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Living the Simple Life - How Much is Enough?

Updated on September 29, 2009

It seems that I am always trying to simplify my life. You would think that this shouldn't be an ongoing process, but it seems I blink and life is crazy again. This has me thinking - how much is enough? How many clothes a child needs is one thing I think about. I remember last winter when my daughter came into my room and exclaimed, while crying, "I have too many clothes and nothing to wear!" Do you feel the same? I know I do at times.

Part of me thinks that to live a simple life I shouldn't have to work at it. But in today's society we are constantly bombarded with things that other people think we need. Clothing, electronics, activities, volunteering, food, etc. it seems that everyone wants to pull us in different directions.  (Remember that when we own things, it takes our time to take care of those things.)  Have you stopped to think about how much is enough for you? I know of a family that refuses to schedule more than one thing per day (aside from school and work). Whatever is first on the calendar is what they do. With six people in my family this just wouldn't work, but there are many days I wish I had this rule.

My kids all started school this fall and for the first time I have a few hours a day to myself. I can't tell you how many times I have been asked to help with an event, be on a committee, even to chair a committee at my church. As soon as people found out we weren't homeschooling anymore they would ask me. One of the reasons we wanted to put our kids back in school was to simplify our lives. Our goal is for me to get many essentials done during the day, so that we aren't cramming them in, in the evening. If I start saying yes to help at everything, I won't have any time for the essentials. It is a constant battle to maintain my time at home to keep our lives simple.

How simple you want your life is really up to you, but I challenge you to at least think about it. Look at your closet and ask yourself how many pairs of pants you really need. Think before you buy that new TV - is your old one really broken or do you just want a bigger one. Before you sign your child up for the travel baseball team (a real life example we are facing right now) think about whether you can make that commitment to the team. There will be a financial commitment as well as a time commitment. More than that, can you spare that time away from your family?

Think about your values for a minute. Here are some of the things I am thinking about as we decide on the travel baseball team. Is this beneficial to the whole family or just one person? While it may benefit one person, is it going to harm the rest of the family? Will I have the time or energy to take three other kids along to one child's game and practice - several times a week? Do I value sports more than homework? Exercise more than sleep? Can I make the financial commitment or would that money be better spent elsewhere (or saved)?

I think that people blindly go about their lives without realizing how their choices affect their quality of life. If you want to simplify your life you need to take a hard look at the things you already do or have and anything new coming into your life. Think about ways you can pare down and enjoy simple things more. Do you have to go to the movies for entertainment or can you go for a bike ride instead? Does it have to be the travel team or will the regular league work for us in the instance? Do you need another pair of shoes, or does something you already own work fine still?

Here in the United States we are faced with so many choices. Everywhere we turn we have a choice to make. It gets tiring at times. I often wonder how many brands of coffee there really need to be and what the difference is anyway. If you are looking to simplify your life, ask yourself - how much is enough? In every instance, you can take a moment to ask yourself this question. My guess is that we will find we already have enough.


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    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      What you say couldn't be more true - many people are leading crazy lives trying to get so many things to fit into a very finite calendar. I am no exception and am seeking ways to clear it up a little.

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 8 years ago from Guwahati, India

      I like your hub. People must have a rational thinking.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Jennifer, you are right about the simple life. The simple life is less stressful and the things that we do and have, we appreciate more.

    • profile image

      Keira7 8 years ago

      Nice hub. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Dawn 8 years ago

      I often say, "Sometimes when you don't say no to someone else, you are in essence saying no to yourself." I wll be interested to find out if putting the kids back in shcool really simplifies your life. One of the reasons that we pulled ours out was to do the same. I have found it to be one of best choices we ever made.

    • emdi profile image

      emdi 8 years ago

      a very inspiring artilce. Some times we are tired of our choices. But there are many people in this world who dont have any choices, this is a motivation for me to make my life as simple as possible.

      - a little cat (Emdi)

    • kartika damon profile image

      kartika damon 8 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

      I think about this all time. My goal is simplicity, but it also seems there is so much to do and some of it is mandatory, and of course, some of it is voluntary and how can you juggle your time? - of course the full time job you need to pay the bills is very time consuming!

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Thank you Jennifer for simplifying things for us. enjoyed your hub. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • sandwichmom profile image

      sandwichmom 8 years ago from Arkansas

      I agree- So many people want to have more; be the person with them most "toys". Kids do not even learn how to entertain themselves any more. I have friends who can't beleive we never had any electronic games/ videos etc at our home- Now they may want to reconsider my ideas- my daughters have top scores in school- and one had scholarship offers in sports and academics- (the other is 14 ) Less is sometimes more