Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Words of a simpleton

Hello. Glad you liked the shopping video, it brought some interesting responses. Thank you for your comments, I really enjoyed reading them.. I see that Richard over on Down The Lane has asked the question on the forum, 'What do you call a simple, or simpler life?' I have given my definitions and it's started me thinking, what exactly does a simple life mean. I'll expand on it here.

I take it to mean a life with very few complications, and not looking for them. Going with the flow, instead of the opposite and upsetting the applecart. A simple life is one with less choices. I have a rather simplistic view. I tend to see things in black and white, an either or situation. Two choices you either do or don't, you say yes or no, you like something, or you don't. I don't see many grey areas.

There are too many choices in supermarkets, that's why I only walk around say 20% of it, I don't need to know about the other 80%, there is nothing there that I want to buy. I am just the same in other shops, I only go to the departments where I know I will want to buy something.

No complications for me means living alone, it makes for a very simple life. I don't have to fit in with anyone and no one has to fit in with me. The only complications I have accepted are my pets, they need someone to look after them and I gave them a home. That was my choice, I could have said no.

I don't need to get a job, or earn money on the side. I simply don't need any more money. If I did have more  then that would bring complications and create stress. How many times do you read about people who have lost money through poor investments, or who have been conned out of their life savings? That won't happen to me. I believe the less money you have, the less you have to worry about. A bit of a cockeyed view I know.

Work means timetables have to be kept to, being at a certain place at a certain time every day, I know I have done it. Clocking in clocking out, get on with the job, do as you're told, there is nothing simple about that. I don't see how anyone can claim to have a simple life if they go to work. You only find out what a simple life is, when you retire, and can simply lie in bed all day if you want to.

The more money  you earn the more you spend, the more you spend the more you need to earn to pay for the lifestyle you have become accustomed to. That's not simple. Not spending money means not having to earn it, that's simple.

As you know, my cooking is very simple. I don't spend ages in the kitchen preparing a work of art, faffing around with pots and pans and utensils. Most of my meals are made in one saucepan, occasionally I use the grill, and sometimes the microwave. The simplest meals are food that require no cooking at all.

Getting rid of stuff you no longer need is a great way to simplify your life. If you have too much clutter you become bogged down, you worry that you can't find anything among the chaos, and you worry when you lose something. If you move it on out of your life you have a nice big space.

I find that eliminating complications frees up space to think about what matters. And to be perfectly honest, I can't think of anything to worry about.

I've told you how my life is simple, now tell me what you have done to simplify your life. How have you eliminated your complications? What have you dumped because you no longer need it? What changes have you made to how you organize your day? Is your life much simpler now than it was say five years ago, or is it more complicated? I'm nosy, ha ha.

Thanks for popping in. Goodnight and toodle pip.

31 comments:

  1. I like your philosophy of "simple". My husband and I have a simpler life than we did 5 years ago now that we are retired, and we love being retired. I am very busy but mostly with things I chose to do, which is a great blessing. One thing we do is we read books and give them away, especially to Little Free Libraries. We want fewer possessions not more.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think the main way that you can simplify your life is to choose to stay single. Then you have no opposition at all. You don't have to blend in with anyone else's plans. You don't have buy food to suit another person, therefore you spend or save whatever you choose.You say you are mean but I don't think you are. You have a nice car. That's because you know it makes sense to have a good road worthy vehicle and you save accordingly for it. You choose not to buy meat. As you said that will save money. It will but its more about you choosing not to eat animals more than just to save money. Your advice is common sense isn't it ? I think you are a very logical person.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like thinking about a simple life, and right now mine is simpler than it was for many years when I was a caregiver for a totally disabled husband, as well as teaching art and exhibiting my work. Now that I am widowed I can teach at will, exhibit a lot, make art on my own schedule, it's wonderful. I miss him more than I can say, but he would be glad to see how well I'm doing.

    Part of simple for me is getting food from the local farm, and cooking everything from scratch. I rarely to to the hurly burly of a supermarket to buy food, just a few items I know I need and I know where they are to be found, and when's the quietest time to be there. I love to prepare my own food and make some very good stuff! but part of that simplicity is to share my food with friends and neighbors now and then, too, and to invite my son over for dinner regularly. And I don't eat meat at all, partly because I don't like the notion of raising animals in order to kill them, partly because it's an unnecessary expense to someone living on a very modest income like me.

