For almost nine years now, I’ve been learning to live a simple life.
A life uncluttered by most of the things people fill their lives with, and left with space for what really matters. A life that isn’t constant busy-ness and rushing, but contemplation and creation, connection with people I love, and time for nature and activity.
That doesn’t mean I have zero clutter and zero complications: I’m a part of the world, not a secluded monk. I have possessions, electronics, distractions, and occasional busy-ness. I just have reduced it to make space.
I’ve been reflecting on this simple life, and thought I’d share some of those reflections.
Living the simple life
Some things I have learned about living the simple life:
1. Decluttering your home and work space can lead to a less cluttered mind. These visual distractions pull on us in more ways than we realize.
2. A quiet, unrushed morning is a thing to treasure. I wake early so that I have some quiet time to read, write, meditate.
3. You can’t have a simple life if you’re unwilling to let go of what you’re used to.
4. Letting go can be difficult, but is easier if you do a one-month challenge. Let go of something for a month and see whether you like it or not.
5. Letting go of cable TV was one of the best things we did early on — no more constant television in my home, no more ads for crappy things we don’t need.
6. Shopping isn’t therapy. It’s a waste of time and money.
7. If you’re filling your life with distractions, its probably because you’re afraid of what life would be like without constant internet, social media, news, TV, games, snacks.
8. Simple, whole, healthy food is not only much healthier than junk food: it’s a pleasure.
9. You have to make time for what’s important: time with your kids, time with your spouse, time for creating, time for exercise. Push everything else aside to make time.
10. Over-committing is the biggest sin against simple living most people make. I painfully cut out a huge number of commitments to simplify my life, and I’m glad I did. I do this every year
or so because I keep forgetting.
11. I keep my days mostly unstructured and unscheduled so that I have room for the little things that are so important: reading with my child, going for a walk, taking a nap.
12. I have certain activities I do almost every day, though not on a schedule: writing, reading, eating healthy meals, doing a workout or playing with the kids outdoors, processing my email
inbox, reading with the kids.
13. It’s easy to fill up our lives because there are so many things that sound amazing. We hear about what others are doing and instantly want to add that to our lives. But it’s harder to remember that by adding so many things to our lives, we are subtracting space. And that space is important.