Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Life lesson #89 ~ Simplify Your Life
“A simple life is a beautiful life.” ~Anonymous
Life in itself is pretty complicated. Why, well I'm not sure there’s one particular reason honestly. We hurry to work, hurry home and repeat. Life can get overwhelming and become under appreciated. Life, if we’re not careful can get completely out of control. Before we know it we’re working to live instead of actually living. If lived simply, life offers us continual moments of inspiration daily. We just have to be willing to stop worrying about the Jones’ next door and begin living as the Smith family we are. “Sometimes all we need is just a new perspective.” That’s part of the reason I love spending weekends at the country house. Being out in the woods, away from the noise with no real technology, being able to grill and eat outside, just chilling with our family and friends, well it centers us.
Want a simple, uncomplicated life well then you have to, “ask yourself what is really important and then have the wisdom and courage to build your life around your answer.” Both as a couple and as family unit we’re simply happy spending time, being together, slowing down and taking a collective breathe. As most people do, we tend to live and learn. And what we have learned in the 20 plus years we've spent as husband and wife is this: “there is beauty in simplicity.” As unpredictable as life is if you want to be truly happy then you have to be consistent in your demands for simplicity. Proverbs 13:7 puts it this way, "A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life.” That doesn’t mean we have to live destitute, or without material things it just means things shouldn’t be our sole form or proof of happiness. Seriously “no one is going to stand up at your funeral and say, she had a really expensive couch and great shoes” right? The reality is you can’t take anything material with you. Living an uncomplicated, easy, not a flashy or showy, but an unpretentious and honest life is what it’s all about. Life isn’t about impressing anyone with the things you have. No, life is absolutely about inspiring other’s by the way you live your life.
Looking back on my childhood you can clearly see I was raised in a home where things weren't important. Family, friends and memories were.In turn Johnny and I have raised our children in the same way. The ‘things’ we hold close aren’t anything money can buy. Sharing a meal together, grabbing a pick-up game of basketball, catching a hockey game, offering one another unconditional love, forgiving a wrong, real or simply perceived and simply spending a quiet afternoon together side by side, these are the moments our family holds close. Life lessons #89 ~ simplify your life, don’t overthink it. Remember, just as Laura Ingalls Wilder once said, “it’s the simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” So I guess being raised the way I was I’ve just never cared too much about material things. The value of a gift is in the thought not the cost. I have always cared more about the time given to me, memories imprinted, the effort and the honesty shared between my heart and another’s more than material objects. These particular gifts mean more to me than anything money could ever buy. It's one of the biggest reasons I've spoken so often through the years here on my blog about family being everything. See I was taught by my parents example,"The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you."
Personally, I’m a simple girl over all. I can be complicated at times, everyone can, but my hubby would definitely tell you I’m not high maintenance on any level. I'm not demanding, and neither is he. We’re not perfect by any means, but we accept that. We don’t always see eye to eye but we try to always find compromise. We don’t have to constantly pat each other’s back; we just want to be held, to love, to laugh, and to find joy in each other’s accomplishments. Johnny and I don’t expect grand gestures or expensive gifts from each other. Honesty, a simple text from him, telling me he loves me, is enough. We don’t have to be continually told how great or incredible, beautiful or attractive or even how special or exceptional we are to be happy and content. We’ve learned if we put the other first, the rest will follow. Believing ourselves individually to be the sole focus of attention or demanding to be the total center of the universe is a sure fire way to complicate things. You can bet that kind of thinking will definitely cause resentment, hurt and misunderstandings for sure. Johnny and I have faced the results of being self- centered, and it’s not a happy place believe me. Lesson learned and applied. Instead of looking for happiness and love as the world portrays it, instead of forcing love to grow in selfishness,we simply love unconditionally. As the song says, “we found love right where we are.”
The reality is this: no one is perfect, we’re all sinners. Life is complicated but it can be simplified. “Simplify your life, simplify your mind, simplify your surroundings.” Again, that’s why we love going out to the country house. Packing up the car, the dogs, and hitting the road is our way of simplifying. Being there among the quiet woods with our minds at rest surrounded by life’s simple joys is pure magic. Again it reminds us of what Laura Ingalls Wilder said so long ago, “Some old fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.” So I ask this question, when you look back on your life what is it you want to see? A life spent in the fast lane, speeding by, possibly a life held up in the slow lane, stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, anger bubbling over, yelling at the people around you, and feeling you’ve been jipped? Or do you want a life with a view, spent somewhere down the back roads, taking in the landscape, experiencing your surroundings? After all we’re only here for a short time, so find what makes you happy. Simplify your life, and slow down, un-complicate and untangle life’s demands just a little bit. Take a deep breath and find your country roots so to speak. My advice is this, stop living to work and start working on living.
“Live simply, love generously and learn constantly.”