Living Simply

Living Simply – decluttering your life.

 What does “Living simply mean”?

 When I say the words - living simply - what are the images that pop up in your head? What does living simply look like to you? 

 Ask yourself what top three things are essential to you living joyfully?  What are the major elements (people, behaviors, materials, needs, etc.) that come up for you when you dissect the question?  

Living simply is a freer feeling that is different for everyone.

For me, living simply merely means engaging in life without any unnecessary and controllable drama, and having tremendous peace, faith, joy and love in my life. I imagine living simply as upholding an invincible mindset and not allowing anyone or anything to steal or affect my spirit. 

Quick question - How much-added drama do you involuntarily or voluntarily bring in to your life?

 In the years I have studied human behavior, it’s my opinion, most people allow or tolerate more unnecessary matters (drama) than is necessary or healthy.

Now, as for the image that pops up in my head when I think of living simply, my imagination takes me to my dream home in a quiet, secluded country, overlooking rolling hills and a pond, alongside my four vital necessities (in no particular order); my Bible, dogs, my computer/iPad and my workout clothes. While yes, there are a lot more things I require and wish to have, those four things sum of the majority of what I need or desire in life.

Freedom, quietness, nature, and education. 

While living in South Africa for a short period, I learned most of what we have in life, especially the material items, we do not need. Usually, the things we at one point claim, “I must have this,” all while thinking, “I can’t live without it” – are items that take up space. If you are like most of the world, you are infatuated with the new item from anywhere to a few seconds to a few weeks, and then it moves into an area where it becomes the breeding ground for dust bunnies.

Once arriving back to America, I decided to declutter my life and let me tell you I never felt freer! In fact, I lived quite minimalistic until I fell in love with the idea of having a library. I realized living in a third world country I don’t require many things. I am in fact a creature of habit.

 Today I only buy what I need nothing more. Yes, I have gotten quite disciplined about not buying books for the sake of improving my library. You see we as humans don’t need much; however, advertisement and companies would greatly disagree.

 Here is the reality; the company does not care what you do with the item once you buy it. If you lose the thing most likely, you will rebuy it, and if you don’t like the piece usually they don’t care because the company already got what they were after – money!  Please don’t get wrong some companies are not like this at all, but most have a date of when returns are acceptable. Some companies want repeat service, while others do not.

 Many of the times we fool ourselves into believing we need material items, relationships, or other potentially unnecessary things to make us happy.  I cannot stress this enough – everlasting joy comes from the inside out. Changing your external world by adding stuff will only provide a fleeting sensation of happiness, not the satisfying joy you’re most likely craving.

 It appears to me that most of the time we overcomplicate life, even down to the necessities of life by wasting not only our money but also our time. We can always make more money, but not more time – especially Newton time.

 How many times have you stayed in a relationship because you didn’t want to be alone or because you were comfortable in the relationship?

How many times have you purchased something hoping it would bring a lasting feeling of happiness or at least a feeling longer than the immediate purchase or thrill of the buy?  How many times have you participated in an activity only to make yourself look and feel busy? 

 Many people in today’s fast-paced world struggle to find rest, relaxation, peace, and solitude.  And why shouldn’t they? We consistently are fed the idea that having nothing to do, having no drama, not working, or simply enjoying rest is not okay, which must mean there’s something wrong with you!  When in fact, it is most likely, exactly what you need. Real, uninterrupted and committed relaxation time!  Or maybe it’s productive time. The average individual only has three hours of productive work in a day.

 We live in a fast-paced world! Everything from what is shown on the television, to music, to the way we are suggested to live our lives screams drama, fast pace, a go-go persona, or “you aren’t doing enough.” 

 Let me be the first to tell you when you can tune out the world around you - when you can declutter every avenue of your life -  a sense of peace will overcome you.  Start simple and build up.

 Now, you may lose friends but let me ask you this were they ever your friends in the first place?  When you start to remove the junk from your house, you will feel free! And when you stop buying things for the sake of buying you will notice your bank account will increase.

 Only YOU and God  (whoever your god is) can make you happy. It is no one's responsibility to make you feel joyful, but you!  Do not place your happiness in things or people because both will always fail and hurt you! 

Start finding what makes you happy and declutter your life by choosing to live simply!

-Elizabeth

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