Be bold, live a life you care about

15 March 2013

My sincere thanks to everyone who sent a comment or email. I'm doing fairly well with my foot but it's so slow to heal. I'm going back to the doctor tomorrow and I'm pretty sure I need another course of antibiotics.

This post was written on 9 August 2007.
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I live a life of contentment in a beautiful part of Australia. I grow some of my own vegetables, keep a few hens in the backyard, I bake bread and preserve food. I live well with no debt on a low income. My goal is to continue living this way and if I can convince a few others to walk this path less travelled, I’ll be a happy woman.

There was a time when I worked as a technical writer, paid a mortgage and shopped at mainstream supermarkets and department stores. There was no method to my madness and I didn’t know where I was headed. Yet from the time I was around 25 years old I had a buried yearning to live the type of simple life my contemporaries viewed with contempt. In those quiet hours of 4.00 am contemplation, I knew that my future held a new direction where less was more and contentment would fill the sweet air I breathed; but I didn’t know almost 30 years would pass before I started to live that dream. I wish I’d been serious about simplicity long before I turned 50, because this way of life holds appeal for all age groups, and will change the way you view the world.

The most common question I hear regarding simple living is: “How do I start?” Well the answer to that seemingly simple question is not so straight forward. It depends on why you want to change. The end result will be the similar but your focus will be slightly different. Hopefully this blog will show you the steps needed to start living simply, whatever your reason.

I also want this blog to encourage people, young and older, to take charge of their lives by not buying into the materialism trap. I think there has been a major shift in thinking in Australia in the last ten years or so. As a society we are moving closer to a kind of moral and material bankruptcy because we trust self-indulgent, unsustainable promises that tell us living a good life requires the latest product in this year’s “must have” colour. We have to have the biggest and the best and it is fine to go into debt to get it. Those promises are problematic. They require that you mortgage your life, enclose yourself with debt obligations and work non-stop to pay for stress-filled fake living that doesn’t allow you enough time to enjoy what you have. Those promises don’t allow for enjoyment of the natural world, they encourage a consumerist approach to life when what is needed for long-term gratification is a prudent and simple one.

Your life should be about you, your family and the people you choose to include in your daily activities. What you see portrayed in today’s advertising is a false representation of modern Australian life. It is a glamorised lie to encourage you to spend money on products you don’t need.

Reinvent your life. Think about what is really important to you and develop a set of values that reflect your true beliefs. Respect and nurture your values. Discover what it is you really want your life to be and then make plans to live that life. Define for yourself what are needs and what are wants. Be courageous and change your attitude about what success means to you. Free yourself of the conventional idea of what you should own and want, strip yourself of pretension and in the process you’ll discover your true self.

I want this blog to take you on a journey inside yourself to discover your passions, uncover your true potential and to help you be the authentic you. Mindless consumerism masks us all. It surrounds us with junk that turns us into curators of merchandise. Free yourself of all that ties you down, be that debt, clutter, stress, envy, or wanting too much. In a world filled with overindulgence, simplicity will liberate you.

If you’re wondering why you work from dawn till dark just to pay the mortgage and put food on the table, this blog is for you. If you just bought more clothes and yet more things to put in your home and still feel a sense of emptiness, this blog is for you. If you don’t have enough money to live on, or if you have too much, this blog is for you. If you feel trapped by modern living, welcome home.

Many of us may voluntarily choose to live simply but even if it chooses you, the result is similar. You live a life that is marked by less rather than more, you organise your home to nurture and support you and your family members, you help develop a caring and supportive community, you make from scratch much of what you consume, you aim to live debt-free, you respect your environment, minimise waste and you are content with your life choices and the kind of person you are.

Living a simple life is about beating the system and not following the same road everyone else is on. Stop following what your friends and neighbours are doing. They’re probably up to their ears in debt too. Reinvent your life. Be bold, live a life you care about, simplicity can make you soar.

I hope this blog will help you discover the essence of simple living and how to apply it to your own circumstances. Please remember that we are diverse nation and have different aspirations. What is right for some is wrong for others. So cherry pick the information here and apply as much as you can to your own life while keeping an open mind about developing new strategies and ways of living that suit you. There is no one size fits all formula when simplifying your life.

To help you simplify I have included information about the practical aspects of day-to-day living. Some readers will already be familiar with some of the activities contained within these pages, others will be novices. There was a time when much of this was common knowledge but our consumer culture has conned us into relying on products to sustain and support us. We’ve forgotten old ways and instead work our entire lives to pay for merchandise that others create for us. The more we have, the more we want, and so the never-ending cycle continues. It wasn’t like that in the past and it doesn’t have to be like that now. We can relearn our collective heritage of basic skills and apply them to our modern lives.

