A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a few days on the beach in the midst of what has been a hectic time in my life. It was truly a blessing to be able to pull away from the busy and emotional times I have been going through.
For two days, this was my view as I read a couple of books:
I truly felt at peace and so relaxed as there was nothing pressing on me to get done right away. I had very few responsibilities those two days. It was definitely a freeing feeling!
As I sat there and stared at the water I thought about what it would be like if I could capture this feeling all the time. What would it take to make that happen?
I’m sure many of you, like me, have heard of the term “simple living” quite a bit over the last few years. There is a trend to pull back from our stuff and obligations to live a simpler lifestyle.
This concept of simple living was the first thing I thought of when I was trying to figure out how I could live freely with a feeling of peace at least most of the time. I’m not sure it’s possible to feel this way 24/7, however I think it’s something to strive for.
When I went back to my hotel room in the evenings, I began to think through what I could do to begin simplifying my life.
Before I share what I discovered, let me explain what I think simple living does NOT mean.
First, just because I’m living simply does not mean I have less stuff. For instance, there is a big move in the form of minimalism. That means you get by with as few things as possible. I think it’s possible to live simply and still have things you love and enjoy in your home.
Second, living simply does not necessarily mean living smaller. There is a trend toward tiny houses and downsizing. However, I don’t think you have to give up your larger home to live simply.
Third, simple living does not mean you will always be able to relax and live in a chaos-free environment. It does take work to maintain a simple lifestyle. But it is worth it in the long run if it frees you from dealing with chaotic situations all the time.
What does simple living mean to me?
Routines and systems
I have several routines I follow to keep myself on track and to keep my home running more smoothly. Morning and evening routines help me start and end the day on a productive note. I also have systems for doing the laundry, dealing with papers that come into my home, and keeping my email under control.
Because of these routines and systems, I can get a lot accomplished without a lot of thought. My goal now is to tweak these routines and systems and create new ones that will help me streamline my work even more.
Good time management
In order to live a simple life I can’t say yes to every opportunity that comes my way. In fact, many times I have to say no to fun activities because they don’t line up with what I’m doing in that season of my life.
I have to be on top of my time management game if I don’t want to feel behind or overwhelmed if I take on too much at one time. Knowing my tolerance level for a busy life helps me keep my commitments in check.
Keeping things in their place
Living simply means knowing what you have and where it is. That may sound a little extreme, but it is possible to do. I mentioned above that living simply does not necessarily mean I have less stuff. While I do purge and declutter often, I have lots of things that I love, use, and find joy in.
When your home is filled with these kinds of things, it makes for a more peaceful, comfortable environment. A word of caution though–you ONLY need to keep those things that you will use, love, and enjoy. Anything else is clutter.
Keeping all of your things in an organized fashion will help you find what you are looking for whenever you need it.
While I’ve not arrived yet, I am going to do my best to pursue a simple life this summer.
What about you? What does simple living mean to you?