Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of Simply Enough. This is blog post #96. That means, I’ve written on average 1.85 blog posts per week. I’ve read that to keep an audience, you should write at least one post per week, so it looks like I’m good on that front.
In the coming year, I plan to maintain that rate. One to two blog posts per week. No more. You know why? I want to make sure I’m not speaking much and doing little. Life is about doing. Yes, writing is doing. But so are a lot of other things. There is lots of life to be lived and when one is a blogger, it is easy to get sucked into spending way too much time in front of the computer and way too little time living.
Speaking Much and Doing Little
Last Sunday, parts of the “Prayer of the Day” printed in the bulletin really caught my attention:
Forgive us for bold words backed by timid ways.
Forgive us for words offered as excuses for hurtful actions.
Forgive us for speaking much and doing little.
Help us not be a step behind in these things. Give us the good sense to match words to deeds…
It certainly caused me to immerse myself in self-examination. I write and talk a lot about simple living. However, do I really do simple living? And what does it mean to do simple living?
Simple Living is Both Doing and Not Doing
I came to the conclusion that simple living is both about what you do and what you don’t do. But not in a legalistic or self-righteous way. Simple living means different things to different people, so there’s no definitive set of “dos and don’ts.” This is because there are different reasons for choosing a simple life. One person may want financial independence while another enjoys having a minimalistic lifestyle. For me, it’s a combination a desire to have the freedom to work for a better world, taking less so others can have enough, and being kind to the environment.
My Simple Living Dos
- Spend more time with friends (solid relationships are worth more than any amount of money in the bank)
- Read quality books (I realized this week that I need a good fiction book to read at bedtime, so I went to the library and checked out The Time Traveler’s Wife – highly recommended)
- Sing, play the piano, and listen to music (I can’t imagine life without music)
- Run (there is no better anti-anxiety treatment)
- Family meals and togetherness
- Go outside (not that tempting when it’s 10 degrees outside… Must. Embrace. Winter.)
- Walk (to the dentist, to the store, to the post office, to the library…)
- Be silly!
- Buy and eat local, organic food (to an extent… I still buy bananas, oranges, and other foods not grown in the area)
- Find ways to make the world a better place
- Be mindful (still hard at work on this one! Yoga is helping.)
- Be thankful (I have so much more than enough…)
- Give back (see some options on the Share page)
My Simple Living Don’ts
- Don’t buy things I don’t need (one of the best decisions ever…)
- Don’t watch much TV (I get my weekly dose from Glee – although it’s gone downhill this season)
- Don’t pay for cable
- Don’t support unethical companies (this is a tough one… sometimes I don’t have time to do the research)
- Don’t be mean
Living the (Imperfect) Simple Life
I don’t live a “perfect” simple life. Most of us aren’t in a position to. It’s important to let go of trying to reach some kind of “Simple Living Perfection.” Rather, enjoy the fact that you’ve made positive changes in your life that (hopefully) are making the world a better place.
In Simply Enough, Year 2, I hope to continue to share my imperfections and struggles. I don’t want this to be another “feel good” blog that’s all smoke and mirrors or that makes readers feel inadequate. I’m going to struggle with seemingly banal decisions such as whether it’s unethical to spend $100 on dinner for three people. I will challenge myself (in public) to give more and take less. Sometimes, I may make people feel uncomfortable by questioning why we shouldn’t feel a bit guilty for taking more than our share.
But most importantly, I’m going to do more and speak less. And when I do speak, it will be honest, real, and pragmatic (and hopefully worthy of your time!).