So, what do you really want out of life? If you want more of everything, if you know that you’ll never have enough or be enough, then stop reading this blog now and go back to work. But if you want to live an authentic life, if you want to enjoy time with your family, if you want to help save dwindling resources, if you want to become more self-reliant and build your skills, if you want to discover the real you and live the kind of life you dream for yourself, then read on, the simple life is for you. When you know that buying more of everything will not make you happier and that saving resources is better than spending them, then you will really know that less is more. Welcome to your new life.


  1. Hoping your doctor visit goes well and he can help you to heal quickly.

  2. Wonderful words Rhonda. This is why I come back every day, again, again, & again.
    Hope you are getting better.
    love Angela (south England UK)

    I've clicked the subscribe button, but not sure if anything happened!

    1. I come back each day as I also feel the emptyness no matter what I do. I know that your life must be very rewarding. I hope your foot heals soon.

  3. I think that learning to be content is a great treasure! I love the things you share and I am encouraged by your posts! I am one of those who finds great delight in living simply and repurposing things that I find. Plus, growing food for my family as I'm able is such a pleasure! I'm always interested in learning more!

  4. oh rhonda, i'm not sure how your foot got infected, but if there was an open wound can you try some manuka honey on it? really it just saved this pregnant mama from needing to go on antibiotics via IV (after 2 rounds of oral antibiotics)... it really is amazing stuff... i have no connections to manuka honey and only tried it for myself a few weeks ago, but it is the most amazing thing- you need a high UMF factor... you can get it at the health food store... my obstetrician put me onto it and really it will live in my house forever more now! there are quite a few scientific studies out there- but these new articles

    amy xx

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      Manuka is just remarkable I used it on my horse who had speared himself through the chest on a star picket a couple of years ago. The picket went in abut a foot (showing my age there) & was about 10 inches long & five inches wide. Luckily it missed his vital organs & arteries. He was stitched up on the inside & stapled on the outside. The the staples fell apart the next day. All antibiotics had failed & after 2 courses of pain killers with no improvement I was told to just see how he goes.
      We purchased some locally made Manuka Honey & my husband held the lid of a saucepan coated with honey for him to lick while I placed a my hand covered with Manuka into his chest (The hole was that deep)
      Within a 2 month period of doing this twice a day, his wound had healed to a long scar & now you wouldn't even know there is just a tiny scar.
      I would recommend this to anyone & We always use it at home.
      Remarkable stuff mother nature makes.
      All the best,

  5. You have expressed this blog so well Rhonda - you have captured everything about the way of life you love!! Have a great weekend.

  6. This is one of my favorite posts of yours! Thanks for re-sharing it. :)

  7. So true! Thank you for your guidance and encouragement.

    Be sensible with your foot. My husband managed to get a staph infection in his leg early last year - probably via a cranky insect encountered while gardening. After a couple of rounds of super strength antibiotics, he ended up needing surgery and intravenous antis to get rid of the infection. It's all fine now and you'd never know other than the three bullet hole-like scars on the back of his calf. Wise resting is very important! Take care, Anna

  8. Yes and I struggled to understand (sounds crazy now I think about it) why every time I bought what I thought or I was told would bring contentment only brought emptiness now I'm fully submerged in this simple basic life I'm so content :) just reading this gave me a faint distant reminder of that emptiness at the time it was something I really struggled to understand I felt like that emptiness was a voice saying wrong way go back :) xoxo

  9. A fantastic post Rhonda and so, so true. Your words have the resonance that accompanies a painful truth. Thank you for sharing them with us again.

    I'm hoping your foot starts to heal soon - with your healthy food and sensible attitude to resting it I'm sure it won't be long before you're fully recovered and up and about again. We're all thinking of you.

    Take care.
    ps I made a salve adapted from your calendula recipe and it works wonders on all sorts of injuries, so I'm guessing you've already got your foot slathered in your salve.

  10. Oh thank you for this, Rhonda. So grounding. I needed to read this today :)

  11. Thank you Rhonda,
    This hits home and like a lot of others I am asking: where do I start?
    Please take care of yourself and let your family take care of you too.

  12. Dear Rhonda - praying for healing for you. Your blog has so inspired my outlook on life that recently we did need a few pieces of furniture for our home mainly a lounge suite as our other one we brought 2nd hand 10 years ago was about had it. I went onto a NZ auction site and brought what we needed: a single tubular bed ( already had the mattress) for $25 our when our granddaughter stays, a bedside table with a drawer that is solid timber and in beautiful condition for $34 and the best.............the lounge suite of a 3 seater sofa, 2 chairs and a footstool for the grand price of $35!!! The person who out bid me did not carry through to buy it and the people wanted $150 but offered it to me for $35. So less than $100 for everything and I am stoked. Before I began to read your blog and other simple life publications I would have gone and got those things on HP and then had the struggle to pay for them.
    Karen NZ

  13. Hi Rhonda, hello from over in the UK, I just wanted to say thank you for your blog (you inspired me to start my own years ago) and I do hope you recover soon. If you have any hints on toddlers approaching terrible twos do let me know! x

  14. Hi Rhonda. I have healed many an open infected wound with manuka honey applied to dressing, may be worth a try there is loads of information on the healing properties of manuka on the internet. Thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery
    Regards Michelle UK

  15. That's the reminder I need !
    Thanks Rhonda for your pearls ! :)

  16. Hi Rhonda, hope you are resting that foot and feeling better by the minute. I am sure you are applying all the usual natural remedies, sometimes it takes more time than others for the healing process to kick in. Sending your lots of good wishes for a speedy recovery. I am enjoying your old posts while you take some time off.

