“Stop trying to impress others with the things that you own. Begin inspiring them by the way that you live.”-Becoming Minimalist
What does the word simple mean to you?
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About a year ago, the idea of living a more simple life intrigued and fascinated me. What exactly this notion meant, I honestly didn’t know, but I began doing research and learning more about this way of life.
See, I was at a point in my life where I needed to make a change. Our life had become so hectic. We were busier than ever, our finances were getting away from us and we were generally unhappy.
Simplifying our life was something I so desperately wanted to do but I couldn’t figure out how to begin. I was under the impression that living a more simple life meant selling everything, never spending money, etc. (Boy, was I wrong!)
On this journey that I have been on to living a more simple life, I have learned so much about myself. I have been forced to look at the relationships in my life and the people I choose to surround myself with. I have learned to prioritize the things in my life that make me happy and mean the most to me.
This past year, I have changed. My life has changed. My little family has changed.
If I could sit across from you right now, in a little coffee shop, over a delicious cup of coffee and a chocolate chip muffin, I would tell you that I am happy. I am really happy. Happier than I have been in a long time.
So, what does it actually mean to live a simple life?
Living a simple life doesn’t mean you live a boring or empty life. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
Living simply is deciding to be more intentional with your time. It is getting back to basics in your life and decluttering your space. It is spending time in nature, with the electronics off, and spending some time to just be.
Here are six things we have done to adopt a more simple life.
1. Saying ‘no’ to too many obligations and ‘yes’ to more family time. Before, our calendar was filled to the brim with activities, obligations and plans. At the end of the day, we had been so busy running around that we hadn’t taken the time to sit down and even ask our daughter about her day at school. Today, we are very picky with what plans we make and spend more time at home with each other.
2. Taking walks in nature. Every chance we get, we go for a walk or stop by a lake to explore all the beautiful things that nature offers. Listening and taking in the sights and sounds around you when you are outdoors can be one of the most comforting and peaceful things to do. We put our cellphones and iPad away, except to maybe capture a picture or two, and disconnect for a little while. It restores the soul.
3. Turning off all electronics and diffusing essential oils an hour before bedtime. At 7:00 pm, the diffuser goes on and all electronics are turned off. This hour has quickly become my favorite part of the day and something I truly look forward to. We take out our books or coloring books, put our feet up, turn on relaxing music and wind down from the day. The peaceful and content feeling that comes with this time together is indescribable.
4. Decluttering and giving away what we don’t use. This has been huge for us. We have been going room by room and purging items that we haven’t used in months. I can sometimes be a pack rat, not wanting to get rid of things that someone got me two years ago because what if I need it one day. Since working to simplify my life, this is something I have let go of. If I haven’t worn it in a year? Donate it. If my little one hasn’t played with it since she was two, donate it. Having our space be less cluttered and more open has been really wonderful and has made me more intentional with “things.”
5. Cooking at home and eating at the table. We have made it a point to cook dinner every night and sit down at the table together for dinner. Not only are we not spending the amount of money we did when we ate out a lot, but we are getting more quiet time to sit and talk together. After a long day of work and school, it is so nice to put on some beautiful music and eat together.
6. Slowing down and enjoying even the most mundane tasks. Slow down and really enjoy your life. Sit outside, with nothing to do but sit, and feel the peace that comes over you. Lay in bed with your little ones for just 10 minutes in the morning, instead of rushing out of bed to get things done, and marvel in the feeling of just being with your kids. Some of my most cherished moments have been when we are taking it slow and really enjoying the moment, even if that is cleaning the bathroom.
Start today. Pick one thing you would like to change or simplify and do it. I promise you, a year from now, you will look back and see how much happier you are.
Wherever you are in your life, whatever you are doing, stop and take a moment to just be. That feeling, that feeling of being still, that is the feeling of living a more simple life.