Somehow turning the decade to 2020 gives me the feeling that a lot of time has passed… suddenly. Everything feels like a long time ago. This is compounded by the fact that I recently turned 50. As someone who tends to be very commonsense and logical, and who also spends a lot of time doing math, I don’t have any particular feelings about the number 50, but it has made me think more deeply about many things, including years past and years remaining.
While my family followed what was to teenager me an excruciatingly simple lifestyle, it wasn’t until I was out of university and on my own for a few years, working in a very fast-paced industry, that I began to explore simplicity on my own. I’ve honed various aspects of frugality and simplicity for the past 25 years or so.
In every simple living community or book I’ve observed or read, I’ve seen discussions of “how is simple living different from frugality” or “how is simple living different from minimalism?” The conversation always meanders through various ideas and opinions before someone reminds everyone that simple living is about choices – making choices to have choices.
This week, some of the choices I’ve made to make life simpler are
- I’ve been more deliberate about practicing the 1980s style of smartphone use proposed by Cal Newport in Digital Minimalism, which is to turn on the ringer and leave it near the front door. That is to say, I’m treating it as a phone instead of an appendage.
- I dug in and began the unpleasant pre-work that I’ve been avoiding for months for our 2019 taxes. It took about 3 hours and now I don’t have to dread it anymore. “Just begin” nearly always gets me through things like that.
- I cooked ahead last weekend for scheduled long work days. It made those evenings much more relaxed.
- I skipped Mari’s band concert after a long day at work. It was the first performance I’ve missed in 8 years of band and orchestra. This particular concert is held annually in the high school gym, which has dreadful acoustics, and parents sit on the (extremely uncomfortable) bleachers. The ratio of time that Mari played to time I would have spent to be there was about 1:8.
- I contemplated making a baby blanket for an acquaintance’s baby shower, and then bought some favorite board books to share instead. The yarn or fabric would have cost the same as the books, and not everyone values handmade items. I’ve made many crocheted baby blankets and patchwork baby quilts over the years, and generally enjoy turning out a pretty present, but this month I decided that I had other time priorities.
What made your life simpler this week?