Simplify Your Life April 6, 2010Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, Less IS More.
In her wonderfully insightful book, Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things that Really Matter, Elaine St. James reminds us that we really need very little to be happy.
One day, while perusing her personal planner, which bulged at the seams, Ms. St. James awoke to the realization that her life was too complicated.
Rather than stressing and whining about her “out of control” life, she decided to make some real changes.
She scheduled a weekend retreat and went off with a notebook to reflect on how she wanted her life to look. She emerged from the weekend with a list of things that she and her husband could do to improve the quality, and decrease the complexity, of their lives.
Among other things, they got rid of all the things they didn’t use any more. They moved across the country, so they could work where they wanted to live and do what they wanted to do. In the process, they moved into a smaller house, simplified their eating habits, consolidated their investments, sold their boat, rethought their buying habits, and drastically reduced their reliance on goods and services.
I also went out and bought copies of the book for everyone on my Christmas list that year.
I wanted to share with my friends and family what I viewed as true wisdom . . . Less is More.
After discussing the changes I wanted to make with my husband, we went to work to create the life that we wanted to live.
We started with simple changes, and then moved on to bigger challenges.
Among other things, we jettisoned much of the clutter that was filling our lives; we moved from the crowded suburbs of Philadelphia to a much smaller home on an island in the Chesapeake Bay (and then moved to Florida); we sold our camper and started to take time to enjoy sunsets and beauty from our own backyard; we switched from jobs that were “time hogs” to part-time positions which allowed us to live life on our terms; we traded larger paychecks for more time; and we simplified our eating habits by becoming vegetarians who “eat in” more often than we “eat out.”
Now, we spend more time enjoying the simple pleasures in life (an ice cream cone on a warm summer’s day) and less time doing things we don’t want to do (reading all the bad news in the daily newspaper).
Simplify Your Life is a wonderful reminder to live your life. By eliminating things that are not important to you, you find time for the things that really matter.
The secret to happiness lies not in getting more, but in wanting less . . . and in appreciating what you already possess.
And that, quite simply, is a lesson worth learning, and sharing.
No rules. Just write!
Related post: The Art of Simplifying (Think Simple Now) * A Not-So-Quick Quiz: Who Are You? * Live Your Life * Between The Wish & The Thing * You Better Stop Shopping Around * I Don’t Want Stuff Anymore, Only Things (Raptitude) * Guest Post (My Light Bag)