  17. As the other commenters said - do try Manuka honey. Absolutely wonderful stuff both for internal and external use. Used by some medical professionals here too. Here in the UK there is concern about the over prescribing of antibiotics, adding to the increase of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

  18. Wow, thank you for such a great and inspiring article. It is so true that materialism is just emptiness. "Where our heart is, is where our treasure is". I haven't totally simplified my life. I still work full time. I still enjoy browsing round the shops. However, I do now stop and think "do I really need it". I also so enjoy doing more in the home. It gives you more confident in discovering your abilities, and being proud of your achievements. Ready made, 'bought of the shelf' items do none of that.

    Thank you! And I agree with the others - Manuka honey (or even local honey) is fantastic for all sorts (including conjunctivitis). We even use it on our cats to heal bites and cuts.

    Please keep up this blog. It's so good also to see fellow UK readers responding to you!!!

    Georgie (Buckinghamshire, UK)

  19. I love it when you make me think, and inspire me. I think this is why your words touch so many. I especially love your sentence "I want this blog to take you on a journey inside yourself to discover your passions, uncover your true potential and to help you be the authentic you". Beautiful prose. Continued good wishes for your return to full health soon as well.

  20. Is an individual able to judge the authenticity of another? I'm not sure that is a fair supposition. One person's way is not another. Why suggest they are inauthentic if they want different things to you? It isn't authentic to 'follow' another person in how they live their life I don't think. To not think for yourself but to follow anothers self imposed structures is not a positive thing. To see your way as the 'right way' and present it as such is problematic and the way that many tyrannical leaders run the world. To follow instead of listening to your own instinctive and authentic self is at odds.

    1. That is not what I'm proposing. It is not for anyone to judge another. I'm suggesting each person decide for themselves what they want in their life and go for it. If you had read my blog in depth, you'd know that I alway say that no one should follow what I do but to decide for themselves what they want . I don't think my way is the right way. There is no "right way".

  21. Hi Rhonda,
    This blog is so inspiring to me! This article expresses so much inspiration! I know I am so much happier since I have tried to live more simply. I began going to knitting classes and now have a vest (and another almost finished) for my husband and a top, a dress and a poncho (in the making)for myself. I have honed my skills as a knitter and am now trying crochet to make our own bolsters. I make my own jams, sauces and preserve my own fruit (I purchased a Fowlers Vacola preserving kit and have never looked back!) too. I am cutting back on electricity seeing though it's getting so expensive and have bought some beautiful oil lamps that I light in the evenings. I spent the money for woolen underlays for winter as well.
    This lifestyle is like peeling away on onion - there is always more to learn and cultivate! I love it! Time management is also a skill I have had to employ - but at least I can take my knitting along when I have an appointment or something where I may have to wait and can utilise the time. I have just today bought some alpaca wool to spin as I love the feeling of the wool and therefore am learning from some lovely ladies from the Spinners and Weavers guild. I figure that if I love knitting (and am learning to crochet) I may as well try and spin it myself and (in the future) hopefully dye it naturally one day.
    I truly love this blog! I am now living a life I love - and so does my husband! I love all the skills I'm learning and will continue to learn so I can be independent! Thanks to all!!

  22. Rhonda, thank you so much for writing your blog. It really is an inspiration. I too, am cutting back to a simpler life. I know I will be reading daily. I am from Albuquerque, New Mexico in the US. My employer for the last 11 years retired, so I guess I did too. I was lucky enough to be a stay at home mom when my girls were young and didn't go to work till they were in middle school. But I am loving being at home. I cook from scrach, garden, canning, sewing, home repairs. Thank you so much for keeping the home alive with so many, and reminding me its where I belong.

  23. Hi Rhonda,
    I have just found your blog it is wonderful.

    Myself and my husband are just starting our simplyfying journey and this post is perfect timing. Now can't wait to read more.

    Many thanks, hope you feel better soon. Lynda x

  24. I've just read this post Rhonda and its reduced me to tears. All the while nodding my head at your inspiring words, once again.
    I've added a link to this post on my blog post today, . I want everyone to read this and post and really think about its sentiment.
    Warm regards,



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