Editor’s Note: This is a post in the series, Simplicity in Action. If you’d like to submit your story of how simplicity has worked in your life, please read more here. You can write about anything from decluttering a junk drawer to simplifying your diet. Let your small and big changes inspire others.
I used to have an official ‘bucket list.’ I used to pack every weekend with adventurous trips and events. I used to believe a day with no plans was a complete waste. An active, global lifestyle was one I’d dreamed of — weekend road trips; last-minute flights cross-country; piling my plans sky-high with new restaurants, hobbies and people.
A lot has changed within the past year. I’m happy to say on this overcast Saturday I woke up without anything on my to-do list. I stayed in my pajamas until noon and slowly savored a cup of coffee and breakfast (well, more like lunch). I went for a bike ride. I don’t know what I’m going to do next, but it doesn’t really matter. I’m here. I’m present in this moment. And I’m happy.
While I still want to travel and see places, it is no longer a top priority in my ‘free’ time. Instead, a simple lifestyle with the rare dose of crazy adventure keeps me centered, energized and feeling good.
Here’s a challenge for you: Plan nothing this weekend. See where it takes you. I’m not saying to just lie on the floor staring at the ceiling, but if that’s where you’re lead, do it! Just relax for once, by golly. You may sit at the edge of your bed for a few minutes, awkwardly peering around your house like you’ve never seen the place before. Whatever happens, go with it.
Simplicity, to me, means slowing down. It’s being content where you are. It’s choosing the simple route, which may not be the fastest or most luxurious, but it will create synergy throughout your entire life. I think it’s a good, every-day example of how this synergy works: If you stop taking your car so many places (during the weekends in this case), you may choose to bike or walk more. You won’t need to fill up on gas as often. You’ll be more active and may even choose to forgo your gym membership. All of these outcomes save money, improve health and boost happiness.
Can’t you see? It all works in harmony, seamlessly. Problem is, the simple choices are so simple we typically just overlook them.
Although I’ve saved money, time and health through my new outlook on life, the greatest reward has been peace of mind. I no longer feel the constant pressure to do certain things to look good in front of my friends and family. It seems fun to brag about an uber-glamorous lifestyle by posting photos and updates on Facebook, but chances are you’ll just feel more empty after all.
So, that’s it. While my journey to simplicity hasn’t been too radical, its effects have revolutionized my life. I still have dreams, hopes and a tentative ‘bucket list,’ but it doesn’t run my world. I’m perfectly happy spending a Sunday afternoon going for a walk and reading book instead of white-water rafting and taking a last-minute trip to a new city. By slowing down and enjoying the simple things, I’ve discovered a new zest for life that isn’t dependent on where I am, who I’m with, or what’s next. It just is.