Confronting Simplicity Posted on 7 Jan 16:03

Children Playing

I took detailed notes on how to simplify life.  But I can’t find them.  I asked around the office if anyone had seen my scrawl.  One of my favorite co-workers laughed.  “That’s kinda funny.” I suppose it is kinda funny.  What’s a girl to do?

Start over. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes the idea of a fresh start really appeals to me.  A new year=fresh start.  And I’ve got my eye on elusive simplicity.  From my not-nearly-as-sharp-as-it-used-to-be memory (because I lost my notes), here are some reminders for achieving simplicity.

Declutter—this is not a revolutionary idea by any means, but it’s undoubtedly one of the best ways to simplify.  I’m doing a 21 day project that focuses on de-cluttering life.  I’m on day 2, so I’m revved up over organization. I like the practical advice to start small.  Is it the stack of unsorted mail that drives you mad or dirty dishes in the sink?  Don’t sweat the small stuff, tackle it—it’s a great place to realistically begin.

Resolve to Be Happy with Good—I’m not a perfectionist, but sometimes I fail to see exquisite value when I have done a good job.  I want it to sparkle a little more or feel grand because that’s so much better.  (That sounds like a perfectionist mindset I know, but I’m talking about excellence not perfection.)  Long ago, I accepted the fact that life is not perfect.  People are definitely imperfect too.  It’s okay to do something well and walk away so no one gets hurt.  Tolstoy said,  “If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”  One of the biggest perks of simplifying is, after all, contentment.

Digital Media Doesn’t Love you Back—I read that simplifying is more attainable if we aren’t entranced by a screen all of the time.  I know media calls to us much like the sirens beckoned Odysseus, but it draws us in and leaves us with little in return sometimes.  We’re so doggone distracted with media.  As we learn to walk away from the computer or video games, or from facebook and texting, we will be more present in real relationships and life will look better on us.  Living in the present will help each of us streamline our days.

Complain Less—we all gripe from time to time, and that can have a healthy purpose.  Instrumental complaints are goal oriented, meaning we make them to hopefully bring about change.  (You rant about no one changing the toilet paper roll in hopes next time it will happen—there is no level of difficulty associated with replacing the roll by the way, it’s not like running a marathon or flying to the moon.) Expressive complaints are more about venting and having someone understand, which makes us feel better.  The problem with complaining, when overdone, is we feel overwhelming negativity.  And that negativity is bad for our brains (and our souls).  If we complain less, life will instantly be more positive. If we want to simplify our lives and make them less complicated, we need to focus on the positive—less grumbling.

toilet paper

I guess I don’t need to clutter my mind with copious notes on how to simplify.  There, it’s working already.