10 December 2007

I’m not perfect, people!

I get the impression sometimes that some readers think I’m a perfect angel who works away without a word of complaint, making no mistakes and with everything going perfectly to plan. I doubt anyone can claim perfection every day. I am as flawed as the next person. I have things I don’t like doing, I make mistakes – yesterday I forgot to put the yeast in the bread. Please don’t think that my life is perfect and the ideal life that all people living simply should aspire to. This is just my version of simple living. I’ve custom made my life to suit how I want to live, you should do the same. Even if our goals and values are similar, our circumstances, our capabilities, the way we work, the time we have to give to our work at home, all these factors make the outcomes of simple living different. And that is the way it should be.

There are days when I don't feel like baking bread or sweeping the floor and only do it because I push myself. I could easily buy bread, already sliced and presented in a plastic bag for "freshness", I could vacuum the floor, or simply leave the mess for another day. I am not perfect, I have those days too.

I also make mistakes and forget or refuse to do things. When I first started to knit again, I undid my first item about 10 times before I got it right. Some things are difficult for me to do. I do most of my work in the morning because in the afternoon I feel tired and work then on gentle tasks like mending and sewing. Last month I couldn't be bothered feeding the worms for a week. They survived, and so did I. Yesterday I was supposed to do all the ironing, but it was hot and I didn't feel like doing it. Did I soldier on and complete it all? Nope! I did about half and left the rest. I did that because I have the same weaknesses as everyone else and sometimes I'm lazy ... and hot.

I suppose that other retired women who live simply would have similar days to mine, but all you younger girls, those with babies and toddlers to care for and love, and all those who work outside the home, your days would be different. That is okay – I am not the ideal. I’m just here writing about what I do. And while I hope that some of what I write is used to modify fragmented and stress-filled lives, if you’ve got your own version of a simple life or are working towards it, own it, respect it and be proud that you’ve made a custom built life and haven't fallen for the one-size-fits-all consumers' special.

We all need role models. I think a lot of the problems we now live with are because we model our behaviour on people who live celebrity lifestyles, and not real people who live as we do. One of the reasons I write here every day is that I hope I am a positive role model and that what I do will show others the varied possibilities of a simple life. A lot of my life is wonderful and even on the bad days I wouldn't change one second of it for any other kind of life, but I do make mistakes; I am not perfect, nor do I try to be.

I am just one ordinary woman who is making it up as I go. I make my own rules, and break them too, but I always try to live according to my values. I am honest with myself, I try to make what I do as easy as I can and while I thoroughly enjoy all the positive outcomes of my work, I gladly accept the negatives too. Life's like that - for every ounce of gold, you have at least an ounce of soil you have to sift through to find it. So if you're struggling with your life and if it's not the way you want it to be every day, accept that as part of living. Always try to be your best, but don't expect perfection.
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