I’ve been simplifying my life since 2006. I didn’t know that’s what was happening in the beginning. At first, I was only focused on eliminating as much stress as I could so I could feel better, so I could live well with multiple sclerosis.
Even when I finally saw the simplicity path I was on, I knew the finish line wasn’t a simple life.
With all of the focus around minimalism, simplicity, decluttering, and capsule wardrobes, it’s easy to believe that a simple life is the dream, but a simple life is not the end goal.
We don’t remove clutter, reduce stress, and boycott busyness to have a simple life. We do it to have a life. Not a beautifully organized life, or a completely calm life. Not a perfect life or one where we know all the answers but a life that we have room for, a life we can notice, a life we can enjoy and a life we create.
We simplify to have a life of …
These bullet points mean something different for everyone, but when we are constantly defeated by not being simple enough, or decluttered enough, we lose sight of what are really after.
Instead of wondering how to live a simple life, consider what you’d like more time and space for in the life you have.
The next time you are done paying off a credit card, or cleaning out your closet, or completing whatever simplicity step you are on, stop.
Before simplifying further, think about what you really want out of this life of yours. Is this the time to simplify more, or is this the time to deepen a connection with someone you love? Is this the time to move on to your bookshelves, or is this the time to create something new, or serve in your community?
Perhaps it is simply time to rest.
Simplifying with the goal of becoming as simple as possible will prove to be as empty as dieting to be as skinny as possible. It’s not satisfying and it never lasts.
As you create more time, energy, space, and attention in your life, use simplicity to make a life you are excited to wake up to. Use it to better engage in relationships. Use it to create freedom so you can live where you want, work where you want, and most importantly, so you can get back to being you.
Today, I do feel better. I am living well with MS. I don’t have a simple life but I laugh a lot more. I enjoy the work I do and I have the presence to be in my life instead of racing around trying to keep up with it.
When decluttering is frustrating, or you regret spending too much, or you aren’t sure where this whole simplicity journey is headed, remind yourself that you aren’t creating a simple life, you are creating a life.