The Value In A Simple Life

Simple Living

The Value In A Simple Life

Have you ever thought that maybe your lifestyle was a bit much? That you were working far too much and not having enough time to sit back, relax, and enjoy a simple life? You get up in the morning, get ready for work, head off to work, come back home to cook dinner, veg out on the couch for the rest of the night, and then get up the next morning to do it all over again? Do you ever ask yourself: why? Why am I doing this? For what purpose?

For the last two years or so, my goal has been to reduce the stress in my life. Sometimes stress comes from disorganization, sometimes it comes from having too many obligations or feeling like you never have time for the things you really enjoy. It can be very frustrating when you have your own goals, but you never seem to be able to accomplish them because every time you start, something pulls you away and distracts you. Sometimes stress comes from procrastination. Who isn't a procrastinator? And sometimes stress comes from trying to control situations we have no control over.

Reducing my stress meant simplifying my life. What things could I do to simplify my life?

Simple doesn't mean mediocre. But it could mean selling all of your belongings and living out of an RV. Or moving to a state with lower home prices. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to stop eating out all the time. For you, it could mean eating out every night so you don't have to cook.

Simple also doesn't necessarily mean cutting out all of your fun activities. Actually, that's what simple is all about. How can you simplify your life in a way that allows you to enjoy life? What activities do you love that you haven't been able to do in a long time or as often as you'd like?

Simple is also about considering what things you really need. Do you really need the living space or could you manage with a little less? Do you really need the car payment when a cheaper one is possible? What about all of the stuff you have in storage? Do you foresee yourself using any of it in the next year? Purging the stuff you don't need is a great stress reliever. You don't have the burden of it taking up space and never getting used. You can send it on its merry way to take up space in someone else's storage closet!

Simple can also mean freeing up your time so you can take advantage of last-minute activities. What if a friend calls up to see if you're free for dinner tomorrow night? Or a great opportunity comes up and you can actually go because your schedule isn't booked solid?

To me, simple means less stress. Less headache. Less chaos. It means being able to say yes to the things that are important to me and no to the things that aren't. It doesn't always work out that way, but that's the goal.

Simple also means not making excuses like "it's too dark or too cold to drive into town for that event". Living in Alaska is teaching me to not let weather or road conditions dictate what I do with my day. When it snows or rains in freezing temperatures, the roads may be slick for days or even weeks at a time. There may be moose or caribou on the side of the road or ON the road. It might be cold and cloudy for an indefinite length of time. I can't let those things control what I do with my life. It's not like Colorado where it snows and then the sun comes out in the afternoon or the next day to dry off the roads. I can't wait two days for the temperatures to get back into the 40s and 50s before I get out of the house. I just have to get out there and get on with my day.

What does "simple life" mean to you? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Jody Calkins
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