Simplifying, what does that mean? A realtor told me many of her clients are simplifying, by buying smaller homes. They want less to deal with in terms of square footage, yard work, and upkeep costs. I get that. And I am thinking along those lines myself. It is funny how things, items, possessions can have energy, and walking into a full or cluttered room can be draining. And then to have ownership of all those things, often things that now years after buying them we don’t appreciate in the same way we did, nor use.
I guess in our twenties and thirties we were figuring out our tastes and preferences in terms of material possessions. What kind of furniture did we like and need? What kind of life did we want to live? What kind of purchases would support that life? Like a stainless steel BBQ, or a wall size television, or a yoga friendly room? Whether we purchased or were given possessions over the years, we may now have more than we need or use. How to simplify?
For years I have been aware of the things I own, that if I were to relocate I know the things I would not pay to move. That seemed telling. It seemed there are only about 4 pieces of furniture I care about. Yet while I’m in a house with extra space, there seems no impetus to get rid of those things I know I won’t keep. I think of natural disasters, like losing everything in a tsunami, and I know none of the stuff really matters and could be taken away in a heartbeat. Sometimes I hang onto things because I feel it matters to the person who gave it to me. Or it reminds me of how much I loved it when I bought it. Yet now, few things matter or affect me in that way. I guess it is the letting go of the meaning I attach to a material thing and feeling when is the appropriate time of use and value. Again if a tsunami struck, all of these decisions are out of my hands. Yet I feel closer to more of a real cleanse and simplifying of what I have around me. Clothes that are worn out or don’t feel right, or linens that are in good shape but I may be bored of them, silly things but it adds weight and could be simplified.
I hear often of how much lighter a person feels after simplifying her/his life, be it culling through household items, or altering ones schedule to make more time for simple pleasures like cooking, reading, walking, and spending quality time with loved ones. Simplifying would mean slowing down and choosing where best to spend one’s time, energy and resources. It would mean spending less time tied to one’s devices. That way the device is a tool to serve one’s life, not an addiction, pressure or distraction.
Simplifying is a choice. We each can do it. To say we are too busy and can’t, well that is a choice too. Maybe we like rushing from one thing to another, one meeting, event, or obligation, often running late, and not fully present to those people around us. That can create a sense of drama and intensity some seem to crave. We miss out on so much by not being present, and a part of that is our lives have become too complicated. In the western world, we have a lot of material possessions to keep track and in working order. In my mind, one approach to simplifying is looking at how we spend our time, energy and resources, and asking ourselves if that is a happy investment that is paying off for us.