What Kind of Mood Are You In Today?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thoughts on the Simple Life

Ah, the simple life.

I've been doing a lot of thinking over the last few days about the simple life.  What is it?  Is it desirable?  Is it attainable?

I posed the question here and on Facebook.  Some seem to think that it means having less.  Others, feeling more.  For some, it seems that living in moderation is the key to living the simple life.   Seems everyone has their own definition.  So, I had to ask myself, "Rachael, ,what do YOU define as the simple life?"

"Good question, " I said.

When I think of the simple life, I think of one with fewer bills, because there are fewer things that I "need."  I think of homemade rugs and jam for wedding gifts.  Not because one is poor, but because one knows her well enough to know that those items are her favorite and your heart takes joy in making her happy.

I think of driving slow because, a)  you left with plenty of time and b) there is no other way to go.  No such thing as the fast lane or drivers cutting you off because they're in so much of a hurry.

I think of a life where I can let my children roam the neighborhood without fear of the perverts that might be lurking.  I think of myself being able to walk down the street or through the woods or on the beach without fear of being prey to someone's violent impulses.

I think of a place where you know your neighbors and you share with your neighbors.  A place where "everybody knows your name".

I think of a life with far less stress and far less noise  I can be alone in my home and not hear the hum of the refrigerator, the buzz of the lights, or the quiet fan of the desktop computer.  The phone doesn't ring and there are no telemarketers, for crying out loud!

I think of the quiet hours spent making things for my home and "homely" is fashionable.  There's no expectation of having my home look like it came from the department store or like something out of a Bed Bath and Beyond mailer.

I don't want to feel guilty when I come home from work because the house is messy and doesn't have the homey touch of a mom who has been home all day.

At the end of the day, I can read a book or write or play music in the evenings.  I can relax without feeling guilty about it, which isn't very relaxing.

Relax.  Hmmm....

So, as I daydream about all the wonderful things the simple life has to offer, truth is, I will likely never be one who leaves in plenty of time to get somewhere because I will likely always want "just one more minute" of sleep.  I don't want to take up sewing or quilting.  Not right now, anyway.

While I enjoy my one day per week I have off when the kids are at school and can spend time feeling like the housewife I intended to be, if I'm honest with myself I know that I love being with people and if I did not have an outside job, I would find something else to do outside of the home.  I'd be volunteering at school, at church, you name it.

Truth be told, I don't want to give up my fridge, computer, or electricity for the sake of quiet.  I just want quiet.

So, do I want to live the simple life?  Yes.  Uhhh..no.  I mean yes.  But wait…

When it comes down to it,  I just want to relax.  But I don't want to work hard at it and that's exactly what simple living is about.  It's not a dream world where life falls into place the way you want it and it isn't a place where you control what other people do.  Simple living is about  making the tough decisions that require cutting back and doing less and working hard to uphold them and, at the end of the day, taking time to relax.

How do I fare?  I have to laugh at myself.


And then, there's Little League and piano lessons...

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Simple Life: Need Your Input, Please

My brother and sister-in-law came over for the weekend and brought their wonderfully sweet and adorable son.  My sister-in-law also brought over a box of books for my daughters that she had read as a girl and when I spied the last 3 books in the Anne of Green Gables series, I snatched them up immediately.  I read the first 3 books as a girl, but never read the last 3.

The next day we went to church and the pastor, who said he could't believe he was going to do this because he disliked it when other pastors did this, talked about the way things used to be.  Days when moms stayed home, families got together for Sunday Dinner, kids respected adults, children took care of their aging parents, and other things that some attribute to the "simple life".  Food for thought, if you care to keep an open mind.  (Open mind does not mean you agree nor does it always mean that what you are considering must be something new or anti-status quo, but that's another post.)

I came home and started reading Anne of Windy Poplars and I was whisked away to a land of a young lady who didn't know anything of Little League, American Idol, or working inside AND outside the home.  While I disagree with the notion that anything from the past must be better, I can't help but think, as I often do, about what the simple life is and if it's something I want to have.

This is where you come in.  What comes to your mind when you hear someone talk about simple living?  What images are flashing in your head?  Is it attainable?  Is it desirable?  Is it just a notion we find appealing, but is not in fact reality?  (Why is my mouse not working right now?)  (There!)

Your thoughts...