Over the years, I’ve been asked many times what the key to living simply is. There is no easy answer but there are some things I’ve come to understand as I’ve changed the way I live.
When I set out to simplify my life, my basic understanding of simple living was that it was not a single idea like debt reduction or food production; it was many loosely associated concepts rolled into one. Now I know that the definition of ‘simple life’ is different for each of us and will change as time goes on. My own definition is centred around slowing down to live a life that is focused on family, friends and home while voluntarily spending less, buying local food and products as much as possible, being more environmentally aware and becoming skilled enough to be self-reliant and partially self-sufficient. In my version of the simple life, work plays a large part and ‘enough’ really is enough.
~ Rhonda Hetzel in The Simple Life
She said it. If I were to define a ‘simple life’, it would be almost the same as what Rhonda Hetzel says about it.
The greater the number of days I bumble through life – and the huge maze that is the world – the greater is my craving for a simple life. Not because the concept of a simple life is fashionable these days, but because that is what I crave for from deep within me. The craving is so deep and palpable of late that it seems to be oh-so-often on my mind.
‘A simple life’ is the automatic answer my mind gives me when I tell it I am tired of my stresses, of ridiculous people, of never-ending chores, of unfinished projects, and the demands of a highly competitive time. Sometimes, I think I am slowly getting to the kind of simple life that I want to live. On other days, I think I am too caught up in too many things to ever get to a simple life. As Rhonda says, it is complicated. It is a series of decisions, it is a combination of a lot of things. It takes time; it is not something that happens overnight. Living a simple life in a world that places its bets on ‘fast’ most of the times is very tough; it is not as simple as it sounds – I realise that every single day. It takes a whole lot of sheer physical effort as well as a tough mental disposition. It is especially difficult if you are an up-and-coming young person, who everyone naturally assumes should be hankering after rising in one’s career and in the world. No one really understands this kind of hankering after.
Post 2011 and through 2014, I was determined to lead a simple life, and I did lead my version of one. I can say it worked wonders for me (I got pregnant naturally, something that was just not happening when I was way too caught up in a number of stresses earlier. That definitely says a whole lot about that kind of life, right?) All said and done, I find I am back to the grind now, back to a fast-paced life. Or is it that after that ‘slowing down’ period in my life, even things moving at an ordinary pace seem too fast-paced to me? Could be! Once you have lived – and enjoyed – a simple life, it does render you unfit to really relax into any other kind of lifestyle.
Anyways, I have been thinking a lot about the simple life lately, and doing what I can to this end. Till I figure it out, I will bumble on. I guess.
ETA: Rhonda Hetzel apparently has a blog, and it is super-inspiring. I am so glad to have come across her!