I had a revelation today. By revelation, I mean one of those thoughts that comes to you and you know that it wasn’t your own brain that came up with it. You know that it was given by God to you at that precise moment. I can spend all day thinking about something and not come up with one original or worthwhile idea, but then a month later it’ll just drop into my head, and I think “Oh, yeah, that’s what I should do. Of course.” That’s revelation. And it’s a gift–not something I can do for myself or earn somehow. It’s a kind of grace, I guess.
Anyway, here is today’s revelation: Simple living is an end in itself. You see, I have always thought that simplicity–clearing out clutter, spending less money on possessions or little indulgences (read: iced lattes), etc.–I’ve always thought that by cutting those things out of my life, I was making room–in my house and in my budget–for even better stuff. If I don’t have a closet full of Target-brand clothes, then I’ll have room for a really nice cashmere sweater. And it will be so much more beautifully displayed since it won’t be stuffed in between twenty-five pilling, fading, stretched-out impersonations. If I don’t spend my money on mochas at Blue Bottle Cafe, then I’ll have more money to put towards a Hawaiian vacation next spring. And while there is nothing wrong with cashmere sweaters and Hawaiian vacations, I’m beginning to realize that if those things are my goal, then I’m not really simplifying in the purest sense; I’m just upgrading.
Here’s a quote I read this week:
As a culture, we worship “next”. We binge on content and put our hope in the next version. We live in a culture that spends more energy focusing on the 3.0 version that is coming than the 2.0 that is available today. From coffee machines[…]to computers, it’s always the “next.” As John [Eldredge] puts it, we live in the age of upgrade. (-Morgan Snyder, http://www.becomegoodsoil.com)
Rather than upgrading, what if we pursue simplicity for simplicity’s sake? What if we stop trying to find strategies to gain that “next” thing, and start simplifying our lives just because a simple life is often a better, more joyful, more peaceful life? I know I have a lot to learn about living this way, but I’m looking forward to it. And I welcome your comments and advice. What are you learning about simplicity? Have you found ways to simplify your life? What benefits has simplifying brought to your life?
(Wanna read a cool blog about some people who are radically simplifying their lives? Check out my friend Carrie’s site: clotheslinetinyhomes.com)