Simplifying Life. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines this as reducing to the bare essentials. I would like to think of it as minimising our busyness (yes this is actually a word), to the point where we are able to enjoy beautiful things – the beauty of a flower, the shape that clouds make in a blue sky, the movement of leaves in the wind. How can we get to a point in our lives where we are able to take notice of these beautiful things EVERY day.
This folks is something I really don’t think is very easy to achieve. If we have to start to carve away the fat that does not matter in our daily lives – I am not sure what we will have left. It is difficult knowing where to begin!
We’ve got the non-negotiables:
- Earning an income. In one way or other we’ve gotta work. Let’s face it. The majority of us have got to do it. And working requires some work! Some semblance of effort is needed for a number of hours each day to get us ‘to’ the day and ‘through’ the day. There is :
- preparing for work – what am I going to wear (the outfit, the shirt/tie, the jewelry)
- deciding on lunch- do I get lunch at the office or am I trying to stick to my diet plan and carry lunch to the office (which then requires deciding what to prepare and then packing it to go).
- getting through the commute – setting that alarm for that hour that comes ever so quickly to get you out of the house on time. There is the alternative of course where you ask yourself “can I sleep in a few minutes longer?”. This of course runs the risks an additional 45 minutes in traffic. It can all be draining.
So not much to simplify here. Then there is:
- Nutrition. we’ve got to eat! and we want to at least do this smartly. This requires trips to both the supermarket and fresh produce stands, or growing our food ourselves both of which require our time. Deciding on the meals, buying the raw material and actually cooking the meal, all require time. On top of all of that preparation we still have to actually eat! Unless there is a magic food pill people we’ve got to do all of this above.
Everything here is necessary. Not much to simplify.
- Exercise. Another important factor, which for most of us takes place either in the morning or evening. We know we need to exercise and when we get it in, we’re happy that we did. This too requires that we determine which gym, what time, and for how long.
Not much to simplify.
- Recreation – whether through sport or leisure activities, this is becoming increasingly important for us to take control of, as we strive for that ever elusive work life balance. Meeting up with the guys, having tea with the girls. We need to fit that time in.
So not much simplifying here.
- Family time – whether we have kids, parents, or loved ones – life requires that we spend time with them. It is what makes life life! what’s the point of all that we do, if we are not able to share it with our loved ones.
Simply a must do.
This list certainly isn’t exhaustive but it captures some if the key life attending matters, which as you can see do not have much fat to carve off.
So How Do we Simplify Life?
There are a few ways we can simplify life, reduce our excess and appreciate what we have.
- Detach – from those things that do not add significant value each day – the TV, the gadgets, overall technology. They grab our attention but do not give us back in return.
- Reduce – the influence of negativity in our lives, those people who by their words instill fear and self doubt in you. This leads to a desire to do more to compensate. That race in the hamster wheel never ends!
- Reduce – the unnecessary clutter of things. There are things in our closet, our room, on our desk, in our car, that we look at daily, that if we stop to assess them, we realize we do not really need.
- Give back – to those less fortunate, to those who do not have. This shines a light on all the excess that we do have in our lives.
- Say no – to people and their invitations to get you out of your comfortable home and/ or your comfortable bed to do things you really do not need to do.
So let’s try to make the effort to enjoy that beautiful flower in your front garden, or the lovely one placed in the vase right in your sitting room. Slow down, breathe slowly, let your muscles relax as you simplify – Hey, just don’t fall asleep!