DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are about 7000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

1 June 2016

Thriving, with a sense of purpose

I received an email last week asking why I do the work I do. The person who sent it said I seem to be a bit obsessive and that at my stage of life, I should be doing less. She said I should sit back and enjoy life a bit more. I'm sure she meant well. It's an ongoing goal of mine to enjoy every day and I am conscious of that every waking hour, probably more than most people are. One of the many significant things I get from the work I do and living simply is a sense of purpose. That feeling is enough to get me out of bed in the morning, it fires me up to work in my home, grow food, cut back when others are buying more and every day I appreciate being able to do the work I need to do to give me the life I want.  I feel I'm contributing and that my life has meaning beyond being a commercial entity available for hire by anyone who would pay the price to use my brain and energy.  When I was working for a living, I knew my purpose - it was to earn money so I could buy everything I needed and wanted. I wish I'd thought deeper about my life back then because I think it is possible to live simply and work for a living, and many of you do that. Had I thought more about my own situation back then, I might have made different choices and perhaps travelled a different path.


What was missing then was the undeniable feeling that my life had meaning apart from being a paid worker. I wanted a sense of purpose that resulted in making life meaningful and I didn't find that until I'd given up on it all, walked away from my working life and started from scratch all over again. Getting back to bare basics opened up my horizons and gave me the opportunity to build a different life. If I had not been prepared for the work I do here at home, that opportunity might not have been there for me.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas Edison


Now I find purpose and meaning in being able to provide for my family, teach my grandchildren, share my knowledge through the forum, my books and this blog. Small, ordinary, practical tasks fill my days and make me feel satisfied when I go to bed at night. That is important to me and possibly to many of us. I feel useful when I knit for my grandkids instead of buying something off the shelf. I feel I'm doing the right thing when I serve up a meal that's been cooked from scratch and partly produced in my own back yard. Making soap and cleaners, gardening, preserving and baking help us live well. And when I look at the work I do I feel proud that I have the ability to do it and that I organise my days so that I work, as well as relax and enjoy life.


Life is tough for most of us. There's pressure to perform, we have to be good role models for our children and many people feel busy all the time. By taking a bit of time to think about what you want out to life and then organising yourself to either learn how to do what you need to do or just getting stuck in to it, does pay off.  I don't want to live a life in which I'm working and busy all the time and I don't want to just get by, I want to thrive. I want to enjoy my hours, expand my mind, I want to be a good wife, mother, grandmother and friend.  Life's too short for anything less than that. I wonder if you feel that too.

38 comments:

  1. Absolutely, Rhonda, your correspondent is missing out on life, I think. A minister friend said to us once that the word retirement does not appear in the Bible. I keep that in mind! If I just lived nearer to all my grandchildren life would be even better!

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  2. I love this type of post Rhonda - it speaks loudly of your core message and that message grabs me every single time. Thank you yet again.
    Also, I am inspired by your morning/afternoon tea on a tray outside - gonna start doing this. I think it might grow to be a nice habit.

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  3. This is so well written Rhonda. Yes, I can completely relate. I struggle as I come to work knowing I have onions to be dehydrated and weeds in the potato patch. I am paying for past decisions, but working hard to be able to follow you in leaving the corporate world behind. When I'm home, I'm grateful for every loving minute weather stacking firewood or digging in the garden which by the standards of many is far more laborious than my job. It might be a strange form of "relaxing" but if it's enjoyable it's for less of a strain than sitting at a desk.

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  4. Sit back and enjoy life more? I think that depends on what 'enjoying life' means for each individual. And yes, there is a time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of one's labour, or spend quiet time re-charging and sharing good times with friends and family. Rhonda, the vibe that comes through to me from your writings is contentment, competence, peace, and a sense of accomplishment. I see a lot of people who have sat back until they have come to stop, and then end up needing assistance to take care of life's fundamentals.

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  5. Well said! There is something so rewarding about getting back to basics, and living life as it was meant to be. Our ancestors had things right....it just took us a long time to circle back to the 'old' way of doing things.

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  6. I have found that to truly "care", takes a great deal of time. For example, if I really care about my dogs, then their water is changed everyday, their food bowls are washed everyday, they are brushed, or shaved regularly. They need my time. A truly "lived life" takes time, if we really care about things. It takes time to think things through about where we spend our time and our dollars. Being busy doesn't mean drudgery, it means we "care".

