DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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4 June 2010

Work is directly related to what we need

Living this simple life is quite different to how I imagined it would be.  When we first changed our spending habits, stopped buying stuff and began to conserve rather than consume, I believed we would live a quiet and thrifty life punctuated by the sound of us saying no to whatever cropped up.  Surpise! That hasn't happened.  What has happened is that we have more friends now than we have ever had, we do more, are more involved with our community and our lives have opened up and blossomed.  We smile a lot more.  We are happy.  I think that happiness comes from letting go of expectations of what we might possess and being open instead to what we can give.  


On a day to day basis, we are working more now than we ever have, but the work is satisfying and enriching.  Our daily work is directly related to what we need rather than what we want.  When I worked for money I had to deal with people I'd rather not talk to, I had to work according to the clock and someone else's idea of a fair day's work, and the work was irrelevant to me, apart from helping me earn a living.  We are working for our lives now rather than working for a living. What we do now consumes about the same amount of time, but we never have to put up with people we dislike, we have frequent breaks and complete days off when we want them.  We reap a full measure from what we put into our days.


I was wrong to believe that voluntarily living on less money might result in a miserable or quiet or meagre life.  Not buying books and magazine has lead me to our local library - a definite bonus resulting in more books, magazines and DVDs than I could ever go through.  Doing voluntary work has fed my soul and led me to a fine group of like minded people with whom I now share my life. Giving up recreational shopping has not only given me more time, it has given me my life back; a life that I have fashioned to suit myself rather than the advertising industry and merchandise.  Instead of dreading going to work, we cultivate soil, clean floors, built fences, cook, bake and sew, and feel thankful for the opportunity to do it..  This feels right.


You have to have the right mindset to live as we do but getting into it was really easy for me. I think I was ready for it, or overdue.  One week I was out spending and feeling miserable, the following week I was working on building a life that didn't include shopping at all but gave me the freedom to pick the elements that would work for us, and leave the rest.  I felt like I'd discovered the key to a new and wonderful world. And I had.   There are many things that have changed as we've moved through the years of simple living but one thing I still feel is that feeling of control of my own life and a crazy exhilaration knowing that the world is mine.

31 comments:

  1. Way to go, girl! My thoughts entirely :-)

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  2. lovely post, thanks for that xxx I'm yet to connect with my community but I will soon.

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  3. I hear what you are saying, but I love my job (teaching literacy to detainees)and actually the money I earn is secondary to the satisfaction I get from work. Work can have rewards that are not necessarily monetary, if you are lucky enough to have that sort of job.

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  4. Amen! I couldn't agree more! Our life has improved since we moved to the country and quit chasing society's dream! We are happier, content with what we have or can make/grow/scrounge. It is so liberating to let go of material posessions and just live your own life!

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  5. I have read your comments with interest as I am seriously considering when I can give up work and live my life how I want it. The mortgage on the house is our main stumbling block and I'm not in the position to be able to pay that off yet. So for the moment I can only dream and read your blog.....

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  6. I absolutely agree,I have to work still but as a mail contractor I am home by lunchtime 3 days a week and 2 days I am finished by 10. Tuesday is mine for our "cackle club"( our craft group) but every other day is community for me, it is in the life of our home and has been for many years.At 47(wish it had been earlier) I decided that I want to do something for someone every day left that I breathe and I have and it is amazing how light your heart is,some days it is just uplifting someones spirit other times like now it is bigger than Ben Hurr!( see my blog,I would love you to look at what our tiny community does).Thank you so much Rhonda I read your blog and go back to your old ones for more ideas how I can live more simply,and with the blessing of God that will be. Carole

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  7. I worked hard for years to pay off my mortgage and credit cards and put more than enough in savings for that rainy day. Then I remarried a wonderful man who still wants to live in the commercial world. He just can't get the "simple" part. He is happy for me to cook, clean, sew and economize, but he sees it as a way for us to have more money to SPEND. Very frustrating. I am still working on him.....

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  8. I fully agree with your post. Budget constraints have meant that we are not shoppers...which is really fine by me. I have to say the simplicity that it gives my life is amazing, and my girls are growing up feeling SO BLESSED with what we have. I never hear them complaining about what their friends have that they don't...they just know we are blessed to live off daddy's earnings & homeschooling all day with mom. It's a great life!! Nice to "meet" you!!

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  9. Beautifully stated!
    Tracy (Brisbane)

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  10. I imagine that was what life used to look like for lots of people, particularly in rural areas of Australia many years ago. Your jobs was life itself.

    I read somewhere the other day where an author said that the rise of feminism gave women the chance to go out and build a career which resulted in her then having to pay for everything that she used to do herself - with an empty net result. I thought that was an interesting view point because when we work for other people we then have to get extra people to sew our clothes, make our food, clean our houses and even mow our lawns.
    I love the idea of working at life itself!

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  11. One thing I was more than happy to give up, was shopping. I loathe it.

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  12. There is something to be said for getting up each day and owning it, instead of it owning you.

    Very nice post, thanks!

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  13. What a lovely positive post to start the day. I am making very small, simple changes to the way I live since I gave up work. My husband is still very much in the commercial world and I feel for him. I hope I can show him by example how much more pleasant and stress-free it is to let go of all the negative things you spoke of when working for someone else.

    Your post struck a real chord for me when you talk about doing things you don't want to do and seeing people you don't want to see etc. I look back on my career and I have to ask myself "what did you really get out of it?"

    I am off to do some knitting in the sun! Knitting is becoming my new-found passion!

