I receive questions from time to time about leading a simple lifestyle and what kind of advice I have about it. I am only an expert on my own life, but I can offer some things that I have learned along the way.
It’s a process, not a destination
The single most important thing I have learned is that a simple lifestyle is just that – a lifestyle. It’s something that changes, requires adjusting as time goes on and reflects who I am at any given time. There are no steps, no requirements, so it’s an inner journey that never ends. While there are tangible things that go along with my simple life, even those will change along the way. The key for me is embracing what the simple life means and living it out in a way that is authentic to me.
It’s not a competition
And if it was, I might lose. I don’t wear one simple dress and wash it by hand each night. I don’t grow all my own food. I do what works for me and my family. The beauty of choosing a simple life has been letting go of all the cares about what others think, not competing to keep up or have the least or the most of something, and to just be happy with who I am and what I have and that I am making the life that is best for me and my family.
There are no rules
I”ve been challenged about what it is about my life that I think makes it so simple. There may be some who think you must do x,y,z to be “simple”. Or those that think that there is no way to actually live simply in this day. I have said before what simplicity is to me. For me, the most important thing has been setting priorities and living my life accordingly. I have 2 dogs, 2 kids, and a fixer upper which should be considered a third child for the time and money it takes up. But this life works for us, and although there are complex aspects to it, the choices we make have allowed for simplicity in other areas.
It isn’t deprivation
Simplicity doesn’t have to mean ridding yourself of every possession except the shirt on your back. It doesn’t mean never stepping foot in a store again. It means assigning purpose to your possessions, dollars, and time. I love lattes and designer jeans. I even like big black sunglasses. I make choices in all areas of my life that make it possible to keep true to myself and do the things that I enjoy. My life is not deprived of anything that I desire. My desires have changed. My priorities have shifted. My tastes have changed. Living a life that is authentic will never be deprived because it will always be full of what you are.
These are just a few of the things that I have learned over the past couple of years of shifting to a simpler life. I would love to hear input from you about what simple living means to you. If someone asked you for advice about simplifying what are some of the key things you would add?