Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Simple Life

Ahhh, to have a "simple" life! I got the neatest homemade birthday card today from my sister. It touched me deeply. It was in the shape of a tea pot, with a tea bag inside with this poem by John Burroughs: To be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter, To be thrilled by the stars at night, To be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring. These are the rewards of a simple life. I really wanted to cry when I read that verse. That is what I believe and have lately been striving to obtain. Right now it is still an elusive dream, but I think I can make strides to have it become a reality.
Don't you sometimes just want to put your life on pause for a while? It seems like the more we do, the more we have to do. I like staying busy, but when "busy" gets in the way of what is really important in life, something needs to change. I have become much more relaxed about some things in the last few years. My house, for instance. . . I have lowered my standards of cleaning since the grand kids spend so much time here. They have a play area in the house, and it really does not bother me to have it messy in there. That is quite a lot different than when my kids were younger.
I have simplified my meal preparation, which seems to suit both my husband and me. Our meals are very basic, often leftovers or "make aheads" done on the weekends. I still love to cook, but I make it a labor of love when I do it. . . a "fun" event, not a "have to" activity.
And then there is the clutter matter. My kids used to make fun of my basic rule: if you buy something new, then something you have needs to go. If I bought 3 new shirts, then 3 older ones would have to be discarded (or given away). That keeps a balance in life and the closet. To me the simple life means not being loaded down with a lot of "stuff" that you don't really need or use. I have almost become utilitarian in my decorating, my wardrobe and my gadgets. I have often thought of what I would replace if I lost everything I owned. The list of must haves would be fairly short. There are a few things that I value that could not be replaced. Those would be the items that I would miss the most: a quilt from my husband's grandmother, a Victrola and antique phone from my grandmother, photos, scrapbooks (with artwork from my children) and some personal items that I received as gifts.
And what, you may ask, does all of this have to do with the "simple life" mentioned in the poem? Well, I believe that as long as we are weighed down by our stuff and the general clutter in our life, then the simple life is difficult for us to obtain. The greatest gift we have is our world, and how many of us are so busy chasing the dollar to buy the stuff that we don't need that we forget to enjoy that world?
The moon, the stars, the trees. . . now that is stuff worth keeping!!

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