Simplicity. Remember back in the good ol’ days when we did a lot more sewing of clothes than buying? Well, I do. I come from a family of people who made clothes to save money. I know my grandmother, mother of 11 children, did a lot of sewing, and then used the scraps for rugs and quilts. Nothing was ever thrown away. My own mother used to make dresses for me and my 2 sisters. It was very economical. Sometimes there would be matching dresses. Being the youngest, I didn’t mind that, but I’m sure my older sisters didn’t think that was especially fun. ha. My mom still made a lot of her own clothes for years until she got quite a bit older. Simplicity and McCalls were 2 of the major pattern makers. Oh and Butterick. I think that was the name anyway. We’re reaching back years, people. YEARS.
My thoughts today though, are about simplicity as a lifestyle and not about only clothing. We attended a funeral for the mother of a close friend on Saturday morning and listened as over and over people talked about how content and satisfied she was with the simple joys in life. She left quite a legacy of a loving family and both my husband and I admire greatly their faith, their love for family, and the simple way in which they enjoy life. It was said some of her greatest joys were watching birds and squirrels and feeding them. She also had a great love for growing flowers.
I have been yearning for a simpler life for some time now and I have been considering ways in which I can achieve that. Stop striving. Sounds so easy, yet it’s something that most of have yet to conquer. Streamline my wardrobe, my possessions, and my activities. I’ve been contemplating my time online and how it adds to my stress sometimes. It definitely takes a lot of my time. Facebook is the worst, though, for stealing my peace. I’m contemplating a facebook detox or cleanse. Maybe 30 days without. Stay tuned for that.
Several people are engaging in what’s called 31 Days, which is where you write everyday in October. Some are doing it in 5 minute increments a day and others are just writing a post everyday, not timing it. I considered it. I signed up for it. And then I decided I wasn’t ready for that commitment right now. I’m still trying to get a routine down for my unscheduled life. After working for nearly 16 years at my last job, and several before that at various jobs, while being a Mom, I now find myself with days and weeks of unscheduled time and I’m trying to structure it so I can accomplish things I want to get done and at the same time enjoy the freedom of not having a set in stone schedule. It’s trickier than it sounds, trust me. ha.
Now even though I didn’t decide to go along with the 31 day writing challenge, I am subscribed to several blogs whose authors did decide to take the challenge. Which results in lots of posts everyday that are emailed to me and which I can’t keep up with. For simplicity’s sake, I have had to start deleting them without reading as I just don’t have the time and I was feeling overwhelmed. When I start feeling overwhelmed with something, it’s a good clue to me to try to simplify it.
After last week when I noticed my email inbox contained a little over a thousand emails, yes I said 1000, I knew I had to clean it out and streamline my life in that regard. I managed to get it down to around 300 and was still working on it when this writing challenge started and chaos broke loose once again in my inbox. So I’m hitting that delete button a little more freely today. It’s freeing. Once you get over the guilt. Guilt you might ask? Over what? Evidently I got mine and several other people’s doses of guilt when born, as mine is very overactive. I feel guilty if I don’t read them all. But no more. I’m working on that. And yes, I still feel like I should clean my plate, although it’s mostly only when I’m eating at someone else’s house. In a restaurant, I’ve gotten quite accustomed to only eating part of the serving and many times my husband and I will split an entrée which I really enjoy. I do not like feeling stuffed to the gills after eating. There’s no sense in always taking 1/2 of my meal home, it’s not practical at times either if we happen to be staying in a motel.
I have a plan for simplifying and downsizing my home too. Right after I get that schedule figured out and under way.
So I’m trying to also simplify my wants and desires. I don’t need a fantastic home in a fantastic location. I can be satisfied with less. I don’t need a fantastic trip every year or as some people do, several times a year. I can be satisfied with less. I don’t need a super stylish wardrobe or furnishings in my home. I can be satisfied with things that are comfortable. All I really need are very basic things.
First, I need my God. He fills and fulfills me like nothing else will. When I’m striving and reaching for things, they are just cheap imitations of the Master and they will never satisfy like He does.
Second, I need my family. For as long as God will bless me with them. My husband is my rock wherever I go in life and my hero. He completes me. He’s the yin to my yang, the counterweight to my weight, the summer to my winter. Even though we’re very opposite on a lot of things, we balance each other out and complement each other in a way no one else can. I’d be lost without him.
My three sons. They each bring something unique to my life and although we don’t frequently “do” things together like mothers and daughters do, they fill my heart with their unique personalities.
Third, I need a place to call my own. It doesn’t have to be much, but it does have to be mine. I’m not nomadic and am a great homebody. I feel the best when I’m at home. I also need time away from people and stimulation to achieve my best self. I have that here. I don’t have to remodel it, or update it, I’m content with it just as it is.
Books. I need books. I have to read something or I get gritchy.
Finally, I do need friends. I’ve been learning over the last several years that I don’t have to have a lot of friends, or even a best friend as I haven’t had that for years. I long for that though, but I’m learning to find what I need in God. People always let us down and I can’t expect them to do any less.
That’s all I really need.
A simple life.
A simple person.
A simple faith.
That’s what I want to leave behind.