On Simplicity

May 15, 2008

Am I Just Faking It?

In reading other blogs, I come across quite a few items that make me question whether I’m truly a simplifier or not. After all, Xin Lu at Wise Bread, in a great post on living in small spaces, is willing to forgo a sectional for a beanbag. I, on the other hand, am not willing to ditch my sofa for a beanbag at this point. Am I just providing lip service to the idea of simplicity? After all, if you’ve read a few posts here, you know that I love clothing, I live in a big house, will probably never get rid of my television (dude, no MXC?), and so on… Does this mean I’m just faking it?

What Simplicity Means to Me

When it comes down to it, I don’t think I’m just faking it. This isn’t just a cosmetic choice for me. In my own life, simplicity isn’t a race to the bottom to see who can live with less. It’s about making conscious choices, being thoughtful in what I bring into my home and into the world, and focusing on relationships and experiences instead of stuff.

How do I accomplish this? What do I focus on? Here are my top priorities:

Not buying crap. I do a pretty damn good job of not buying things “just because.” Things I buy aren’t just bargains, they’re things that either promote health, bring me or someone else joy, or are really going to be useful.

Keeping media to a minimum. I don’t eschew television, but I also don’t watch that much of it. I stay away from sensationalistic news and gossip. For wimpy news, I stick to headlines instead of reading fluffy article after article after article.

Keeping my personal spaces clean and minimalist. I can breathe in a clean home. I can create. I can dream. I’d prefer an empty room in a beautiful color than a fully furnished room full of useless accessories. It still comes down to pure aesthetics, but it’s also about feeling like things have purpose.

Time commitments and lifestyle. I try to keep my time as my own to give myself freedom and peace of mind. With a job that’s essentially a community service, I can feel good keeping a good portion of my time off to myself to spend with family and friends.

Is Champagne Ever Simple?

I’ll agree–I’m not the traditional voluntary simplicist. While I do have a persistent and weird desire to be a survivalist, I always picture celebrating the first successful potato crop with a champagne toast. (I know.) However, simplicity isn’t just about cutting stuff out of your life. It’s about stripping life down to the bare essentials, throwing out all assumptions, and rebuilding the world around you to fit the dream you have, not the one you’re told to want or raised to believe in. After all, life should be rich. It just doesn’t have to be rich in money, or stuff, or accolades.

Big, Fat Faker

The verdict? I am a faker. A big one. Because in my eyes, simplicity is about having as much as possible. As much time as possible. As much love as possible. As much joy as possible. As much fun as possible. As much honesty as possible. As much thoughtfulness as possible. As much freedom as possible. I don’t want just a little, just enough to get by. No, I want a ton! Perhaps I should look into the availability of “onabundance”….



  1. Nope – not faking it.

    To me, living a bit more simply and walking a little lighter on the planet does not equal wearing a burlap feedsack while sitting in the lotus posistion humming inside my cave. One of the reasons I walked away from a lot of the “survival” boards and sites is a simple one. In the long wrong, no matter what happens… I don’t want to survive.

    I want to THRIVE. Hmmm. Perhaps we’re both fakers?

    Comment by Jenna — May 15, 2008 @ 5:18 am

  2. You are not faking it!! It’s all so much a matter of personal experience and perspective. It’s just like everybody’s frugal means something different. You are simplifying YOUR life. You don’t have to quit shaving and wear the same dress 365 days of the year and walk everywhere. A conscious effort to decrease your footprint on this planet is simplicity. The key is balancing simplicity with still enjoying life and the pleasures it has to offer. It’s all very personal. And once you’ve simplified the STUFF out of your life, that is when the abundance of love, joy, happiness, pleasure pile into your life because you’ve made room for them!

    Comment by Emily — May 15, 2008 @ 5:26 am

  3. Thanks Emily and Jenna! You’re both right–it’s about thriving and finding balance. It’s fantastic to know that I’m not the only one who equates simplifying with having more–making room for better, as Emily put it. Besides, I look terrible in burlap. 😉

    Comment by Serendipity — May 15, 2008 @ 8:50 am

  4. I agree that you’re not faking it Serenity. I see posts where people proudly show off their office which basically consists of bare walls, a table, a computer, and a chair. I find that depressing. In my effort to simplify I’ve certainly gotten rid of a lot of unnecessary things (and I don’t miss them one bit), but there are a lot of items in my home office which are very useful to me, some that just make my life more comfortable, and some that I simply enjoy looking at. Like you mention in your post, simplicity is adapting your environment to suit your authentic needs.

    Comment by Marelisa — May 15, 2008 @ 10:32 pm

  5. I love your definition of simplicity. The great thing is that since we are all different, different things call out to us as our loves and things that are important to us. And some feel joy in a austere existence, some of us don’t. Making conscious decisions about what you will and will not have in your life is the essence of creating a life you love. And judging other people’s lifestyles as “not simple enough” doesn’t have a place in that.

    Comment by Beth Dargis — May 16, 2008 @ 7:58 am

  6. […] I’d like to highlight a new blog I found this week On Simplicity. I love this blog. Please take the time to head on over there and check it out and here is one of my favorite articles from there this week Am I Just Faking It? […]

    Pingback by Sunday Roundup | Remodeling This Life — May 18, 2008 @ 4:09 am

  7. I love this! Found you from Remodeling This Life. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Comment by Simple Mom — May 18, 2008 @ 6:08 am

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