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  7. Yes, yes! And we do indeed all need a sense of purpose. Some people find this in their homes, as you do. Others through their work. Others through volunteering or through art. Sometimes it is a combination of things. It all depends on the individual. To just sit back and take it easy sounds like a very dull life ;)

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  8. Good morning Rhonda,
    This is how I feel too, living a purpose filled life while still working full time in an occupation that I get joy from. I have strived to live a simple, small life, living within our means, preferring to stay at home, when not at work, and really be in my home. Cooking from scratch, gardening, sewing and cleaning my home. I feel bone deep joy living this way and like you, feel utterly content when I fall to sleep at night. This way of living is not for whimps though, it is hard work, but the benefits out weigh it by a mile. Thanks for writing this blog, you are inspirational. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Fi

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  9. Beautifully put as always. You are such an inspiration to many, myself included. I'm sure the lady meant well but having watched my 84 year old grandpa have to give up his beloved hobby farm and his wool selling business only last year and now struggle to find purpose in his days I think it's so important to continue doing what you love for as long as it gives you joy and your body is able. I am convinced my grandpa wouldn't have lived as long as he has (my grandma has been gone 26 years) on his own without purpose in his days. He is not one to sit around watching TV or reading, he was always tinkering in the shed fixing something or growing veges. Keep on doing what you love!

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  10. Well said dear Rhonda ~ Once again you inspire me.

    Thank you ~ FlowerLady

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  11. Well said Rhonda. You are a inspiration to so many people on planet earth. After all we are actually one big family. Love your writings. Cheers Jilly

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  12. Well said Rhonda! It doesn't matter what age we are, we all want to feel useful and have a purpose to our lives. If we didn't have daily goals we wanted to achieve we would become lazy, unfit in both body and mind and probably spend our days loafing around in our pj's! That reminds me I'd better get dressed for the day..... Lol!
    Have a lovely and productive day.
    Mel:)

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  13. As the rest, I agree. We all find our purpose and that keeps us going, hopefully. Mister and I have been talking about this lately and how we hope to keep moving and doing until the end. However, the trick is to find the balance in what we do. For example, today I put up three more bags of broccoli to enjoy over the winter. On the bags, I write the day, the weather, and what we are doing so we can look back and say, "oh, yeah, remember...." I am making my graduating nephew a quilt rather than buying him something because I know he wore out the one I made him as a newborn and longs for another (smart kid!). These things free me to have time to sit and read all day when I want, sleep in, or just watch the birds because I am not trading my time for money for stuff. My favorite Thoreau quote is "What is worth your life?" Rhonda, you have answered that question quite well for yourself and inspire kindred souls. Thanks!

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  14. Good morning from a beautiful sunny day in Tasmania (with NO wind). What a powerful post Ronda.

    Like you, I wish I had thought more about the meaning of my life when I was working. It was only in the last couple of years of my working life that I realised that my work does not define me as a person.

    I also put my work before my son, something I very much regret. And you know what, at 40 years of age, my son still remembers how I was the only mother who did not "do tuckshop". I told him it was because I had to work and mothers that didn't have to work could do it. I didn't realise back then that he was proud of me and wanted to show his friends who his mother was. In fact, because of work I was not involved in his school life very much except for supervising his homework.

    I wonder how many children and in time, their mothers and fathers, will feel the same way as my son and I do because so many children go to day care form a very young age or after school care and they get their values and identity from the many different people to look after them rather than the constant influence of their parents and family. I am not being judgmental here. I don't walk I anyones shoes but my own and I am sure people work for many different reasons. My I my wish is that they stop and do a shelf check to validate what those reasons are.

    My life was driven by chasing the almighty dollar so I could buy what I wanted...consumerism well and truely ruled until I was about 55years old....and then when I was about 58 I found you Ronda and everything that I had started to think about finally made sense and I thank you for that. We changed our lives completely and now live the life I and DH want to live and we are happy beyond measure.

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  15. Thank-you so much Rhonda. Cheers Jo

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  16. Well from what I read on your blog I feel that you are "enjoying life". maybe the reader doesn't understand that you aren't doing stuff out of a feeling of obligation but that they are things that improve your standard of living and bring you joy. They are also keeping your brain active, your body healthy and gives a sense of connection with your family and friends. And as I know you like to spend some hours in the hours relaxing with your knitting that sounds like the perfect balance to me.

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  17. Nice post. Very well sad. Thanks for sharing this.

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  18. I know a few people who have retired (grandparents and friends grandparents) and they are busier than ever and wonder how on earth they had time for work. I think retirement means different things to different people just like hobbies are different for people...some people love fishing, some people love going to the gym everyday, some people love cooking....each person is doing "their thing" that they love as their hobby and passion. Simple living requires a lot of work but we all know something that takes longer to achieve/make is appreciated more. Some people retire and want to travel around Australia and that's retirement for them. Doing things that make you happy everyday like making bread, knitting, growing veggies is living a good life. You have time for your family and grandchildren and you have shared your knowledge and tips on how you have achieved more happiness than when you worked and bought everything you could. By the way I made the flatbreads out of your latest book and they are great. I wrote a post about them, so easy. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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  19. I just found your post and find your words very inspiring. Makes me think how much I have wasted my time since retiring. I will definitely re think my many choices from now on. Thank you Rhonda.

