Tag Archives: simple living

Just Who Are You Keeping Up With Anyhow?

It’s pretty much in our nature to be interested in what other people have. It’s interesting, and sometimes you get some neat ideas. It’s probably a part of why Pinterest has taken off so well – we like seeing what has caught other people’s attention. But really, who are you trying to keep up with when you buy stuff, and why?

I had a talk with my daughter about this recently. She was bemoaning the fact that she doesn’t have her own cell phone, iPod, etc., yet she says all her friends at school do. She’s in fourth grade, so I can well believe that these days most her friends have such things.

We had a little talk about why she doesn’t. In large part, it’s financial. I see no need to strain our budget just to have the cool gadgets. It’s under enough strain as is. But it’s also because we don’t need them, and she doesn’t need them.

She does have an MP3 player. It’s a few years old, doesn’t play games or look cool in any way. But if she wants music, it’s there for her just as soon as she recharges the batteries, and my husband has a huge library of music to go through. She’s not exactly deprived of the chance to carry her music with her if she’d like. It even plugs into her clock, which is nice since we get lousy radio reception here. It just isn’t the “right” brand.

Lots of us have the same problem even as adults. You see what someone else has, and you want it too. You end up buying stuff you don’t need and sometimes isn’t even the best choice for your own needs. That’s great for marketers, but not so great for the environment and possibly not that good for you either, especially when it means you end up spending more money than you should have.

Sure, there are times when you learn about products you really do need, are great for the environment (at least relatively speaking), etc. through friends and family. Sometimes it’s worthwhile. It’s just that more often it isn’t.

Rather than keep up with others, keep up with yourself. Really think about what it is you need. Consider which products suit your budget and sense of environmental responsibility. You’ll probably be happier with your purchases in the long run that way. You may even find that simplifying works better than buying more in some areas of your life.

Are “Things” Getting in the Way of the Lifestyle You Really Want?

It’s easy to want a lot of things these days, easy to have a lot of things too. The things many people consider to be normal parts of a normal life now weren’t a part of life not so very long ago. Yet these things can all but take control of your life, leaving you feeling as though you don’t have time for the things that really matter to you.

That’s why simplifying your life is such a good idea. It gives you more time for the things that really matter to you.

What Do You Enjoy?

The first thing you need to do is figure out what it is that you do enjoy in life. That’s going to be different for each of us. It might be more time with family, more time to read, more time to do things outdoors, even more time for work you really love. It’s a matter of personal priorities.

You want to focus here on the things you enjoy doing that you really could do if you just had more time, not just the things you dream about. Dreams are wonderful, but the focus here is on things you could be doing in a short period of time. That’s not always possible with dreams.

What’s in Your Way?

So, what’s stopping you from doing the things you enjoy? What changes can you make in your lifestyle so that you can enjoy your life more?

Some things, of course, you won’t want to give up. Some things you shouldn’t give up. But possessions that distract you from the things you’d really love to do are perfect. Get rid of those things that are keeping you from the lifestyle you want.

This could be electronic gadgets that you enjoy playing with, but take up the time you know you could be spending on simpler pleasures. These may be things you enjoy more when you get around to them, but the ease of electronic entertainment makes you forget about them.

This could be clutter around your home, that makes caring for your home take more time. All that stuff you’ve been meaning to get rid of… get rid of it.

Cutting back on excess things in your life means you don’t have to pay for electricity to run them. You don’t have to keep them clean anymore. You don’t need space to store them. Get them gone and you gain some space at the very least. You might even get some money if it was something worth selling.

Think of the Environment

Another point to consider is the environmental impact of all the things that are so easy to acquire. Are they really worth it? Do yo give much thought to the impact these things have on the environment simply from their creation?

This is a time to remind yourself why you want a simpler life. It’s better for the environment and it’s more meaningful to you. You get something that means something to you when you simplify, whether it’s a chance to hike through amazing natural areas or growing your own garden or enjoying some other hobby.

These are things that matter to you. They’re things you can teach your children as they get older. They’re things you’ll be glad to remember later on, rather than just recalling nights spent in front of the television.

What things are in your way?