Here we are at July 5th already. To say it’s been a whirlwind of a year is a definite understatement – and we’re only at the halfway point. I know everything is feeling a bit kerflooey at the moment, my own life included. But there is one thing that does not feel like it’s fallen apart – my adoration for simplicity.
I can’t remember the very first time my momma taught me about simplicity, but it was a lesson she bestowed emphatically. I grew up with two parents who lavished upon their children. And, when we weren’t being lavished upon by our parents, we were being spoiled by our grandparents. I can think of nothing I didn’t have during my childhood. My father worked (and continues to work) in a mentally grueling profession to ensure material possessions were in constant, unwavering supply. My momma worked in another intellectually and physically challenging profession until I was about nine or 10 years of age. At that time, she elected to become a stay-at-home momma to my sister and I. #Blessed has never been more appropriate than when describing my childhood. Despite having every toy, trinket and childhood luxury known to man, I grew up with the knowledge that living simply and having an immense appreciation for the little things in life is invaluable to success and happiness. The value of simplicity has been known for centuries, and I am fortunate to have a momma who bestowed this wisdom to her offspring.
Sometimes, I get caught up in stuff. Wanting stuff, the allure of more stuff, cute stuff, exciting stuff, pretty stuff, more stuff, stuff filled with stuff, a house of stuff, stuff to wear, stuff to eat, stuff to watch, stuff, stuff, stuff, I want more stuff. My wise momma taught me that the addition of stuff does not necessarily equate to more happiness.
Each day, I find myself craving a more simple life. I want a house full of stuff, but not in the classic sense. I want my home stuffed with love, generosity, peace, joy, God, happiness, laughter, comfort. I want the stuff of a simple life. It seems the more classic stuff I add to our home, the more empty it feels.
Recently, momma brought to light an excellent idea (there goes her wisdom, again!). She said, “let’s leave the space empty until we find what we want to fill it”. With each passing day, I adore this idea more and more. Instead of a home filled with stuff for the sake of filling the corners, we’re going to leave those areas empty. I like to think that those nooks and crannies won’t truly be empty; they will be filled with laugher, love, and coziness. And until we find that perfect “stuff” that we will cherish, the corner shall house our love of simplicity.
Recently, I read an article (which I would link to here if I could remember where I read it 🙄) that equated a life of simplicity as a sign of laziness. If the house is empty, it must be because the family isn’t working hard enough to fill it. I know what my wise momma would say! Something along the lines of a more profane version of codswallop. I’m grateful that she raised me to believe in simplicity. I pity those who would read that same article, not have the wisdom passed on by their families, and think it’s true.
The simple life, simply put, is the key to joy. The more stuff, the more problems seem to follow. Even adding “good stuff” can complicate life. Not too long ago, I realized I am the proud owner of at least five 55 L totes full of books. I love books. Holding them, reading them, smelling them. Collecting books is something I have loved for many years. There is nothing wrong with my love of books, there isn’t anything particularly wrong about the five totes full. Generally, a love of books is viewed as a good thing. Be that as it may, this collection of mine isn’t bringing me joy. The truth is I’ve read less than a quarter of those books. I may be holding on to books that I would absolutely loathe once I cracked open their pages. So, why have them? They’re nothing more than dust collectors, at the moment. Are they bringing me closer to the simple life I dream of? Nope.
The solution, forgive the pun, is simple. Approach the five totes with purging in mind! I donated a plethora of books to my sister and the thrift store. I’m reading the ones left behind and, when I am through with reading them, I’m taking a hard look at them. Will I read them, ever again? If yes, it receives an honorary place on a bookcase. If no, they must leave my home. What good is it to me? The book has provided its purpose and so, must move on. These books of mine are “good stuff” but they aren’t aiding in my pursuit of a simple life. What would bring me the most joy is knowing the books are free from their plastic tote prison: nestled in the hands of someone who cherishes their words; or are proudly and simply housed on a bookcase for me to enjoy. Right now, those books are junk. They look like old, discarded possessions that are useless or invaluable. They are filling a corner without bringing joy. So, as my momma says, “let’s leave that corner empty until we find what we want to fill it”.
My momma is wise, and this is her wisdom.