Thoughts on Simplicity

‘The Simple Life’ has undergone a few overhauls over the years.  These days minimalism and ultra simplicity seem to be all the rage.  Back in the day ‘the simple life’ or ‘the good life’ equated to some kind of wholesome, outdoor-living, preserve-making, family-friendly, pig-raising escapade.

Things change and I guess that’s life.

The thing is, ‘the simple life’ never seems to lose it’s charm, whatever the definition. We seem to be ever searching for ‘a better life’.

I have been reading a bit and thinking a bit on this new reincarnation of simple living and the thing is: I hope it’s not a fad. But. It will be a fad if the lifestyle is not whole-of-life and sustainable.

Firstly, I guess the basic premise behind Simple Living is to consume less, take away the unnecessary and only do what’s left or, equally, what you are passionate about. I guess the idea is that you get rid of the things, the tasks, the busyness in order to focus on the relationships with family, friends, society, nature, the world.

It’s alluring.  I really like this ideal.

But I’ve noticed a few things. Sometimes when simplifying we can simplify our own lives whilst making other lives more complicated and, inconsiderately, putting undue expectations on others.

For example:

Paring back on your own grocery items, cooking basic, bland food, but then relying on other people to feed you your essential vitamins and minerals and your meat (if so inclined).

Getting rid of your car to either a) take public transport (relies on a reliable and sustainable transport system) or b) rely on other people for lifts (relies on them having a car & money for the petrol) which can put pressure on your community to provide for you, when you are in fact well able to provide for yourself.

Perhaps choosing not to go outside of your area while expecting other people to come to you.

Or taking away the television only to expect to visit other people’s places to view the box.

I guess all these thoughts point to a central idea: In simplifying we must think outside of our own little box/apartment/house/self/family. If simplicity is to last it must be undertaken with the wider community in mind. Consideration of those around you must be your issue.  Expecting other people to provide for your needs (or as one blogger put it: stealing from plates on the dinner table.) builds resentment in the long run and can not lead to a long-term sustainable lifestyle of simplicity as in order for any lifestyle to succeed it must be supported by the community around it.

It is in the simplicity spruikers interest to encourage, even assist others to pursue simplicity, not simply to use others to maintain ones own lifestyle or budget.

As my friend says, it’s best to live simply and generously. Simplicity should not stop us from being generous to those around us. And simplifying should not in turn rely on the unending generosity of others, especially when we are well able to provide for ourselves and just choose not to, for whatever reason.

P.S. Pics and adventure updates to come soon. We’ve been living on low internet for a couple of weeks while away from where home is currently. We are back to high-tech living soon!


2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Simplicity

  1. Great thoughts, I’m finding it’s a constant thing to find a balance between many things when it comes to simple living. But yes, consideration of others around us is very important.

  2. Thanks JD. Your blog is super. I’m looking forward to reading more of your journey down a similar path. It is a broad issue and I think it’s very much a case of ‘we’re all in this together’ so we have to help each other along.

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