Since the lockdown began, I’ve been asking myself what simple living really means much more often. I have to give thanks to the pandemic for providing me the opportunity to slow down and reevaluate life.
I didn’t think my life was particular complicated before the lockdown. And yet, it turns out that it really was. Just think about it all that we do in a day. Every day we get up there’s work, commuting, shopping, social media, housework, social obligations…the list goes on! There is always something to do.
At least that’s how it felt for me.
And you know what?
The constant busyness was making me miserable and it took being forced to slow down for me to realize it.
So just what is “Simple Living?”
You can search the internet and find a million definitions, but I’ll tell you what it means to me.
First, it means breaking free from my attachment to things.
No, I’m not going full minimalist on you. But, during the first few weeks of lockdown I did go through multiple waves of decluttering. I often feel as though I have tons of things and no place to put them all. When I see all of this (meaningless) stuff without a proper home or spilling into other areas it definitely puts a damper on my state of mind. Knickknacks, books, clothes… At some point it becomes too much. I tend to keep things out of an emotional attachment or thinking that it might be useful one day in the far off future. I started to feel that was ridiculous so I had to sit down and think about the things I was holding onto. Anything that I wasn’t using often or absolutely loved had to go. No exceptions.
Admittedly, I’m still doing this. But with each wave, it becomes easier to part with items and I feel better afterwards.
The second part of breaking the attachment is, of course, stopping myself from bringing new things in. Luckily for me, retail therapy does not fit my debt-free goals. That makes this part much easier for me to handle.
Second, it means becoming more conscious and self-sufficient.
This one came about as a result of my health goals. I decided to make my food choices as simple as possible by giving up processed foods and eating out, and opting to cook everything instead. It really was a chore at first, but now I love the process from start to finish (yes, even the dishes!).
Anyway, this snowballed into me starting a garden and doing my best to buy local and from smaller stores. Especially with everything going on, I want to try to support small business while experiencing the joy of caring for and eating the food that I have grown. I’m not expecting to be a farmer, but the thought of knowing where at least some of my fresh veggies are coming from brings me joy.
Additionally, I want to be more conscious of how much waste we create in our household and look for ways to decrease it. The goal is to be live a more sustainable lifestyle as that would benefit myself and the Earth.
Third, it means honing in on what really matters.
I mentioned in the first paragraph about how sometimes we are busy just to be busy. I want to stop filling up a to-do list just to have something to do. I also want to cut back on activities that suck up my time and that I don’t enjoy. For example, since starting to work from home, I’ve realized that spending 1.5-2hrs commuting everyday, regardless of my pay, is really not benefiting me. It cuts in on my time to sleep, workout, read…I could think of a million things I would rather do than have that commute every day of the week.
This also means saying no to more things so that I can have the opportunity to say yes to the things I’m really passionate about. So, I want to work on weeding out the things that are getting in the way of me enjoying my life now. I don’t want to wait until retirement to have time for the things that matter to me.
Finally, it means giving myself permission to just exist.
To just be in the moment. To do the things that interest me and stop when they don’t. Giving myself the space to be creative and explore every whim. But also giving myself permission to sit outside on the porch with my plants and not do anything. More and more, I’ve been wanting to just disconnect from social media and the outside world and simply be at peace. And I think I should honor that feeling.
I want to get to the point where life doesn’t feel so complicated so that I can enjoy it to the fullest before it’s too late. Because one day it will be and I don’t want “wishing I took the time to slow down” to be a regret.
What do you think of “simple living”? Does the term have any particular meaning to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Until next time,