Why Simple Living Isn't So Simple

>> Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Every year I seem to cycle between different feelings and goals around the same time according to the seasons. My "new year" isn't a true reset until the summer, usually after we go away on vacation. I have figured that it's likely because we pack only a small portion of our belongings and live with less for between a week to two weeks. I love the simplicity of such limited wardrobes and pared down toys. I eventually get tired of going out to eat and start dreaming of cooking everything from scratch. And then I put on my pioneer mama hat and start dreaming about living in the country.

Of living the simple life.

Pies resting on windowsills 
Children playing quietly with all wooden toys
Happily sweeping crumbs from corners
Wiping down floorboards with vinegar cleaner
Calling dinner "supper" all of a sudden

If you've followed me long enough, I'm sure you've experienced this transformation of mine first-hand. The problem has always been that it doesn't stick. I get caught up in the ideal of doing everything the "simple" way, and it becomes overwhelming. Because -- let's be honest -- milling your own grain and making all your own cleaning supplies isn't always the most convenient or easy task. Sure, you can get used to it and get into a good routine. But then life gets in the way.

There are some people who make all this stuff look so easy-breezy. You know the types. Their blogs and feeds are full of expertly color-coordinated photos of country scenes or everything in unbleached cotton. They seem like they're living in another time entirely. We can dream we live in that time, too. I mean, what's not to love? Not only are they successful in leaning out the non-essentials -- they make it look absolutely beautiful. Because if we're talking about simple living, we also have to recognize that there's a certain brand and aesthetic attached to it all. And that "look" makes it even more appealing . . . aspirational.

Life can be so uncomplicated!
So calm!

Or . . . can it, really?

Yes and no. I understand and appreciate the desire to live simply. We live in hectic, stressful times. We have too much literal and figurative noise in our lives. Many of us want to opt out. To escape. I recognize in myself that there are pure intentions I have with wanting to get back to the basics each year. But I also fully recognize that my efforts don't seem to fully stick in all areas of my life all year round. For example, I make big batches of homemade laundry detergent this time of year only to reach for my old stand-by when time gets away from me, never to return until the next refresh cycle.

Is it hard to make detergent? No.

But, again, simple living isn't always so simple to uphold, especially when life gets busy.

And, boy, can it get busy.

I have no wisdom or quick fix I'm ready to share today. I'm hoping in my microblogging over the next however long to explore some tactics for keeping up my personal goals in this area. But I also want to focus on when giving myself grace is totally OK. Well, it's always good to give yourself grace. We all know that, but the guilt creeps in.

In my next post, I'll share some of my personal goals and how I'm hoping to not only achieve them . . . but also to have them stick. This may mean not having the picture perfect simple life, but -- instead -- striving to find a happy medium where I'm making things work for my family in the long-term. If you feel passionate about this area, I'd love to hear your thoughts and things that have worked for you!

More soon, friends.

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