    I think simple is about giving yourself the maximum choices that don't come with a lot of built in stress. I'm in leadership positions now and then, and since I get so much out of my connections in art and textiles, I don't mind putting in that work. It's a nice balance.

    I must say that life as a single person -- over the years I've lived alone more than with a partner --is so much easier than coping with another person, however beloved! as long as you have the gumption to design days that please you, do activities that interest you, and don't fall into other people's ideas of what you should be doing, life is as simple and contented as it can be. I do have animals, always have rescued animals with me, and they give back more than they take from me.

    My older sister, the only sib I have remaining, has been retired for many years, and she once told me that each morning she wakes up, decides what she'd like to do and does it! perfect formula. She never married, so has no experience of fitting around another person. Very self sufficient.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Boud, your comments always give me the impression that you have your life exactly the way you want it. You are always very positive, someone to aspire to. Thank you for being you.

      Delete
  4. From Margie in Toronto - I've started simplifying my life but still have a ways to go - especially since I am still working. Completely agree that retiring and not having to conform to a set daily schedule makes a big difference.
    What I have done is move to a smaller apt. and I have given away and donated and thrown out a lot of stuff - still got a bit more to do but I'm very pleased with what I've accomplished so far. I don't see family as much as I used to - still love them just don't often like the way they treat me.
    I've learned to say NO and I've become a bit more selfish about my time - I need down time and I've learned to acknowledge that. Thank you for being so honest about how you live your life.

    ReplyDelete
  5. 'Not spending money means not having to earn it' - definitely agree with this one, and it ultimately sums up why it's worth doing all the little things that save money.

    By the way did any of you watch that documentary the other night on Channel 5 (UK)? It featured a lady living on her own in a home made mudhut in Pembrokeshire after she bought some land and basically lives 'off grid'. Interesting viewing and although I personally couldn't live like that I respect her for wanting to live a very simple life and getting away from all the trappings of modern life. Here's a link..

    http://www.channel5.com/shows/ben-fogle-new-lives-in-the-uk/episodes/episode-2-823

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the link, Steve, someone else told me about that programme, I must watch it.

      Delete
  6. I have decided to see less of my elderly parents and sister. There has been lots of stress, with an adult sister wanting to live with a parent, with her kids, for free rent in an expensive area. One parent and my sister arranged Power of Attorney, and excluded my other sibling and myself. It's all so stressful, and I decided to avoid them. When people treat you badly, that can wreck simple happiness in life, and it's good to avoid stressful people. I guess they will do well financially, with all the manipulation and drama, from the ageing relative, but I have stepped aside. There are some people you can't compete with, who will win power and money at any cost. Simple and poor is better.
    P.S. Good video!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree with you on the family front. My sister has made some very scathing remarks to me in the past, she over complicates everything. It works best that I limit my visits, I don't want to get involved with family politics.

      Delete
  7. I have found that with the de-cluttering of the physical things in my life, there has come a natural mental, emotional and spiritual de-cluttering to go with it. For instance, as one local paper put it. "You don't have to attend every argument that you are invited to." I recently told a younger friend (when he asked what the fifties are like), after 50, things just "fall off". I meant that you stop worrying about what others think so much. You do start looking for a simpler, more meaningful ways to live. I don't have time or energy to hold a serious grudge against anyone. I stand firm and without apology in my beliefs, and still reserve the right to change my mind. I can respect a person's right to have a different opinion, even if I disagree strongly; I am working on not fretting about things so much. The latest newest fashionable possession doesn't hold the allure as it might have at one time. I value comfort and practicality over all else in my possessions. Most upgraded items aren't worth the extra cost for bells and whistles. I have lived long enough to recognize patterns in life, so I can rise above the rhetoric. The very best things in life are free, or at least they can't be bought with money. No one has ever been heard to declare "I wish I had spent more time at work and made more money." with their last breath, on their death beds. I often ask myself , "Will this matter in a year, ten years, a lifetime from now?" If not, don't get so worked up about it. Mary Jane in Canada.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mary Jane, you have hit the nail on the head there with saying de-cluttering physical things leads to a spiritual de-cluttering. I totally agree with this. If you have too much stuff it begins to own you, rather than you own it. Clearing space enables you to breath.

