Confession: I don’t live in a cloister or shun modern conveniences and technology — and I don’t plan on doing so any time soon.
I work full-time entirely on the Internet, and I love my iMac and my iPod Touch. These technological advancements enrich my life by connecting me with family and friends around the world, keeping me current on world events, providing me with e-books in English that would be difficult and prohibitively expensive to get in paper form, and so much more.
I always have several projects going at once, whether for work or pleasure, and I say, without shame or guilt, I strive to be successful in whatever I do; I relish the feelings of accomplishment and success.
Why am I bringing all this up?
Because from various comments and messages recently, I’ve come to understand that some people equate simplicity with the requirement that one give up modern conveniences and/or career aspirations. I suppose that is one definition of a simpler lifestyle, but it’s certainly not my definition of simplicity. To me, the ideas of having a successful career and living a simpler lifestyle aren’t mutually exclusive.
You don’t have to live like a pauper, give up all modern conveniences, or denounce a career in order to infuse simplicity into your life.
In my definition of simplicity, my goals are several, and include but are not limited to:
- Paring down my physical belongings (this is not easy for me as I’m a natural pack rat, but I’m working at it!);
- Narrowing my activities and concerns so I’m focused only on those most important to me;
- Making sure my family, including four-legged creatures, are well-taken care of;
- Honing the craft of writing and other artistic pursuits;
- Growing and raising as much of our food as possible both for our own benefit and for the environment’s;
- Buying local products whenever possible and reducing waste;
- Incorporating daily yoga and longer walks into my life for guaranteed downtime;
- Practicing mindfulness in all I do — really being present in the moment;
- Appreciating small, everyday joys in life while dwelling less on negatives.
I say “not limited to” because my goals are constantly evolving; I’ve found that after making one small change in my life, I’ve been excited to take on another, and another, and another. Maybe you’ve experienced that too, or maybe you will find it to be true. Or maybe not. My definition of simplicity and my experiences regarding it may not be the same as yours — and that’s not only fine, it’s to be expected.
We are all entitled to design our own lives, which means there is no “one size fits all” plan.
And this is where the hard work comes in.
You have to figure out for yourself where your happiness lies, what your most important concerns are, and what changes you would like to make in your life. Preserving your own food may sound like torture to you, and perhaps you just really love your SUV and couldn’t live without it. OK — let’s move on from there, because these preferences don’t mean you can’t incorporate other small changes into your life if you truly want to simplify.
Moving toward a simpler lifestyle doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and it certainly doesn’t have to happen overnight — but you are responsible for defining your own simplicity so you can get started and continue down that path.
What does simplicity mean to you? What are you doing or what can you do to move closer to living your definition of simplicity?