Truly Living a Simple Life, or Not

Since my commute to work is a little over a half hour, I decided to try out audiobooks, both fiction and nonfiction, hoping it would help me enjoy my ride a little more. I have found that neither worked for me as I kept missing important parts of the book due to traffic, or the narrator. Recently, I started listening to podcasts and found they are a perfect morale booster for my day.

Today I listened to Playing it Safe on the Slow Your Home podcast series. Mark Shapiro discussed authenticity, both in how you live your life and daily truths. My last blog post discussed the Simple Life principles we live by; and I knew I wanted to write a follow up. The topic of authenticity helped me think about why I don't always feel I live a simple life

Overall, we are meeting the principles we set forth for trying to live a simple life. Daily, however, it doesn't always seem so simple. Over the past year, we have decluttered and I arrive home to a pretty cleaned-up house. The kitchen counter can be a drop off point that needs weekly attention, and there is a pile of shoes by the back door that you can't see, but otherwise we do not have overwhelming clutter.


Create a routine of putting things away 
so you can come home to a relatively clean-looking house. 


Shortly after arriving home, it happens. I feel like I have too much to do and the stress sets in. What am I doing wrong? Whey aren't the principles working for me? I have been pondering this all day.


We have hardly anything extra on our calendar besides work and grocery shopping, so I have time. But it seems I can't turn off the ideas of things I want to do. I'm not one to sit in front of the TV all night, and as my husband always asks - can't you turn your mind off? NO! 

And here in lies my problem (I think). I have not truly embraced simple life because I am not letting go of all the things I want to do. Oh, they are good things: exercise, make healthy food, read, write, sew, take pictures, check my phone, talk to family, listen to music etc etc. However, the sheer amount of what I want to do, added to the things I have to do to help keep our home running, has me feeling stressed.

By nature, I am very creative. After finishing the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, I found I relate to a lot of it. It is hard for me to truly relax and not think about what I want to create. My wants tend to turn into needs in my mind and I have to stop if I am going to wholeheartedly embrace simple living.

Additionally, there are just going to be some days where I have no choice but to face a larger to-do list. The holiday season tends to add to that (ie. the holiday cards that still need to be sent out.) Unfortunately, I seem to resent those days instead of being patient with them.

I've diagnosed the problem and now I need to find solutions. So far, the only one that popped into my mind is to designate particular days to certain creative endeavors - sewing one day, writing another, reading another and so forth.

Then I read Kelly Exeter's post about her new book - Practical Perfection. I read the post because I read most posts in my feed. I didn't think I was a perfectionist. But oh my gosh, she wrote about me! I am not aligning passion, productivity, and prioritization at all. Instead, I usually hit two of the three and feel I keep needing to do more. I'm eager to read her new book! (Take a peak if you are interested in learning more.)

Brooke's Slow Your Home Podcasts have given me excellent topics to contemplate around my need to simplify my mind and be present in what I am doing. I definitely multitask too much, even if part of the multitasking is going on in my head.

Finally, I ask you for advice so I can have a few more strategies up my sleeve. Any ideas for me to have a simple life? What works for you?

Comments

  1. It is such a challenge to balance all of our responsibilities and align them with all that we want to do, isn't it? I can relate - I love simple living, but it is an ongoing process, and it takes time to experiment and figure out what works and what doesn't. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Carina, yes, it certainly is an ongoing process. The change in seasons, children growing up, new opportunities - Sometimes I feel that each month I am trying something new to help keep on track with simple living. While I love learning new things and finding new ideas that can help me, I need to be careful not to jump from one thing to the next without some contemplation.

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  2. Hello fellow Hope Writer! Stopped by to look around your lovely blog. As children are leaving my nest faster than I can believe, I yearn for simple. Trying all sorts of new things. Thanks for sharing and blessings on your new year!

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    1. Thank you! Would love to hear the things you are trying :)

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  3. My mind is like your mind. It's always filling with things I'd like to do. Again, all good things, but still just many, many things. I am going to be more intentional about creating a stillness practice and trying to move more slowly (i.e. mindfully) from each of the things that I do. I'm hoping this infuses my day with a feeling of groundedness, and stillness, and space. Of course, this won't happen all of the time. Life gets in the way... but I'd like to move through my days with a bit more awareness and intention on most days, rather than being pulled around by my day. I did a meditation this morning and some yoga, instead of the other workout I had planned, and it was just what I needed today. I'm grateful I allowed flexibility in my schedule and within myself to notice what I needed rather than what I had on my workout calendar and that I was able to adjust accordingly.

    I ended up not sending out holiday cards this year, the first time in probably over 15 years. I had plenty of time. I just didn't have the desire to do so this time around. When it popped up on my electronic "to do" list, I let it sit there for a couple of days allowing me time to contemplate it, and then after some thinking, I deleted it. I felt a sense of relief as it was one less thing I needed to do and could focus on other things... like decluttering the garage. I'm happily parked in there right now, as it's 32 degrees out today. :D

    I just finished Big Magic and really enjoyed it. It was down-to-earth and approachable and many of the things were words I needed to hear. I do know that I'm a recovering perfectionist so I'm going to check out that book you mentioned when I am finished with what I'm currently reading. Thanks for sharing your experience in such an honest and thoughtful way.

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    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for such a lovely response! Your approach sounds wonderful - moving mindfully with more awareness and intention. I tried that yesterday and it worked well despite all the "Sunday after a holiday before returning to work things to get done" on my list.

      Oh those Christmas cards - I completely understand. I sent them out very late this year for similar reasons; and we received fewer this year. Maybe they are changing for everyone.

      Glad to hear you enjoyed Big Magic! Your paintings are beautiful :)

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