In her recent post, Simplicity is Not Easy, sustainable, simplicity blogger Lynn Fang wrote, “All new lifestyle changes eventually become like second nature, at which point you might think it’s ‘easy’. But transition periods can be fraught with insecurities and hidden obstacles. For most, moving from model American consumerist party-goer to simple living expert doesn’t happen overnight – a great deal of learning and adapting happens both before taking the dive and after”
Is Lynn right? Is it possible that having a simple life is hard?
I thought I just had to throw all my stuff in a dumpster and then my life would be easy. Then, I remembered that I had a family, and a home and a life. Responsible change takes time.
I would add, that it can be even more difficult to transition to a simpler life if you have certain lifestyle circumstances that get in the way or slow things down.
- long work hours
- a spending spouse
- health issues
- you really like shoes
While your transition may be at a different pace than say a young 20 something with no responsibilities, it is possible and manageable and usually really enjoyable to achieve your goal of living a simpler life. Just like losing weight at 40 can be more challenging, simplicity takes longer when you have more clutter to clear. As you are working harder and taking longer, you might be thinking that getting simple sucks sometimes. You might be right.
My question is this…
So what if it is harder for you than someone else? It is even harder to be fat, tired, and screening calls for collection agencies. I know. I’ve been there. I’m never going back there.
The day you decide enough is enough, is the day you are a little less fat, a little less tired and a little less broke. Fast forward a few months or years and you are fit, fab and wondering why you never get any mail or phone calls. Time is going to pass anyway, so even if it takes longer, and feels more difficult, why not end up in a better place?
Even something as wonderful as having children might slow down your efforts. A reader asked me last week about how to take a day off with a preschooler. If you have young children, it will be more challenging to take a day off, or simplify in other ways. Challenging, but not impossible. Ask Joshua Becker or Leo Babauta.
To get simple you need…
- Simple friends
- An understanding of the benefits
- Slow, deliberate movement towards your goal
- An small emergency fund (yes, even before you pay your debt)
You don’t need
- Radical change
- A backpack
- A blog
- To be an expert
- Lots of money
- To keep up with anyone
Like any change, when living a simpler life becomes more important to you than a bigger house, new car, or fancy watch, the decisions you make and actions you take will all support your desire to live differently.
Don’t forget to…
- Ask for help
- Involve your friends and family
- Engage in relaxing activities
- Hang out with like minded people
- Stop feeling sorry for yourself
- Take action
- Give back
I know what it’s like to face big obstacles. Don’t let your obstacles, no matter how big, become problems or complete road blocks. Keep moving forward, in your own way, at your own speed. With obstacles, you will have to get creative. Instead of walking a straight line, you might have to jump over, walk around or crawl under.
While getting simple may suck sometimes, it is usually pretty great. It might be seem easier to keep buying newer cars because you can afford the monthly payment, charging your groceries, and living paycheck to paycheck, but when you get a glimpse of a simpler life, it becomes worth the effort to change. It might not be easy. It might not be fast, but when it all comes together, it is a beautiful way to live.