In today’s day and age, it seems like we never have enough. We’re always putting off being happy until the next big milestone happens. I’ll be happy when I switch jobs. I’ll be happier when we have a different house. I’ll be happy when, if, I’m somewhere, anywhere, other than where I am now. When I have more or less of this or that, when I meet someone, when I have kids, when I have more money.
That is why I think the journey to a simpler life is the only way to live. So what is simple living?
To me and my family, simple living is being content with less.
I heard a quote recently that really stuck with me that basically said “contentment doesn’t sell.”
Everywhere we turn, there is someone or something telling us we need something new to improve our lives. Just turn on your TV and see if you can watch just one commercial without someone trying to sell you something. A new car, a boat, a vacation spot, fast food, legal services. You name it.
When is the last time you saw a commercial on TV or heard an ad on the radio telling you to take a deep breath, stop, and be thankful for where you are and what you have right now in life?
Probably never. Those kind of ads don’t generate revenue and wouldn’t be worth the cost of the advertisement.
For every 60-minute TV show you watch, only 42 minutes of that is the actual show. The rest is someone trying to convince you that you need to buy something or go somewhere other than where you are in order to be happy.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely see the value in striving to achieve your dreams, even if those dreams include spending money on your dream home or vacation.
The thing about simple living, is appreciating what you have so that you spend less and find happiness WHILE trying to achieve some other really expensive dream.
Full Disclosure – The fact that my family believes in simple living doesn’t mean that I’ve conquered my addiction to yard sales – that’ll never happen. If I see a good deal at a garage sale, you can bet my happy butt will be carting it home with me. Okay, back to my original point…
When do you get to be happy? When you finally get to retire and most of your life has already passed you by? What a waste of time!
Think of all you’d be missing. The special moments with your spouse and kids that are going on in the background of your life while you dream about the “what ifs” and “if onlys” of days that may or may not come.
Life is short and moments are fleeting. Simple living allows you to enjoy your life right where you are today instead of wishing precious time away.
My husband and I decided long ago that when we had kids, we wanted to raise them to appreciate experiences and not things. To be happy with far less than other kids their age.
We wanted to raise a family who sees the satisfaction in repurposing things instead of running out and buying the next new something.
The way I planned to accomplish that was to have a small house that didn’t afford us the luxury of tons of space to accumulate things we wouldn’t appreciate. When we were dating, I told my husband (then boyfriend) that I wanted to raise our babies in a house with small closets, small bedrooms, and TONS of outdoor space. I wanted porch space to entertain our neighbors and to spend time together as a family.
Now we ended up accomplishing all of those goals but one – we moved so far out into the middle of nowhere that we don’t have neighbors to invite over, but I’ve learned that woods make GREAT neighbors! If you’ve ever had a nosy neighbor, you know exactly what I mean.
Simple living to us is also being much more self-sufficient.
The homesteading and tiny house movements really spoke to us when we were dating. While we learned that tiny house living isn’t for us when we lived in an RV for two years, we did learn that we can be happy with so much less and that small house living was a great compromise.
Now, we are raising our growing family in a 1000 square foot home and feel like we have plenty of space.
Our two-acre property will allow us to grow most of our own produce and feel more self-sufficient.
We love the idea of not having to pay a premium at the grocery store for things we can tend to and harvest ourselves.
Plus, the money we save doing things ourselves can be used to make fun memories together as a family!
Our favorite thing to do together is travel. Long road trips don’t scare us. Even with little ones.
While our son sleeps in his car seat, my husband and I sit up front dreaming up all of the places we want to go and other trips we want to take. I sit on my phone looking up how to do those things at a discount.
We sit and talk about how we met and all the pieces that had to fall into place for this little family of ours to come to be.
I make him tell me the story of when he knew I was the one. We relive our wedding day and the day our son was born.
We really appreciate our time together and try to make the most of every single moment.
So how can you live more simply? Be sure to subscribe to Simple Living Mommy for a free download of 8 Ways to Live More Simply!
Reimagine your life as though today was your last day. What would you rather be doing? Think about that long and hard and find a way to incorporate much more of that into your life. Do you wish you could spend more time outside? Go to the beach more often?
A wise woman once told me I need to start “claiming” the things I want when I was complaining about not having enough time to do certain things. If I wanted to go for more walks, maybe dinner had to happen late at night so that we could go walking as a family as soon as my husband got home from work. Start making things happen instead of dreaming about the day that they’ll be possible. If not now, then when?
Do you spend a ton of time working overtime to afford the lifestyle you have? What can you cut out to be able to cut back on those hours away from home?
If something were to happen to you tomorrow, your employer would replace you with a job ad online. Your family would never be the same.
A lot of what simple living means to me is reframing my life and my priorities in a way that I know I won’t regret later.
I have a beautiful husband, a beautiful son, and a beautiful baby on the way. I’m striving to live every day to the fullest and not get distracted by what the rest of the world tells me I need in order to be happy!
- Do some soul searching and figure out exactly how you want your life to look. Is that less on your calendar and more free time? Less things. More travel. More hiking. More golf. Just be honest with yourself about what you need to be happy
- Evaluate your life and dig into what’s actually taking up your time. Is it work? Housework? A car that seems to constantly need fixing?
- Now, be brutally honest about the extreme measures you could take to make some big changes right NOW. Sell your house and downsize? Give in and get a new car or pay someone to fix it for you? Purge your home of unnecessary things?
- Next, set a timeline to do those things in. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Break your goal into manageable chunks
- What can you do yourself that you’re currently paying someone to do? Grow your veggies? Bake your bread? Clean your house? SIMPLIFY and start doing those things yourself
- While you get your life on a simpler track, start claiming the things you want. SAY NO to things that take up your time if you don’t truly enjoy them and get outside if that’s what you want. Don’t work on a Saturday so you have time for that hike. Have a picnic on the porch. Spend time with your kids.
- Most importantly – set aside time every-single-day to just be grateful. Think of 3 things you’re truly thankful for and encourage all of your family members to do the same. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the things you have instead of longing for the things you want. Be happy where you are as you work to simplify and accomplish or claim things on your wish list.
What can you do to live a simpler life? What sacrifices have you made to change your life for the better? What advice do you have for those who are just starting their simple living journey? Let me know in the comments!
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