Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Just Give Me Tomatoes and Mashed Potatoes...

Day 26
...give me the simple life"

Okay-today I came across a blog all about a man, a lawyer, who decided to give up the excess of material comforts he had grown accustomed to, leave his job, and take on a simpler life. The title of this blog is "Voluntary Simplicity." Please, I encourage you to google the words voluntary simplicity (or just click on the two words to the left) and see what this is all about! What I didn't know until today is that this is an actual lifestyle...that real people live. Now I'm not going to go sell all my belongings on craigslist and start a crusade for becoming a nomad that just lives by the seat of her pants. I love my things and I'll never stop wearing make-up. For me, completely changing my lifestyle would be terribly scary and complicated which would completely undermine the whole process of simplicity. But unless you're a die hard, I don't think that's necessary. We can't all quit our stressful jobs and step out of reality. We can't avoid the dentist, or the doctor, or all the other things that worry us. But I do think that we can take a few steps each day toward a life that is less cluttered, and a little less hurried. Don't you think we'd all be more productive if we were doing things, and surrounding ourselves with people we love? Another thing that really rings true to me is the word "voluntary". These have been a couple of the worst years financially for almost everyone in the free world. I don't know anyone that hasn't either had to downsize or go get another job to compensate for the toll our economy has taken. Up until now I have always felt like we've been forced into being more frugal. Something I never really considered, though, is that our frugality has allowed us to feel more at peace with our finances and be more grateful for the blessings we do have. It is the simple life we've adopted that has left us sleeping soundly at night and feeling content with our current circumstances. So imagine, if we were forced into simplicity and had such a positive result, how powerful it could be if we submitted to such a lifestyle voluntarily. Have you ever been on a diet where you don't eat much of anything? Or maybe you've been sick with a stomach flu-and you haven't really eaten anything exciting for a few days? How delicious is that first bite of food once you do start eating again? Even the most organic item like an orange is so pleasurable because your taste buds aren't competing for flavor. I think it's like that with anything else in life-we think better, breathe better, and function better when each aspect of our lives aren't competing all the time. How am I going to start living more simply?

  • I'm going to take my time at the grocery store, choosing foods that my grandmother would recognize as food (thanks for that tip Oprah). Another great tip that I've learned is mostly shopping the perimeter of the store. That's where your produce, proteins, grains, and dairy live.
  • I'm going to cook our meals more often. I love actually putting on an apron, turning on some soothing music and getting all my ingredients prepared. I love it even more when Trenton and I do it together. There is something so comforting about the aroma and the sound of a skillet sizzling while vegetables are being chopped.
  • We're going to eat together as a family.
  • I'm going to start a garden...even if it's in my kitchen window to begin with.
  • I'm going to continue with my yoga.
  • I'm going to take the kids for a walk several times a week.
  • I'm going to keep my house less cluttered.
  • I'm going to make more time to serve others.

I could go on forever, but that's a good start. One more thought on voluntary simplicity-There is so much proof that having everything doesn't lead to happiness, but here is one more piece of evidence. Doesn't it seem that it's the rich people that have gigantic mansions, house cleaners, and nannies that are the ones that want to retreat to remote islands the most? Those who have seemingly every comfort available to them are the ones vacationing in minimalistic hotel rooms and dining on fresh salads instead of lobster. That right there is a sign that we are more happy when we're indulging less. If you can't commit to changing your lifestyle right now I would encourage you to slice a big, juicy tomato and sprinkle some sea salt on it. Serve it next to a heaping portion of your favorite buttermilk mashed potatoes and enjoy the meal with someone you love...Turn the TV and computer off!


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