6 January 2008

Getting closer to your simple life

Sometimes I think people are scared to live simple lives. They look and see a life lived with none of the props of modern living like recreational shopping, one upmanship of the Joneses, no designer labels, new appliances, or dining out, going to the library instead of buying books, no pay TV, gossip magazines or convenience foods. The starkness of that scares them. They say they don't want to live like that but the reality is they don't want to give up the props, they fear they'd fall over.

As well as creating insatiable desire in us, magazines and TV are great time wasters. If you give them up you'll have much more time to devote to really living your own life. Instead of watching others live their lives, you can concentrate on yours. I guess blogs fall into this category too. If you're reading a lot of blogs trying to get motivation, but instead find you're wasting a lot of time, then you should limit yourself.

The truth of simple living is that you learn to be independent. It's the kind of mindset that sees strength, reliability and dedication to a purpose as an important part of life, and the props of modern living as an irrelevance that gets in the way. When you reach that stage you're truly independent. You live without constraint, you don't have to be any one thing, you don't have to dress according to fashion; you do what you do because you see a reason for it, not because everyone else is doing it. You are a non-conformist.

I look like the average Autralian woman of my age but my exterior deceives. I am not like my contempories at all. I do not believe the lie that buying more of what I want will make me happy. I believe I will find my happiness in the true and good things that I create for myself. I believe my happiness is in my family and friends, having a genuine purpose to my day, in being creative and productive. I wonder why my contempories want to retire and do nothing. I want to work - I know that work is good for me, but I want my work to be fulfilling, innovative and productive. I want my work to give me what I need to live, not the money to always buy what someone else produces for me.

Over the past few days I've written about green cleaning. I hope those posts show that you don't have to go to a supermarket to buy the latest detergent or the super duper toilet cleaner. You can cross those things off your list forever. You can buy generic products and make your own cleansers that work well, don't cost a lot and will move you further away from the consumer nightmare of modern life. Green cleaning is a good entry point to simple living. We all have to clean our homes, but this is a point where we can step up and make a stand. When you are happy that you can still keep a clean house, you can move on to other things - like stockpiling, buying generic brands, cooking from scratch and all the other activites that will spring from them.

Slowly you will start to live more simply. Inch by inch you'll see that rejecting modern views of life work well and that providing for yourself builds satisfaction and confidence. It seems to me that satisfaction and confidence are in short supply these days. Luckily we can all grow our own at home.
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