As this blog is coming up on its fifth anniversary later this year, it is time to take stock of the content—and figure out where we’ve ended up, and where we need to go moving forward.
Simply Enough started off like this in December of 2009:
In the beginning, the earth was empty. It was clean and abundant and pristine. Animals roamed freely and adhered to the circle of life. Humans arrived and lived off the earth. Males hunted animals for protein and fat and females gathered fruits, berries, and vegetables for carbohydrates. Historians believe the hunter-gatherer spent around 20 hours per week “working.” I image they spent the rest of their time painting, story-telling, crafting weapons, making clothes, inventing cooking utensils, making love, eating, sleeping, and laughing. We understood the concept of enough.
I had a very clear vision for Simply Enough. I would write about the process of upgrading my lifestyle to live simply enough—with the goal of everyone on this planet having enough. My hope was that others would join me on this quest. (Maybe it was also a way for me to escape the reality that I worked a demanding executive job for a company with the motto “Sell Easier, Sell More.”)
A Patch of Darkness
Then in 2010, I got really depressed about the fact that I spent so much time at a job that so blatantly clashed with my new-found values. It rubbed off on the rest of the family, and that year (and the first half of 2011), ended up being the worst year of our lives. I even took some time off at the end of 2010 to try to sort it all out. (And in the summer of 2011, I actually left my corporate career.)
During this difficult time, I got very interested in holistic health and alternative approaches to “health” care—including mental health. I had an epiphany that we should have coaches who help people be well—in a preventative sense. We could call them “wellness coaches.” Turns out this was already a thing, and after much research and discernment I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) health coaching program in the fall of 2012. I was following my passion!
A Passion for Wellness
I learned a lot about health, nutrition, and coaching, and I really loved the program. Around the same time, I started writing a lot more about health and wellness here on Simply Enough—I even created a “Health” category. (And when you think about it, simple living and wellness actually go hand in hand.)
Of course, life has a way of taking interesting twists and turns, and before I even graduated from IIN, I had accepted a job to manage the web content strategy at Luther College, where my husband is on the faculty. I had also started work on a book about our family’s experience with the mental “health” system and planned to write about alternative approaches to medication for treating kids and teens.
Coming Full Circle
I decided to put health coaching on the back burner and focus on working, writing, and promoting wellness in our small community. As I did the research for my book and learned that mental health can be strengthened in a variety of ways (nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, interpersonal skills, empathy, gratitude, compassion—to name a few), I realized that I had to add another section to my book. A section about how we prevent mental distress in the first place (because it’s possible)—or even better, how to optimize mental health. In the summer of 2013, I shared what this might look like with the post, “A Society Designed for Optimal Wellness (Or Utopia).”
Almost an entire school year has passed since then, and I feel like I’ve come full circle. My research has reminded me about the reasons why I started this blog in the first place—that we need a significant societal move away from stress, competition, and consumerism to presence, cooperation, and contentment. If we don’t enact major cultural, political, and economic change, our kids will not get better. And I realize I need to get back to the original message of Simply Enough: “living simply enough for a poverty-free and healthy world”
A (New) Focus
So this past weekend, I sent a note to my trusted email followers (I’d love for you to join) with a vision and mission for this blog (better late than never, right?). And since I only got positive feedback, I’d like to share this with you now:
Vision: A world where all people have enough, while preserving the earth for future generations.
Mission: Encourage and empower everyday people to live simply enough and take an active part in healing our world.
It’s pretty simple really. We need to figure out how to consume only what we need and what that means in the 21st century. We all have different lifestyle changes we can make. I can bike to work, but it may not be possible for you. You might be able to move to a smaller place, but that’s not super feasible for me right now. And that’s where it needs to start—with each of us as individuals.
But it can’t stop there. We also need to participate in the movements and organizations that enact positive, social change. We need to stand up for what’s right and complain when we witness injustice. There is room for everybody to be an activist. This piece I’m still figuring out for myself, so let’s learn and activate together.
Here’s to living simply enough!