We have had some absolutely fantastic weather here on the Oregon Coast and it has been hard to stay at my desk. On this kind of day, I would much rather go for a hike or even just sit outside to read, write, and get me some good ole’ Vitamin D.
As I write this, I am sitting at the kitchen table, it’s quiet, the dogs are sleeping on the floor around me, the back patio door is open, and there is a soft breeze drifting through. It is one of the rare times I just want to sit without background music playing. The only sounds I am hearing right now are, the clock ticking on the wall, the birds chirping outside and the occasional car driving by on the road down in the valley below.
I have a couple of appointments today but other than that, today is for writing and business development. It’s a day made for creating.
Days like this feel like Simple Living to me.
What Does Simple Living Mean to You?
Recently this question was asked and I had to sit with it for awhile and then write out my thoughts and ideas. Writing is one of the main ways I process and plan.
One thing I do know is that each one of us is going to have our own unique idea of what simple living is and how it looks in our lives. I’ve also found that it is extremely easy to get caught up in someone else’s expectations of what simple living means to them, and speaking from experience, it doesn’t work!
It is good to understand that what simple living means to me, single, with a fur-baby, and 17 nieces and nephews, looks different for my sister who is the mother of 8, still homeschools 5 of them and is now an incredibly proud grandmother :).
It is important that we learn to define, and stand up for, our own definition of simple living.
Here is a short list I came up with in my journaling time of what it means to me:
- Being purposeful
- Slowing down
- Dedicated quiet time and thinking time
- Dedicated creative time
- Spending time with family and friends
- Flexibility in my calendar
- Margin in my time and activities
- Being in nature by spending time outdoors
Am I good at most or even any of these? Not really. It is something I continue to struggle with. I am a workaholic and this year I have some big goals that all too quickly eat up my time and attention.
What Does It Take To Live A Simple Life
Tsh Oxenrider of the Art of Simple, calls Simple Living, paddling upstream. I think that is a great description because Simple Living takes:
…intentional, purposeful decisions, and habits. It takes being willing to think outside the box and the willingness to be different than those around you.
…knowing yourself and getting a firm grasp on your values and priorities are.
…planning and forethought so you are not living reactionary so that you are only saying yes to the essential and the necessary.
…self-discipline to regularly review your goals, values, and priorities and keep them in mind as you live life and make decisions about what to say yes and no to day-in and day-out.
…being willing to be uncomfortable at times as you start to live differently than some (or all) of your friends and family.
The Reality of Living A Simple Life
There is a reality we all have to face, however. And this for me is where flexibility in my schedule is so important.
Life happens. Family members get sick, we get sick, client websites go down (yep , that is how I spent my Saturday night this past weekend!), we need to work overtime and more.
There are times when life just gets busy, too busy, and there is now way around it. There are times that in spite of our best efforts and intentions, our definition of simple living goes out the window for a season.
That doesn’t mean we stop trying and stop working towards this goal.
How to Start Living A Simple Life
I wish I had a magic bullet answer for you on this one. I wish I had one for me! There is no perfect solution, and to be honest, simple does not mean easy. In fact, I think it’s hard.
We start living a simpler life by being more intentional, thoughtful, and purposeful in life. And we can only do it one step at a time.
It is also best to start with one area in your life that you would like to simplify. If you try to tackle all areas of your life at once, it won’t work. You’ll get discouraged and stop because it will be too hard and overwhelming.
Simple Living Resources
If this is an idea that captures your attention and is something you think you would like to explore further, here are a few resources for you.
- What I’m Learning About Balance and the Simple Life
- Essentialism by Greg McKeown
- Upstream course by Tsh Oxenrider
Is there one area of your life you would like to simplify?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.