For several years now I have shared my story and my desire for everyone to embrace the idea of simplicity. My message, along with others who embrace rational minimalism, has been fairly simple: Do less. Be More. On most days, I stay focused, but sometimes I let others interfere in the plan (and by others, I really just mean my Ego), but what I truly know is that staying focused on what really matters in my life helps me to create a more simple life.
Like many who grew up in the material world of the 80’s, I struggle sometimes with drawing the line between what I need and what I want. Additionally, when people walk into my house and see its sparse decor, I worry they think I can’t afford to buy things to fill up the space. Then I beat myself up for even caring about that at all, because I know in my heart I’d rather spend my weekends hiking with my kiddo than dusting, cleaning, and organizing, so why get all worked up by what they think? Truthfully, I know the message of simplicity appeals to the hearts of many by the number of friends, family members and readers who have reported taking steps to make changes.
“I have come to believe and understand that minimalism, the intentional promotion of the things I most value and the removal of everything that distracts me from it is a message that appeals to the heart and resonates with the soul. It is an invitation that is appreciated, desired, and often accepted when offered.” – Josh Becker
I think all of us, if we spent time listening to our heart instead of the endless stream of advertisements, would realize that disengaging from distractions in any form can help solidify these truths:
Possessions do not equal joy. Recently I looked into buying a little Tiny Cabin. I wanted it in the back yard because I work from home and wanted a REAL office instead of the modified (yet functional!) area in my kitchen that is currently where I work each day. (Yeah, as if this ‘real’ office would make me put on make up and get out of my yoga pants. Not.) Anyway I started thinking that $8,000 for another space I’d have to maintain just didn’t feel worth it. My head said “This (cabin) will make work better”. Thankfully, my heart said “Only I can make my work better. Not my office.
When we have true freedom, our head and heart are in synch. This weekend I was able to spend all day relaxing. If the following weekend is nice, I plan to take my son on a nature adventure. He is at an age where I’m still kinda cool and he seems to still enjoy our time together. I have been working a second gig in the evenings – not because I need to, but because I haven’t figured out how not to (another blog, another time.) But the wintery weather has left me with evenings free for about three weeks and you know what…I’ve enjoyed them. I’ve decided I will keep this going for another few months, but after that, I’m going to focus on me and my relationships instead of working all the time. I want to play in the mud and dig up worms, maybe plant a few tomatoes to see if I don’t kill them, and take weekend trips.
Simplicity just makes fiscal sense. I didn’t wake up one day and say “Gosh…I think I’ll work 40 hours a week for the rest of my life to pay off Capital One”. But somewhere, I bought the lies – and bought a bunch of other crap, for that matter. Today, I can honestly say I still make mistakes (Um…like considering a purchase of a tiny cabin…) but also rejoice when I can admit those mistake . I didn’t go down the Simplicity road to find fiscal freedom but the path has certainly made it easier.
Simplicity gives us freedom to choose better options. Work the weekends or play in the mud? Buy healthy locally grown food or processed boxed meals? Simplicity doesn’t always mean you have to ‘give up’ something. I traded a gym membership to save for a treadmill I can use at home. I traded high-dollar coffee drinks for organic glass bottled non-homogenized milk. I spend a little more money to order things online because I know I’d probably spend the same amount impulse shopping at the grocery store. Simplicity is about trading up – not living with a scarcity mentality.
Recently, I have been challenging old beliefs, focusing on what truly matters in my life, and setting priorities based on new emerging thoughts. It hasn’t been easy, but knowing I can come back to the basics keeps me grounded and better prepared to spend time and money on what is truly important. As dismal as it may seem, our days are numbered. I’d rather spend my time with my people than paying off my stuff. My choice in this will bring me greater joy, most likely, than anything I could purchase.
I wish you a simple week, dear reader. And I hope all is well in your world. I wonder, though:
What can you do without in order to have something better?
What hobbies or activities are you neglecting because you’ve got internal and external clutter weighing you down?
Speaking of ‘internal clutter’ – what thoughts do you battle with that keep you from gaining freedom?
I’m curious about all these – so feel free to reach out. Until next weekend…here’s your song. Stay warm and healthy. Stop touching your face and social distance as much as you can. I think we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and for once, it isn’t a train.