In today’s Simple Living Explained, I will be discussing exactly what simple living is, along with what it is not, and some ways you can begin to embrace this meaningful lifestyle.
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It occurred to me fairly recently that the concept of simple living is confusing for a lot of people. Recently, I attended a dinner and sat across from a lady who began explaining that she had been a long-time reader of my blog. To my surprise, the conversation began with lots of questions about my lifestyle. She mentioned simple living throughout the evening and was curious about it.
I realized midway through that conversation that what she thought was simple living was in fact, more on the side of homesteading. The evening left me thinking, what sort of simple living content do I enjoy?
Well, surely lots of it is found on YouTube where many creators like myself, share their gardens, homesteads, and even farms. Sharing in the joys of these sorts of lifestyles that, yes, are simpler in their own sense.
However, it might surprise you to know that the concept of simple living has nothing to do with having gardens, or a homestead. In fact, simple living can be enjoyed in a small one-bedroom apartment in the middle of a city. Which should tell you that it is more of a practice rather than having any sort of farmy cozy aesthetic.
But before I dive too deeply into this, I want to talk about what simple living is not. I think many have a few incorrect ideas when they hear the term.
Simple living is not…
- frugal living to save money
- old fashioned living
- a rejection of modern life
- self-sufficiency, the desire to live off the land or produce their own goods or food
Now that I have gotten that out of the way. Let’s talk about what simple living actually is.
Simple living is….
- focusing on relationships and people in our lives over things
- being content with what we have
- focusing away from the bigger, busier, and more mindset
- enjoying simple pleasures that life has to offer
- becoming more present in these everyday moments
These are the main aspects of living a simple life. Which you can see have nothing to do with living on a homestead. Though I will say the reason that so many creators including myself have shown this sort of lifestyle is likely that they go so well with one another.
When you begin practicing being present in life and no longer succumb to the consumption mentality. You begin craving deeper more meaningful experiences. You may start to look back to simpler times when being content was a common state of mind. Through this practice, you might begin to slow down and enjoy things like nature or desire to live a more natural lifestyle.
As human beings what is more natural than growing a garden, cooking food you’ve grown, or being in touch with the land you live on? Not much. I think this is why so many of us have found a profound beauty in this sort of lifestyle which is so complementary to simple living.
But if you do not have access to or a desire for these things, that is completely ok. You can simplify your life and enjoy the benefits of doing so right where you are at.
Going a Step Further into Simple Living
If we go a little further, we could say that simple living is un-complicating in our lives. That is not to say that we want to make our lives easier but rather less complicated.
What are some ways we complicate our lives?
- working a stressful job
- having a long commute we hate
- being in debt
- having a keeping up with the Jones mentality
- having our kids in unnecessary activities
- unnecessary home renovations
- constantly upgrading possessions
- having an expensive wardrobe that is dry clean only
When we look at this list, they are things that are done for appearance. To either impress or please others or because we fall into a sort of adult peer pressure that comes with worrying about what others think of us.
But if we can step away from this, we can start to see that we are in much more control over our lives than it might feel. Beginning to say no to these things is the first step towards living a more simple lifestyle.
The second is to come to the decision that you will be more content with what you have. Begin asking yourself when making a purchase, is this a want or a need?
If it is a want, dig deeper. As you, why do you want this new item? Will it improve your life? Or is it possible that you are just chasing the short-lived happiness that comes with consuming? Assessing our purchases then allows us more room in our budgets.
We can start looking at bigger things, like our employment. Are we happy with our jobs? Or is it just about the money? When living a simple lifestyle, we are after substance. So if every day we work a job that we don’t like, we know that this can weigh heavily on our day-to-day mindset.
Creating a budget can allow us to live on less and seek out more fulfilling employment. It is almost a trickling effect. Once you begin removing the complexities of life in one area you will quickly find it impacts them all. If you want to learn more about how to do this check out budgeting for a simple life. Where I share my journey towards simple living along with my best budgeting advice and steps I took towards living more simply.
As you venture into this lifestyle, try to remember the key pieces we have discussed:
- Becoming content with what you have
- Value your time with people in your life over things
- Begin to seek out simple pleasures and enjoy them
- Become more present in everyday moments
- Stray away from decisions that complicate your life
When you begin focusing on these things, you will begin to lead a simple life. In return, you will likely find more meaningful moments, less stress, and the ability to live life on your terms.
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