Monday, February 21, 2011

Drawn to Simplicity

I am drawn to the idea of simplicity, really drawn. When I was a girl I would envision living in a cave or tree or even a nice cozy thicket with a deer family. I would imagine making bowls out of clay baked in the sun and eating food I foraged from the forest floor (or delivered to me by a friendly forest creature). Maybe I had just read too many survivalist novels as a child. You know the kind of novel I mean, a young girl finds herself stranded in the wilderness and has to learn to survive on gumption alone.

Wyoming Winter Landscape

Since becoming a parent those old feelings have been revived to some degree. I think it has something to do with all of the stuff that seems to follow children like a comet tail of detritus. Admittedly it's not fair to blame it all on parenthood. I have craft clouds and art bombs that have settled throughout our house and Eric and the animals all contribute as well. Even though we are plagued with stuff I think most people would say that we live a fairly simple life. I would just be happier to have less stuff. Less to clean. Less to care for. Less to be strewn about. Less to take up my precious time and energy.

Recently I watched a documentary on the Amish. I learned that the reason they incorporate some technology into their way of life and not others (engines on tractors yes, phones in houses no) is because they have carefully weighed its advantages and disadvantages and after a period of time they make a choice about whether said technology will interfere with their way of life. If they can use the technology without impeding their values they will, if not then they don't. I really like that idea, a little thoughtfulness about the new stuff we bring into our lives.

Lately I have been giving a lot of thought to these kinds of things, trying to pull out the values that are important to my family, giving them a name, and trying to find a way to let the other nonsense fall to the wayside. Part of me wants to just live in a yurt and grow my own foods, writing and spending time with the family. I know that is something of a strange daydream, but I believe there is a way to find a good balance. I am just finding my own path to simplicity.

How do you find the appropriate balance in your life?


elizabeth said...

i don't know if my balance is appropriate . . . but i've been finishing the unpacking in our house . . . i'm down to not too many boxes left. and if i don't have a place to put "it" (whatever "it" is) away, i get rid of it. i've gotten rid of a lot. and i'm getting better and better at paring down. i too hate having too much to clean up.

but i have also seen the benefit of having things saved away . . . i've saved a lot of money by having fabric or kids clothes or craft supplies tucked away - but they have to be in an accessible place, or they wouldn't do me any good . . .

so - this probably doesn't help a lot - but it's my two-cents on the matter. :)

p.s. those pics of cordelia a day or two ago? perfectly wonderful! :)

singlemama said...

I'm still looking for it... ;-)

(I love your way of seeing the world, anyway)

Tammie said...

i love this post and this whole subject is something im almost always thinking about.

im constantly trying to declutter and downsize. so many of societies problems stem from having too much. and what i mean by that is, if the internet is down one day and it irritates me, thats a problem from having too much. in fact, very rarely do i have serious problems stemming from having too little. because in reality there is very little i actually need.

i hope this all doesnt seem like babble, thats just how i see it.

Emily said...

I too have always been drawn to simplicity. One time in college my roommate gave me a book entitled "The Charm of Simple Things" because she knew that was something I'd love. It's true! I still have the book too.

Robin said...

Living simple... I think the idea is more appealing when age has grown on us a bit more. After more than 10 years of being on my 'own' living more simply is the way to go!

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