      Delete
  8. Interesting post. I live by myself. I am a vegetarian. I don't have a car and readers may remember that I don't have a washing or drying machine. I rarely vacuum - I use a small dustpan and brush - all great for your health. Readers may remember too that I have very little in the choice of clothing - storing it and keeping it folded neatly if you have too much takes up too much time, I enjoy needlework and have modest supplies. I have a notepad and a tin of pencils for sketching. I have a little camera. I go to the library and get books out. These things suit me. One interesting thing - two days ago, a little Romany caravan pitched up at the end of the garden complete with 3 horses, ducks and chickens and a little black cooking pot on a trestle. Natalie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nat. Thank you for popping in, you have been commenting for a long time now. I think you have a very simple life, and enjoyable by the sounds of it.

      Delete
  9. Hello Ilona, I have been reading your lovely blog for a long time, and today is the very first time I comment.
    I have slowly got rid of the surplus in my house, which has taken me four years to do. We, husband and I, are living a simpler and less stressful life. Now, I have more time to concentrate on myself, I'm trying to "declutter" an illness. I like the way you live, a little extreme for me but, it is an individual choice and everyone is free to live a life that suits them best. You are a happy person, so this is working perfectly for you. Have a lovely day. Greetings Maria.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Greetings Maria, it's good to have you aboard and thank you for your comment. Illness is a bugger, can you break it down into chunks, and tackle a bit at a time? I'm sure you have been in touch with a medical person over this, work with them and see what's to be done. Best wishes.

      Delete
  10. My life is quite complicated through no choice of my own but just how things have turned out for me. I don't do black and white thinking because I find that frustrating in other people - there is a stubbornness to that which can stop us from moving forward. I deal with my complicated life by trying to be broad minded; not needing to be right all the time and trying hard not to judge other nor myself. As I get older I see the benefits of living in the now, obviously aside my personal and financial responsibilities. I don't worry about the future, I live each day the best I can and if things don't go to plan or I haven't complete all the things I wanted to do I don't judge myself and let tomorrow sort it out. There is something to be said for living in the moment and not judging ourselves too harshly. I don't watch the news, I don't get involved in other people's problems other than occasionally offering an ear, I mind my own business, I try and enjoy the simple moments in my own day to day life. I don't compare myself to others. If I do start to get overwhelmed by things I make a list and knock them off one by one and never give myself a hard time. Debbie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hiya Debbie, an interesting comment as usual, it's good to read your take on this subject.

      Delete
  11. Thanks for the link to the Channel 5 programme. I watched Ben Fogle trying to live the life with Emma. I enjoyed the programme. My word she had to give up a lot. Some would say that she was being selfish but she has lived this way for 15yrs so obviously believes in her way being the best for her. She seemed a very calm, likeable person. Very strong (stubborn) according to her daughter. The only thing thing that made me wonder whether to watch it was at the beginning of they showed you her "phone booth" in another field. So not given up the 21st century altogether, then. Ha ha. ( understandable though)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi.It takes a conscious effort for me to simplify my life and sometimes all is not as serene as I would want it to be but it is a vast improvement over my former life.I used to work a job outside the farm with a long commute,lived and did the "back to the land "lifestyle with growing food,herbs,had chickens",nurturing" the home,outbuildings,heating with wood,being a full time caregiver to a special needs son and part-time to my mother(once took a year off the paying job) wife,mother,sister,friend,rescued a few doggies over that time,volunteered in the community and belonged to several local groups.Back then there never seemed to be enough money to cover the major breakdowns and the unexpected curve balls in life.Years later we now live in a lively,pleasant town with all the amenities,grass cutting and snow removal no longer takes four plus hours,can walk mostly everywhere,have de-cluttered and still trying to reduce more,eat cook and play simply and inexpensively,live consciously,choose how to spend my days,no mortgage or pesky car payments etc.,recycle and repurpose and reuse,buy sparingly and only make big ticket purchases after much consideration,never buy books or music ...all is free from library,turn down the thermostat,wear long undies in winter,walk daily,listen to beautiful music,nuture my loved ones human and canine,cope as best as possible with a chronic disease that changed my life and just breathe....It was a journey getting here and will continue to be adapting to this new "simpler"life.My biggest adjustment was that I didn't know how to do "easy" and I have given myself permission to learn how to do that and am stilll finding my way,changing,growing and having gratitude for all that life gives.Bye for now,D.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My most recent change was to move out of the "over 55" community. There are 180 homes and a clubhouse, but lots of togetherness. It was very stressful to have people watching where you were or what you were doing all the time. Gossip was incredible. I still have some friends there, but too much togetherness gives me stress. I need my own space.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's interesting Linda, I would never have thought of an over 55 community to be like that. I get it with the space thing, I don't like people making too many demands of me.

