Most of us yearn for a life that is less hectic than the one we currently live. A simple life. But what does a simple life look like?
Each of us will have a different answer. Because we are in different stages of life. Because we have different priorities. Because different kinds of things bring us joy or stress us out.
All of which means any blog post, device, or strategy that claims it will help you simplify your life may—or may not—be of any use to you.
For some people, simplicity is about getting back to nature. They might be into organic gardening and homemade recipes for cleaning products. If that’s what allows them to lead a more satisfied existence, great! I am all for connecting with nature, but making homemade laundry soap is not something that would simplify my life.
So what does simple look like to you?
By ‘simple’ I mean what would enable you to live closer to your values, with fewer distractions and obligations that keep you from spending your time and energy on what matters to you.
Simple could mean:
- Getting rid of the excess stuff that clutters your house so you can find the stuff you actually use
- Downsizing your home to reduce time and money spent on maintenance, cleaning, and organizing
- Cutting back on activities, memberships, meetings, or expectations
- Spending less time on technology so there is more to spend on people
- Quitting a high-stress, high-salary job for a lower-paying one that allows time for family, friends, and ministries.
- Keeping the job you have while delegating troublesome chores to someone else (via housecleaners, lawn service, premade dinners, etc) so you have time for family, friends, and ministries.
- Adjusting expectations regarding housecleaning, gardening, hospitality, decorating, etc. to realistic and maintainable levels.
- Finding simpler alternatives for activities such as exercise. (Is it simpler to swing by the gym on the way home from work, or scrap the gym membership and walk around the neighborhood? Will investing in a treadmill simplify, or add guilt?)
Which of those suggestions resonated with you?
Getting closer to your ideal ‘simple’
If you haven’t spent much time considering what your ideal simpler life looks like, here are some useful questions:
- What are the things I wish I could spend more time doing?
- If I did have time for the things that matter most, what would that lifestyle look like? Can I imagine myself there?
- What activities or responsibilities are keeping me from reaching that ideal picture?
- What am I willing to let go of in order to get closer to that ideal picture?
If you do have a pretty good idea of what simple looks like to you, what steps can you take this week to get a little closer to your ideal?
No matter how we define it, a simpler life is worth striving for. Isn’t it?