Day 22: Ally

When I started this blog, one of the first bits of feedback I received was: What a great idea–but what are you going to do with your family for a whole year?

Too true–living “simply” gets a lot harder when you’re sharing a household with a spouse and three kids. I mean: it’s not as if I can up and leave to go and grow beans by a lake somewhere for a couple of years.

The only solution? I’m going to need some allies.

Some of my family will be easier to win over than others. My oldest son’s favorite movie and book last year was Into the Wild, so getting him to think about living simply and directly shouldn’t be too hard. Now my youngest–the 8yr old fashionista— that’s going to be more of a challenge.

So: how to win them over? Sure, by example, but last night, while I was still thinking about queries, I thought it might be a good idea to pose a question to my family as well as myself and use that as a tool for the day:

If you could do one thing to make your life simpler today, what would it be? What would you change?

I told them last night I would ask them this question in the morning. My oldest boy had his answer ready by the time breakfast was on the table: stop rushing to get things done at the last minute. Not a bad one. My wife had hers as well: get rid of the old clothes. That one’s coming, for sure! My middle and youngest passed for the morning, but later this evening I got: put away things in my room after I take them out from my youngest, and from my middle one: worry less about other people’s problems and focus on my own. Not bad advice on healthy detachment, coming from an 11yr old!

I think what was most surprising about today is that this evening, when I asked my two youngest if they had thought of something, they both said “yes” without hesitating. Apparently the question had been in their minds, at least somewhat, throughout the day.

It’s good to know I have some allies in the house. Goodness knows: simple isn’t always easy–and I can use all the support I can get.

And me? I guess if I had to answer that question right now, the one thing I would do to make my life simpler would be: let go.

Today has seemed just a little bit more difficult than usual. Maybe it’s all the complications at work right now. Maybe it’s a conversation I keep replaying/revising in my head. Or maybe it’s because I’m tired and still getting over my cold….

Whatever it is, I seem to be grasping pretty tightly to all sorts of phantoms, none of which really need to be occupying my thoughts and emotions right now.

And there’s really not much left of this day–less than an hour. Perhaps there’s just enough time today, right now, to let go, relax, and breathe.

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5 Responses to Day 22: Ally

  1. tarynmccall says:

    I appreciate your reflection. After I cleaned out my clothes, my husband was inspired to do the same. And to clean out the pantry! It seems these things catch on. I am thankful that we are starting down this path while my son is still an infant. Hopefully living simply will be the norm for him. Other bloggers stories have served as great encouragement and motivation to me. Keep ’em comin’ 🙂

    • Mark says:

      Thanks, Taryn–I appreciate my blogger allies as well!

      While I’m thinking of it: I never went back to your haircut entry to note this, but I think it’s great that every time you look in the mirror, you now have a visible reminder of a conscious decision you have made to live more simply.

  2. Pingback: Day 23: Sell | 365 Simplify

  3. I find getting the family on board helps a lot. And I am surprised it has been not too difficult. Not easy, but not too bad either. Considering we’re two months into this journey, I must say I have high hopes. Kids understand more than I think we give them credit for.

    • Mark says:

      It’s true–I think my kids “get it.” And why wouldn’t they, right? After all, we socialize our children (consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly) to become consumers of excess…I would think it would be easier for them to move toward a simplified life that it would be for those of us in our middle years.

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