Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about something that I’ve shared a few times already on this blog. Nothing revolutionary for me, but it is something I still think about a lot! The older I get, the more I crave a simple kind of life. Not simplicity in feeling like I necessarily need to get rid of everything I have, sell our car, change our color scheme to all neutrals, live off the land for our survival, or move to a 500 square foot house or whatever others might view as simple, but finding a regular rhythm of life that works for me. I find fulfillment differently than I used to.
One thing I know for sure is what might appear to be “the simple life” for one person doesn’t necessarily equate to simple for another. Right now in my life simple means slowing down, staying put and nurturing what I already have rather than seeking simplicity somewhere else, taking off on a new adventure or adding new things to my already overflowing plate. Simplicity is about being in the moment and embracing life right where I am.
It comes down to the choices I make day to day to keep life simple. What do I do every day that complicates my life?
For me a complicated life tends to begin with starting big new things, moving to new places or a different house I have to set up or putting too much pressure on myself to do more around my house. It really hasn’t mattered to me where I’ve lived, big house, small house, in town, out of town, it is always more complicated if I set myself up in a life or environment that doesn’t work for me. And the moving to a new house is always more complicated than I remembered! It takes years for me to really feel settled.
I like having enough room in my house to feel comfortable with things I love to have around me, the type of decorating I enjoy doing and the kind of entertaining we want to do as a family. I love to have enough space to myself so I can hide away from the hustle and bustle of our home, but not so big of a house that I am over burdened by more than I can take care of or handle. There is a delicate balance there on what I’ve decided works for me in this season of life.
A well taken care of and maintained home is more important to me right now, in this moment, than a place that requires lots of work and effort. While it is fun to dream about remodeling or living a new adventure (and trust me, we are always dreaming of what house or adventure we’d like next!) I’ve been there, done that and it was a bit more stressful and less romantic than I thought :-).
While I’m all for chasing dreams, I’m finding a new level of contentment with a life that is creatively more simple. It can be tiring and distracting chasing after a new kind of adventure, so I love this season where I can choose to slow down and appreciate what I already have. Not to say we aren’t busy, we are crazy busy. But I can make the choice to not complicate things further!
Simple contentment isn’t something you can always find by moving to it by downsizing or upsizing or moving to a different area or style of house or starting something new to fill that creative desire, for me right now it is what I’m finding by staying where we are and nurturing what we already have going on in life.
Ironically to us, this new house away from our favorite “homes” in Portland, in this area we never dreamed of living in, will be the home we’ve lived in longer than any other house we’ve ever had. Now I have a glimpse of what life is like for people who haven’t moved every few years. And I really like it!
I know it isn’t always possible to stay put (you military people know this better than anyone!) but for me right now, it is nice! I love it. I’ve always thought that I would really like the simplicity of being in a place that we’ve lived in for awhile, one that is “nearly done” over having “a long way to go.” And I was right, I do like it! Of course I love keep enough projects going so I don’t get bored (obviously, I’m always working on something creative!).
I’ve discovered a comfortable way of life that might be different than I dreamed of but it works for me, for now. I realize now I can handle living close enough to shops that I can have some “me time” at a coffee house or window shopping, but far enough that I don’t get in a regular habit of shopping to fill a void in my life that should have been filled with simpler pleasures. Living near enough (but not too close!) to shopping or other “spending” temptations helps simplify the budget too! It’s good, even if it isn’t what I had originally imagined as a perfect life or location for me.
I’m feeling more and more comfortable right where I am, even in this new house I never would have dreamed of for my forever “home.” While once in awhile the notion of moving to some fun new place with new projects to do and new experiences to have still comes flashing across my mind, I remind myself that the simple, romantic and fulfilling life I desire is something I can probably attain by staying where I am and appreciating what I already have.
A better home or life isn’t always found elsewhere! Sometimes it is right in front of you. It isn’t just settling for what you have, but I really feel like sometimes your best life might really be under the roof you already have. I just have to make different choices every day in how I spend my time or money or where I focus my attention. Deliberately slowing down the pace right where I am will likely get me to simplicity.
While I can’t say for sure where life will lead or what new opportunities that might come our way in the near or distant future, I do love that I feel more content right now to stay where I am than ever before. I’m a bit of an adventurer when it comes to homes and I love chasing new creative ideas, but I’m learning the art of contentment right where I am. I’m embracing a growing desire for simplicity and understanding what that actually means to me. It is a really good feeling, like I can take a deep breath and just enjoy being here.
What do you think of when you think of a more simple life?
For those of you who aren’t just starting out in life, how has your idea of what “a simple life” means evolved over time?