Creating a Relatively Simply Life

Relative simplicity is dictated and defined to a great extent by personality and temperament. Introverts tend to need simpler (slower-paced) lives than do extroverts. Neither is good or bad as long as life is lived in the gifts and passions possessed rather than having life simply happen to or around you. Realize too that just because someone else finds an activity relaxing, others may not find it to be so and may even discover that it adds a level of complexity that works to undermine our ability to Pursue Simplicity.

For example, I tried scrapbooking once but found the process too complicated with too many decisions to make and supplies to buy. My mind feels much more content with a simple photo album with dates of events written in the margin. For me, scrapbooking made life more complicated. For others, it’s a relaxing pastime.

Clothing is another example. I found myself constantly frustrated with trying to decide what to wear each day, and then I noticed I only wore about 20% of the clothing that I owned anyway. So, I systematically whittled my wardrobe down by over 40%. Yet I have friends who love to try new trends and constantly mix up their wardrobes. They like to express themselves through their clothing. I just like to be comfortable.

Simplifying my life in these ways has been very freeing for me.

Simplicity also pursues each individual in unique ways. For instance, add to my deliberate activities toward simplification the fact that recent foot (nerve entrapment) and back (slipped discs and spinal stenosis) problems along with Piriformis Syndrome have limited my shoe options to only a few pair for an indefinite time.

It’s not even that I’m just being obedient to the doctor and wearing only what he says I can; unfortunately, my severe foot and ankle pain give me the option of either wearing only those few pairs of shoes or not being able to walk. This is not a simplicity I had planned on or in any way pursued, but it definitely found me.

These examples may seem like small and perhaps even meaningless, but one principle of simplicity that seems inherently true is that small things done consistently over time add up to make a huge difference. In other words, simplicity has not come into my life through any one major event. Rather, there exist a multitude of small changes and adjustments that together make my life immensely simpler.

I also realize and acknowledge that the changes I made toward a simpler life seem meaningless to some and stupid to others. What I’ve chosen to do exists as essential to some people with many of the adjustments I’ve made seeming obvious and something I should have been doing all along. The combination of elements that create my simple life will look like no one else’s, yet the results are essentially the same… a relatively simple life.

DISCUSSION: How does your definition of simplicity differ from that of those closest to you? (Spouse, friends, kids, etc.)

10 thoughts on “Creating a Relatively Simply Life

  1. I pretty much try to stay simple except in a few areas where I indulge. I have a pretty simple wardrobe, pretty simple shoes (as a guy that's the norm, I guess), pretty simple car, pretty simple furniture, pretty simple just about everything. But I indulge on books – and as a geeky hobby, board games, haha.
    A strange area of simplicity for me is how I really don't pay attention to the news. I don't really keep up with sports or politics or anything like that. I used to, but it just lost my interest. I figured there were better uses of my time.

    • Funny, but you kind of sound like me, though I arrived at the simple wardrobe and shoes for different reasons. And, the indulging in books I totally get. That's definitely one of my indulgences. Board games are cool because they usually require interaction with others. I like that indulgence. And, believe it or not, I don't pay attention to the news either. It's just depressing and only going to get worse. I just like knowing God wins in the end. I'm good with that. Definitely better ways to spend your time than with the news. Simplicity is really just a way to focus on what truly matters.

  2. Great thoughts on keeping it simple. I choose not to do much decorating during the holidays. I just find it too difficult to ad into my already busy life. My sister-in-law decorates for every occasion and I love visiting her home, but it works for her. Being careful to follow God's lead in your own life, and accepting the grace needed to be true to who you are is the key for me.

    • I hadn't really even considered the holidays in this, and it is a really good example of people's differences. I wonder how many people decorate based on habit or obligation rather than on what fits their style and view of simplicity. Wonder how many people make it more complicated than they like.

  3. Simple is so much easier. I try really hard to make things as simple as possible. One thing that helps is a schedule. I find that keeping to a "same schedule" every day makes everything much simpler. Knowing what I am doing when helps to keep my life very uncomplicated – especially when it comes to the kids. They know when bath time and bed time happen. It is the same every day. It does not matter if it is a weekend or not. This helps to keep the girls on track and aids in limiting arguments, etc. Simplicity is what we should all be striving for – and for all – it is different.

    • You make a good point with keeping a schedule. Having one provides a much-needed stability. When life gets crazy, this stability helps keep it from getting overwhelming. As you know, flexibility is often necessary, but it's much easier when there's a stable base.

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  5. I love these posts on simplicity, Kari. I had to laugh when you talked about simplifying your wardrobe. I don't like decisions so often when I wake up, I see what I wore yesterday and I think, "Well, it worked yesterday, I might as well wear it today," and I put the same outfit on. I should really get rid of all those clothes in the closet I don't wear though. Also, I was very intrigued by Angie's idea of the same schedule every day. I'm not a scheduled person by nature but I'll have to give some thought to that.

    • I've been known to wear an outfit two days in a row two. Comfort just wins out. I think I'm just going to get multiples of what I love and go with that. I'll get different colors though, so it's less obvious.We kind of have a same schedule approach like Angie, and it works very well. We have to deviate from it sometimes, but having the framework really helps keep life simple for us. Giving away clothes was a lot of fun for me. I was able to bless some people who didn't have much, and I enjoyed that.

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