I started to title today’s post reflect, but then I remembered I’ve done that one already….
It’s probably about time once again for another overview of where I’ve been on this blog so far–we have just past the 1/3 mark, after all. But to be honest, today was a back-and-forth travel day to visit with my father-in-law, so I really haven’t had the time to do that type of large-scale assessment. No, the sort of “considering” I did today occupied the hour drive back home, with everyone else in the car asleep. Instead of letting my head go through the 108 things that usually take up my thoughts, I tried to reflect as best as I could on what “living simply” means to me at this point, and where this journey might be taking me.
I guess the seed for this reflection came earlier in the day, as my wife and I began discussing the difference between “living simply” and “privation.” For me, this call to simplify our lives starts with the recognition that we are already surrounded with an abundance, and the last thing we need is more of something. But it’s also a recognition that the more I have of something, the more complicated life gets.
To take a simple example–bath towels. On the drive home, one thought led to the next, and I found myself thinking about what tomorrow’s project might be. The upstairs bathroom closet seems like the next “lost cause” space to tackle. As I was going through a mental tally of what I knew was jammed in that one closet, I thought about all those bath towels. Yes, we are a family of five, and yes, we can go through a number of bath towels in any given week. But the more bath towels we own, the more likely I am to let those dirty ones pile up in the hamper. I mean: if I still have a dozen or so clean towels, why do laundry, right?
OK, that might seem like college dorm logic to you, but you get the picture.
So rather than thinking about simplicity as “doing without,” it seems to me that it is more about “making do” with what you need, and casting off the remainder.
The other part of this yearlong experiment is, of course, living deliberately. Sure, much of the de-cluttering and reducing has been about things, but what I am really after, I think, is a shift in perspective. For me, that shift isn’t really about becoming less materialistic; it’s about becoming more aware of what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it.
So tonight, on that drive home, I thought about how far I’ve come, and how much further I need to go. Fortunately, even though this blog is designed as a “yearlong experiment,” I know full well that I will be on this road for a while, always “down the path” a bit, but always with plenty of trail ahead of me to go.