This weekend a feeling of nostalgia came from a grocery shopping trip. In my current suburban life, I am 5 minutes away from two large grocery stores, multiple convenience stores, and restaurants of every style and cuisine. In Republic, Ohio, my mom planned carefully to make sure we had everything we needed given that we were 10 miles away from the nearest grocery store. She had our grocery shopping routine down to a science where we only needed to go “Krogering” every 2 weeks. In the week between she would make sure we had necessities from the gas station convenience store or make a quick trip to the grocery store when she was in town for work.
I looked forward to our “big nights out on the town”. Our shopping routine was simple – every other Friday we would head to town – the town being Tiffin, Ohio. We would have dinner out – either at Wendy’s or Pizza Hut (if it was “Book It” season). Then we would go to Kroger and do our shopping. My sister and I would either tag along as my parents shopped or spend the time in the magazine aisle reading Teen Beat. Nothing was on demand in this small town life – and I have the memories to remind me of that.
Today, in addition to the multiple stores within a quick drive, I have the option to do curbside pick-up at my local grocery store. If I don’t want to leave my house, I can have Amazon Prime deliver to me in 2 days, or Amazon Now get it to me in an hour. Don’t get me wrong – I am happy that I can take advantage of these technological and operational advances. But it does make me ask myself – has my life gotten so busy that I can’t spend an hour a week at the grocery store? If I try curb-side pick-up, will I fill the hour I’m not shopping with more important and memorable activities? Will my kids have the same shopping memories as I have? Or will the world evolve so that they won’t stand in the magazine aisle reading about the latest heartthrob while I pick out the week’s produce?
These all seem like trivial questions around such a mundane and necessary task. At the root of it, I’m trying hard not to over complicate my life.
Small Town Leadership lesson: The simple, routine parts of life are what I remember from my childhood. I remind myself that it’s my job to balance living in an on-demand world with small town simplicity. What parts of your childhood do you reminisce about the most? What memories will your children never know because life isn’t as it used to be?