DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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2 January 2010

From the archives - Dive ( August 2008)



I wrote yesterday about my life and how I have changed. I want to take that a step further today and write about how you might simplify, if you haven't already done so. When I do something new that requires me to change my behaviour, I think about it for a while, work out the ins and outs of it, I might do some reading, think some more and then I dive in. Often the diving is the most difficult part of that process but when that first step is taken, it's usually easier than I imagined.

A change towards a simple life is similar. From the outside it looks difficult - you want the peace of mind it brings, you want to regain your independence and live well, you want to be environmentally sound, but it looks like hard work. Instead of holding yourself back, I encourage you to dive in. It's okay to be a bit scared of change, it's normal to be apprehensive, but don't let that stop you.

Dive.

Your first step might be to declutter one room. It might be to stop buying coffee on your way to work. You might start taking lunch to work. Maybe you'll start hand washing dishes, or hanging the laundry on the line to dry instead of machine drying. Or will you start stockpiling and cooking from scratch? Drawing up a budget would be a good first step. Or will you say "no" to that next invitation for lunch with the girls so you can save that money and spend some time relaxing at home. There is also mending, learning to knit, starting a vegetable garden, looking for an organic supplier of local vegetables, buying milk from a local dairy or bartering. There are so many first steps, I have to stop now or I'll be here all day. But the big question is, what will your first step be, or if you've made your first step, what will your next step be, or your next?

It really is as simple as making the decision to simplify and then doing those things you want to have as part of your life. Everyone will decide on different things, and you might want to do things I've not written about nor ever mentioned here. You don't have to tell your family or friends what you're doing, or you might have a family meeting to talk it over with them, the choice is yours. The important thing is to start.

You'll probably find, like I did, that once the move towards simplicity has started, a new thing can be added each day or week, and once you have that momentum happening, nothing will hold you back. In six months time you'll take stock and see just how far you've come.

I'm not going to lie and tell you that every single thing you do will be easy and will bring you joy. It won't, some things will be a struggle. I think you'll fnd that overcoming difficulties and persevering will bring you to a place where you'll feel you've done your best and you'll feel good about that. Look for joy in your everyday life and try to find happiness and contentment in your life. Celebrate your new skills; it's okay to feel good about what you're doing.

I hope that as you settle into your stride you'll start not only doing for yourself but also for others. Generosity and kindness are the icing on the cake for me and I hope you will get the same amount of pleasure and satisfaction from giving to others as I do. I'm not talking about grand gestures - there are none of those in a simple life - it's more about the tiny, and often silent, things, that with a small effort from yourself, will make a difference to someone else.

As you can see, there is no formula for simple living. It's diverse, there is no one size sits all. That's what makes it wonderful - when you think carefully about what you want in your life and then start doing those things, it feels right. Your version of simple living will be different to mine and everyone else's, even though we will have elements of it that are similar. But when you get it right, when you work on your own version of your life, and not that one designed for you by advertisers and marketers (or friends), when you set to and start doing for yourself, when you regain your independence and feel deep within that you're doing the right thing, then, my friends, you'll know you're on the right path and a team of wild horses won't pull you away from it.

I'd love to know what your first step will be, or was. :- )

12 comments:

  1. I am going to try my best to get things more organized around here. It looks fairly organized, but not if you look in the closets & such. I'm going to get started on it tomorrow. Thanks for being such a good inspiration to me.

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  2. Rhonda, I have been doing little things here and there for quite some time now, but I'm ready to take it to a deeper level. Last week I decided that I'm only going to go to town once a week, unless it's an emergency. Once a week I take my nephew to the Math tutor, so that will be the day I do errands and marketing. If there are any Dr. appointments to be made, I'll make them on Wed. I'm loving it. I'm home more, using less fuel, and getting so much done. I'd never realized how I ran about just because I didn't organize my time more wisely.

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  3. This is one of my favourite of your posts!
    There are a few things that we need to be prodded into doing, and this post has inspired me. I need to cancel our TV service, as well as the huge light that hydro company put in our back yard. Those two changes will save us $100.00 a month! And just today, I finally unplugged the microwave, and took it into the basement; and that's something I've wanted to do for well over a year!

    Happy New Year!

    Melanie in Canada

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  4. Vickie, Jayme and Melanie, you're all working towards a much better life for yourself and your family and I applaud you for your efforts. Happy New Year!

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  5. Dear Rhonda,
    You have inspired me to make changes over the past 6mths. I now meal plan for the week, shop and take my money out only once a week. This alone has saved me so much grocery money. I grow a few things in the back yard. You inspired me to have a regular bake day. I now bnake twice a week for the kids. All small things but they have made such a difference to our life. I also read your blog daily and it keeps me motivated and inspired so thank you Rhonda.
    Lors

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  6. I've been reading your blog now for a little while and find your words inspiring. I've been working towards a simpler life for a while, without really knowing it. I cook from scratch, I stockpile, I'm trying to make it one day to do all my errands (not always successful on that one!) and this year I want to slow down. Stay at home more and be more content at home.

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  7. What an inpsiring and meaningful post for this time of year, and just what I needed. Thank you.

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  8. I truly enjoy your blog. In the past year I have been learning to knit and have stopped using my dishwasher so I can use my hand knitted dishcloths! Washing dishes by hand is very satisfying and relaxing, I can enjoy looking out the window, seeing the bamboo dance in the wind and my dishes are washed,and put away more quickly. Now...to declutter one room at a time sounds like the right idea for my next step.

    Diane in Alabama

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  9. Organisation is the key word for me for 2010!!!! Just found your blog & I love it!!!!

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  10. These are encouraging words.. I find in ways I have stopped 'diving' into next steps.. I've taken some steps which have become part of my life, but this is a gentle reminder that I can continue to dive into new efforts.
    Thank you.

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  11. Vickie just put me on to your blog..just the reading I'm looking for.

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  12. I have been reading bits and pieces of you blogs ever since I found out about blogging from my sister,Vicki. I already do a lot of what you are now doing. That's just the way I grew up and have not ventured far from that life over the past 40+ years. I have worked most of my grown up life, but now that I am retired, I do seem to find pleasure in the simpler things. I crochet a lot of dish cloths, and agree with many of you. It gives you a sense of pride to hand wash the dishes with my little cloths, and knowing,too, that my electric bill will be much lower next time. I take pride in keeping that down, also.I find peace in so many things I do now, where I use to consider it work. I agree, that you give us all a lot of inspiration to try harder to live a simpler and more content and gratifying life. Thanks.

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