      Delete
    2. going into a few of these places, I see the bitchiness that can go on - often there are more women and men - and I hear comments about others in the development that are unpleasant

      Delete
  14. 5 years ago I was in a stressful job that I hated and involved a good 2 hour commute each way. I will admit back then that I was a spender as I had the attitude of 'I've earned it now I'll spend it'. I realise nowadays I should have put the word 'wisely' on the end of that quote. I would continually purchase alcohol, clothes and high end cosmetics that I never wore and always ran out of money well before payday.

    These days since redundancy from that job, I have either worked part time or done less stressed work. Obviously this means that I earn a lot less but this in turn means that I am more careful instead of being trapped like a hamster on a wheel of consumerism. I managed to put money away each month from my last job even though it was minimum wage by staying out of shops, taking my own lunch and making careful decisions when I did purchase something. I also agree with decluttering. As a minimalist the less you own the less you have to worry about.

    I'm still 20 years off retirement but I never want to return to that person I was 5 years ago. My life is simpler and better now.
    Elaine (Oldham).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Elaine for that. You have changed your life around for the better. I'm so pleased that from now on you are in control, you make the decisions which are best for you. Three cheers for you.

      Delete
  15. When my husband left me life got instantly better. When the divorce went through better again, and when my new mortgage went through to buy him out of the house (and change the locks) life improved 100%. It took some convincing him that I really didn't care about his problems/financial woes once the girlfriend left him but that again improved my life and finances. My oldest son moved in with his girlfriend in Switzerland and the youngest has just moved in with his girlfriend (3 weeks ago) and I have to admit it is bliss. For the first time in over 30 years I only have myself to think about. My 94-year-old mom asked if I would remarry and laughed when I said I would rather have all my teeth out without an anaesthetic! I have a "significant other" but we do not live together, nor will we ever. I know you shouldn't say "never" but I just don't see myself giving up this wonderful sense of simplicity and freedom. I have my friends, my own money, my family and my interests, and when I don't feel like seeing any of them, I can lock myself away in my little nest, which is exactly the way I like it. Cheers. Anna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anna, you comment has made me want to cheer from the rooftops. You go girl, enjoy the rest of your life, the way you want to.

      Delete
  16. Living in America and living from a wheelchair, my medical insurances would bug your eyes out, so I do attempt to keep the remaining costs low. Unfortunately, the supermarkets here have no yellow stickers so I have made a price book for those things I commonly purchase and keep track of in three different places. I don't eat out much and seldom buy meat or anything not on the weekly list. I've just now been able to shut off the air conditioning as the temps have now gone down into the seventies during
    the day and evenings are cooler still. I do not own a car and do not have telly nor any TV cable bill. I do have to pay for the bus or taxi, which I use once weekly for the shopping and monthly for the library. My monthly trim runs between $10-14. I go to the dentist quarterly which isn't covered by insurance and use glasses which are also not covered. I have discovered from reading your blog and others that food where you live is a good deal cheaper than it is here and we have no place to grow our own, such as an alotment.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I disagree that having money makes life more complicated. When you have savings you don't worry if your car breaks down or the refrigerator goes kaput or you need a new roof or you have a very cold winter and need to keep warm - or maybe want to keep warm. To me that is simple, not complicated. You can get whatever needs fixing fixed and be done with it, not stress about where and when you will have the cash.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Barbara. Good point. I have enough money to pay for car repairs, buy a new fridge or washing machine, and put the heating on in my house. I have an emergency fund in the bank to cover that. What I don't have is savings anywhere else. Nothing in Isa's long term investment accounts, or money locked away in other places. I just have to keep my eye on the balance in my one bank account.

      Delete
  18. I think it's easier to live a simple life if you live alone unless of course you both share the same view about what a simple life is. For me it is about having less stuff and doing things that don't cost a lot. I do worry about money though and wonder how you cope with limited savings if several things all go wrong at once. Kristel

    ReplyDelete



Comment moderation is switched off at the moment. Thank you for visiting my blog.