No Frills on the streetcar line that I take all the time, that drops me off less than a block from my house. 

I’d never shopped there, because according to Google Maps, the walk is a whopping 6 minutes longer. When I moved in, I’d determined which was the “closest” location and stopped thinking about it, not even pausing to consider other transit options and never once reconsidering my decision!

All of this is to say: there might be an easy, obvious, cheap solution to whatever nuisance or annoyance or hassle that’s currently staring you in the face. In fact, I’m sure of it! Because of the shortcuts our brains take to save us time and mental energy, we purposely exclude options and ideas that don’t fit how we’ve already decided to do things. But with intention, we can revisit our decisions and overcome or change our heuristics. That’s what I’m trying to do, anyway! If you need me, I’ll be taking the streetcar home from No Frills.

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