On Simplicity

May 18, 2008

Hey! I Moved!

Filed under: Blogging — Serendipity @ 9:36 pm

I’m packing my bags from the trial WordPress.com account and movin’ on up! I’m officially at OnSimplicity.net, so please change any bookmarks or feeds you may have saved. I’ve fallen in love with blogging and look forward to meeting even more great new people in the blogging world.

Thanks to everyone who’s stopped by or left a comment–you’ve been a huge part of my inspiration for writing!

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”….

May 4, 2008

Image and Affluenza

Filed under: Blogging,Simple Living — Serendipity @ 3:28 am

I just finished watching Affluenza (checked out from the local library, of course), the DVD battle cry of voluntary simplicity fans and anti-consumerists. It’s been lauded by many and it makes some fabulous points. However, I walked away with one giant criticism: virtually everyone shown living is simple life is, well… less than attractive. This film was first shown in 1997, so part of that lies in the fact that everything shown is dated by a decade. Still, the vast majority of those shown living a simple life looked like they were pulled out of 1982. So, this brings up a big question: does the simplicity movement need to market itself better?

My answer is a nearly unqualified “yes.” “Voluntary simplicity” and “hippie” are not synonyms, nor should they be. Yet in Affluenza, what group is highlighted? A group of “revolutionary” young people in, of course, Santa Cruz, California. They were tie-dye and not one has what could even remotely qualify as a hairstyle. Should these young people be our role models and spokespeople? If the “It sickens me” commentary of one youth is indicative of their regular attitude, then hopefully not.

Simplicity–for the majority, for the everyday, for the average–isn’t about anger with society, or rebelling against style, or even about not shopping. It’s about living with a bit less, not nothing. It’s about being yourself, not a mall clone, or a dated stereotype. So when the voluntary simplicity movement brands itself with people who seem to refuse makeup and dismiss personal style and pleasure as frivolity, then it’s no wonder that more people are far more interested in staying consumers.

April 23, 2008

The “On Simplicity” Pledge

Filed under: Blogging,Uncategorized — Serendipity @ 9:17 am

In the spirit of simplicity, I make the following pledge:

I will not post unless I have something of value to say. “Today I cut my toenails” is not valuable information for anyone, so I’ll refrain from updating just for the sake of updating.

I pledge that each post will be written with care, and not dashed off at the last minute just to have something for people to read.

Since the goal of many simplifiers is to take back their time, I pledge that I will not waste your time or energy with vacuous posts.

I pledge to not take this blog too seriously.  You will not find highfalutin’ posts, just friendly ideas and inspiration.

I pledge not to clutter up your RSS reader.  You’ll just have to find some other way to waste time at work.

Deal?

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