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Live Simple: Five Steps Toward A Simple Life....Installment Three
IN THE BEGINNING
Well, in the beginning, we were in diapers, right? Then as little children we ran and played, collected toys, ran and played some more, and collected more toys. For most of us, our childhood days were pretty darn good. We had few cares, we had few responsibilities, and we really had a good life.
The teen years came and things changed just a bit. School was getting tougher and we were studying more and playing less. Our parents, God bless them, expected us to do chores and, heaven forbid, get a part-time job. Many of us liked those part-time jobs because that meant some disposable income and we could buy a few “luxury” items. We had a few girlfriends/boyfriends during these years (well, this author didn’t but most of you did), and we began to understand that life was about more than just having fun.
Early adulthood and the responsibilities started to increase. Maybe we got married early and had kids; maybe we just got a job out of college and started to accumulate the trappings of adulthood; whatever the case, life began to get a bit more complicated. The bills started piling up, we were working more hours to pay for it all, and we discovered the joy of credit cards.
The later years found us barely above water, or holding on for dear life, as cutbacks were being made at work and prices were rising faster than our income. Those credit card purchases that seemed like such a good idea five years ago are still being paid for, and creditors are calling on a daily basis. That new home and car aren’t new any longer and, in fact, will be needing repairs very soon, and where the heck is that money coming from? Carefree? What’s that? It seems like you are going 100 mph and still not catching your dreams.
Family time? Well, it’s getting less and less, as we are pulled in ten different directions all at the same time. Do you remember when everyone used to sit down for a family dinner? Those times are few and far between; both parents are working, the kids have their own interests, and round and round we go, where it stops nobody knows.
Does any of this sound familiar? Well, for many of us it does, and it was the impetus that led to a lifestyle change. We call that change Living Simple!
Living Simple is about regaining control of your life. Living Simple is about returning to a simpler lifestyle where you have a chance to smell the roses and get back in touch with those things that are most important, namely family and loving life.
What follows are five suggestions that just might help you regain that which has been lost.
Let's Take A Look At Your Needs
Which of the following could you easily live without?
ADOPT A MINIMALIST LIFESTYLE
When did it all start to go wrong? Modern society seemed to suck the life right out of us. Buy more, accumulate more, add to the possessions until the possessions owned us. It was dizzying and exhilarating while it was happening but now….now it is starting to weigh us down. It’s been life in the fast lane for so long now that no matter how powerful our personal engine we can’t keep up with the traffic.
Living Simple is all about stripping away the b.s. and getting back to basics. It is about shedding the extra weight of that which we do not need and adopting a minimalist lifestyle. Conveniences are just that….convenient. They may have been okay when we could afford them and had the time for them, but suddenly neither applies.
Minimalist living is about getting rid of the physical, mental, and emotional clutter so you can concentrate on that which should be most important.
LEARN LIMITS; WHAT IS NECESSARY AND WHAT IS FLUFF?
This writer has friends who have a 6,000 square foot home and practically every square foot of that house has clutter and stuff. Mind you, only two people live in this home, and yes, they can afford all of the extras which pour out of every spare space, but seriously, what is the point? I have entered their home for a visit and felt my blood pressure instantly rising. I can’t imagine living in such a manner.
What is necessary for living? Food, shelter, and love are the Big Three. After that, it is all fluff! Learn to set limits! Learn to budget! Learn to do without extras that are purchased for no other reason than the fact that they make you feel good.
Be very clear on this fact: to de-clutter one’s life requires a commitment. To de-clutter one’s life requires a complete psychic change in how you approach life. We have been hard-wired over the past several decades to buy, to collect, to accumulate, and sadly our self-worth has been attached to those possessions. We have come to believe that there is security in ownership, so by extension the more you own the more secure you will feel. Wrong!
Amusing Video About Frugal Living
Do not confuse this with organized religion. This writer has nothing against the religions of the world, and millions have found peace and comfort within a church’s four walls. However, spirituality is not confined by walls nor by a set of beliefs.
Spirituality is putting yourself back in touch with that which is important in life. Say hello to who you are; say hello to nature! Delve into the very reasons for living and prioritize what is most important in this thing called life. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and envision the basics of contentment.
When we peel away the skin and get down to the core, life is not about possessions. Life is not about the bling and the other adornments that we are surrounded by. Spirituality is about learning to be happy with the person within. It is about finding a sense of community with others, and that community learning to live in concert and harmony.
Spirituality is about inner-peace, and you won’t find that in the latest catalog from Land’s End or Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
Visit My Living Simple Blog
- Thoreau Led The Way To Living Simple « The Art of Living Simple
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” The words of Henry David Thoreau Now there was a guy who understood the basic principles of Livi
Cat's In The Cradle
For many, the year 2012 is synonymous with hectic. There are too many things to do. The list of daily chores is big enough to bring Atlas to his knees and leave him floundering on the ground, hopeless and lost. How can we make all the responsibility go away?
Well, we can’t, but we can simplify things a bit by establishing routines. Set up a daily schedule and then refer to it daily until it becomes second-nature to you.
There was a song back in the 60’s called “Cat's In The Cradle” about a father who was too busy and he couldn’t find time to play with his son. That song was written fifty years ago and I suspect it still applies in today’s world.
Remember, we are trying to prioritize so that we find time for that which is important. If we have to schedule time for the important things, then do so. Establish a routine that allows for family time at the same time daily. Establish a routine that allows for quiet time between you and your significant other. Establish a routine that allows for exercise and relaxation. Once you have established those routines, make a commitment to stick to them. There will always be distractions that can take you away from routines; it is up to you to ensure that those distractions are not allowed to do so.
Thoughts About Living Simple
- Living Simple: A Manifesto For Change
The beginning of the Living Simple series; in this article the author discusses his reasons for writing this series and the steps he has taken.
A Funny Video About Living Simple
WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU VS WHAT YOU CONSIDER NECESSARY
This is such an easy concept to grasp, but an amazingly difficult one to live. If you were to ask anyone on the street, I am willing to bet most would have a good idea what is best for them, but saying it and living it are two different things.
Remember, those things that are truly necessary are food, shelter and love. Some may think that a high-paying job is necessary because it is needed to pay for a certain lifestyle, but that is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. Some may think that owning three cars is necessary but in truth, it is only wanted, not needed.
What is necessary is survival! Period! It is our backwards, convoluted thinking that adds other things on the “necessary” list. As for what is best for you, we have now arrived at a new address in our journey. What is best is to satisfy our need to spend time with loved ones? What is best is to find time to relax and enjoy life. What is best is to become part of a caring community where values and principles are practiced. What is best is to do everything possible to find time to enjoy life at its most basic level.
CHANGE YOUR THINKING
One of my favorite quotes is by Henry David Thoreau. He said,”As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” How true are those words?
Living simple does not happen overnight, and it requires a willingness to make some rather drastic changes, but the rewards are amazing. Millions of people are now living a much simpler lifestyle and because of that they are happier than they have ever been.
Remember when you were a child, before the mortgage, before the fifty hour work week, and before the mountain of debt? Do you remember what it was like to live each day as if it were the most precious gift? Do you remember the joy that each day brought? Do you remember?
You can have that again! It is up to you! It just depends on how badly you want it.