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  20. Absolutely ! .. I wish you lived next door to me ! : )

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  21. I think a lot of people would do well to sit down and think sereously about their choices and why they live the way they do. I had an awakening at one point and it forced me to stop and think hard. I'm so glad I did. Getting my priorities right and staking out my own path has felt like finding myself after being lost in societies chaos of expectations for years. We all have our own path to travel, often it is hard to see that we need to get off the main road and take a path less travelled. People like you get us thinking. Pam in Norway

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    1. Pam! How are you feeling?? Hope all is better for you!

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  22. Ditto! Too long slaving away to make big companies rich and then they just do not care about you or what happens to you after your usefulness has expired. So, please do your own thing; it brings pleasure and fulfillment to your soul!

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  23. If you sat back and took it easy you wouldn't be Rhonda, many of us would be the poorer for that.

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  24. I love this post, THANK YOU! Guida

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  25. Oh yes, so very well said once again Rhonda. A reason to get up in the morning, this kind of life certainly gives us that! I would also add that I'm empowered and liberated by this simple life we live. Thank you for putting it into words so eloquently, as usual. :)

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  26. Some of us are "worker bees" and some are not...let's enjoy our differences. :)
    My mother is 92, lives in a retirement community and still prefers cooking her own meals, baking cookies for neighbors who no longer can, tending a small garden, taking her neighbors who no longer drive on outings etc. If she slowed down and "took it easy" she would be bored out of her mind!
    Auntie M

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  27. You could spend the time that you spend blogging now in sitting on the porch watching clouds go by. Thanks for not taking it *that* easy, from someone grateful for your wonderful example!

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  28. I wish I was well enough to live your lifestyle, I do as much as I can. I lost the battle to keep my grandson so I don't have a reason to get up of a morning. I envy your lifestyle so don't take any notice of detractors as I feel if we all lived this way the world would be a better, cleaner and safer.

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  29. Your blog echoes the discussion I had with my husband this morning as we sat on the deck chatting over a cup of coffee and planning our day. Our conclusion is that the secret to happiness is waking every day with a sense of purpose. As we finished our coffee we each moved happily on to our daily chores.

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  30. Constant striving to be good at everything leaves too many of us feeling fit for nothing, so perhaps it’s time we discovered happiness in simple, everyday things...

    -Jillian-

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  31. I'm new to your blog, Rhonda, but I love it! My 4 children are grown and married - 2 live in other states so a good portion of my grandchildren I don't get to see very often, and I miss that. I am now a caregiver for my 99 year old mother who has lived with us for 4 years now. It has been a hard adjustment to an otherwise busy life, but it is where I am supposed to be for now. I am trying to simplify my life and possessions which has been hard, but needed to be done. I want to "thrive and enjoy my life" as you say and do, and am taking the small steps needed to appreciate my life as it is now and allow others the joy of possessing some of my treasures and free up space in my own home. You give us food for thought and I know I needed to feel like part of a movement of women who are embracing their age and capabilities, so thank you!

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  32. Rhonda, the things you share are important. A whole generation has lost touch with the idea and skills needed to run a household. (Both women and men) I too have spent most of my adult life living a career (or 2 actually) and being single I threw myself into it...I have no regrets, but like you I wish I had learned skills to be more self sufficient instead of a power shopper.

    Know that especially the wisdom you share is important work. Because I had no family of my own, my apartment was mostly a sleep, eat carry out, and shower kind of home. Now that I am not working and am living in an older home w/o dishwashers and other modern conviences (and little kiddles from down the street that come to visit and play and be creative...and the messes we have to clean up together...

    Well anyway, house cleaning is not my favorite or my best skill and many times I hear you in my head telling me to finish up the dishes for the day before bed, cleaning up the house on a weekly schedule, cooking in instead of ordering out, and planing my own back porch veggie pot garden.

    So thanks...and keep on doing just what you are doing. You have found your calling and "groove" in your life and we are privileged that you share it with us.

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    1. Thanks Peascod. Tell me, do you listen to me when I'm in your head? :- )

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  33. What a beautiful post, Rhonda Jean ♥ you are a blessing and a lovely encourager! When I have those moments when I am busy here at home, enjoying what I am doing for my family and taking a moment to just be thankful, I often think of you. I see you in my mind's eye enjoying your projects and content, and it makes me smile. Hugs!

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  34. I love, love, LOVE what you are writing! My journey over the last four years has gone from being entirely dependent on a centralized financial system (while thinking I was independent) to interacting with Nature through design. The cognitive dissonance has been incredible as each piece has been questioned, examined and discarded. Money is a form of coinage, while wealth is who we are and what we live and create all around us, busyness is a form of collectively acceptable distraction while contemplative effort is an expression of the creative self. I never did like the taste of Kool Aid, so now that it's out of my life I am also free to use my brain on behalf of self, others and Nature. I am no longer trapped in the consumerist nightmare of novelty vs anxiety, because thriving, experimentation, and learning have taken its place. So happy to have found you.
    cheers, sheila

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