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  14. I have an idea gestating somewhere that the solution to the dilemma of the "growth economy" lies in the stuff this post is about. I haven't got it nicely in words yet, but it's about the idea that a growth economy built on making and buying and selling "stuff" is fast destroying the world, and actually making us all poorer. But an economy built on making and trading creative and social goods can grow forever. I've been dirt poor in my life, and nearly self-sufficient, but it wasn't fun. Nowadays I don't aim for self-sufficient, but for living in a healthy, sane community and economy built on meeting real needs, and using the surplus for creativity.

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  15. Amen! I always appreciate your thought provoking thoughts and this post is truly what its all about. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Rhonda, I am just about to leave a life of 30 years in a big city (although we live on a small island 20 minutes away we commute in for work every day) to live in the countryside of my native country 6,000 miles away. It is a huge shift but reading your blog helps clarify why we are doing it and what we will reap from this big change.

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  17. I love how you have put that in writing. I am wanting to get to that stage of my life but am finding it difficult to make the first step. Fear I suppose of the unknown, but I know I am not really happy with the way my life is now. Hopefully very soon I will jump off this modern day treadmill and really start living. Thank you Rhonda.

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  18. Rhonda I am so in awe of your life. I said to my husband I wish we could move from the City to have a more simple life. He wisely said, we don't have to move, we just have to simplify what we already have! So now we have two gorgeous guinea pigs and I have finally started a vegetable garden to grow food for us ... but it actually turns out mostly for the guinea pigs because they eat so much :-)

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  19. Yes, Rhonda; so many people work to just keep body and soul together without having any joy in it. Unfortunately, it is the world that often dictates what we have to do to get by, unless we are lucky enough to know what it is we are meant to do and have the opportunity to do it. So glad you are in a place to be able to do what has meaning for you. I partially do too; although my work situation is not so nice because of unpleasant people. I love the work however; and am lucky to have it in my life.

    But California is an expensive place to live!

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  20. I really enjoyed this very much. I was layed off from my job in February..but even before that I was teaching myself to live on less. It basically comes down to not spending any money. It's not because I'm cheap. Oh no. I still like my craft books, fancy coffees and all of that. However, I really enjoy paying bills on time. I'm learning to make do with what I have. It's something that I'm looking to explore on my blog.

    I really think before I make a purchase and I always ask myself if this is a want or a need. "Wants" are okay too..but right now, I have to make the money last, so it's a very strict budget right now. I don't miss all thsoe extras anymore. I miss going clothes shopping, but that's about it.

    Oh, I also LOVED the photo of the sewing table with all the goodies strewn round about :) :) That's just beautiful :) :) All the crafty items...that's fun :) :)
    Have a beautiful weekend, Rhonda. Thanks for letting me post to your blog :) Greetings from Oregon,
    Heather :)

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  21. This is a post I really relate to.
    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.
    Best wishes, Bridget

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  22. Hi there,

    Once again a thought provocking and fantastic post Rhonda!

    I felt compelled to have a career, 'we have fought for your chance to work so get out there get a career and see the world'! Which I did,but in doing so I spent many years doing jobs that I didn't like, pleasing others ideals of what I should do and working for and with unpleaseant people, to keep up with the every growing consumerism and materialistic world that I somehow found myself living in. During this time I yearned for the earth,prayed to be grounded,and longed to find a place away from the madding crowds, and the pressure of todays society to be finacially successful.

    A year ago today I left that world..... and now there is peace and calm in this space,there is beauty, nature and bird song,sunshine,moonlight and shooting stars. Most of all, time to stop and smell the roses.

    Living simple is simply living.

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  23. Thank you for sharing your life with us and for your almost daily posts, I seldom comment but find reading about your posts a real inspiration.

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  24. I love reading your blog Rhonda, and I hope to move more towards the simple way of life that you describe. Right now, we are in our crazy busy 30's with both of us working and two beautiful kids. Life is hectic I think at this stage, but we try to remind ourselves daily of what is important and as you describe in one of your posts, we are working to get rid of all of our debt. Have a beautiful weekend!

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  25. That is very well for you to say but - you have a good INCOME! It isn't so easy for some of us to get off the treadmill when we have a family to support. We live extremely frugally on a limited income, you should think yourself so lucky that you can pick and choose what you feel like doing because you have got a good income.
    Not so lucky for some of us so this was a rather patronising post. Reading about keeping chooks and growing veg is fine but hearing about how you can afford not to work isn't.
    Pat.

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  26. I could not agree more, I now work my own hours and days, and even though I work hard, it is on my terms. I also thus, have more time to left to do the community things, and get to know my pupils as friends and people, not as a slot in an otherwise frantic timetable. Life is just too short to live the heart attack city speed - I tell my daughter not to leave it as long as I did to realise that fact.

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  27. Ah, you love the Reeves Down Under too. I love those people: consider them my friends and future in-laws for Mimi. lol.

    I love your posts. They keep me inspired to do what I am doing with our home and land. Keep them coming.

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  28. Oh, and I just wanted to share this with someone I know will appreciate it.... Next week, we will be officially debt-free. This doesn't include our mortgage, but we will own all of our cars, trucks and owe no credit cards anymore. Such an important step to being sustainable and self-sufficient.

    Blogs like yours keep me inspired and moving forward. Thank you so much.

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  29. This post could be on the flyleaf of your book when it is published...I sure would want to buy a book that talked of such!! :) I agree 100% and have found this all to be sooo true!! Once you have lived "the good life" you never want to go back to the life you came from! Sarah

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  30. Pat, who said my income is "good"? Only you. Hanno and I live on $20,000 a year and do so happily.

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  31. What a great article! I just found your blog. This is great! Keep up the good work!

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