There are things you should know about me: I don’t have an Iphone or an Ipad; I don’t have a car anymore; I don’t have a credit card or a microwave oven either. In fact, I don’t own things most people around me have. Yet I’m fine with it. So fine with it.
My ex-husband once lamented on a former matinee idol here who had died with only his clothes as his remaining possessions. My only response then was “Oh…” But a few days of ruminating on it made me wrap up with the question: What could be so wrong about dying without leaving a wealth of material things behind?
I started simplifying in my early 30s when I chanced upon the bestseller “Living A Simple Life” by Elaine St. James inside a bookstore. Hence, my journey to the wonderful land of simplicity commenced. Most of the books on the said virtue were written by people at least two decades older than me. I feel fortunate I’ve learned the lesson at an earlier stage. I can’t praise the worthiness of leading a simple life enough. Or is it the ascetic soul in me that makes it possible for me to have this kind of appreciation – despite lacking in the latest of worldly goods?
My main full-time job isn’t stressful; I hope to hold only a single job soon. Through the years, I’ve purged my stuff like the world has never seen, and I continue to declutter my living space every now and then. In my country, middle-class families normally hire housemaids or helpers. I don’t. Keeping a stranger in my house for the purpose of having somebody to clean and run errands has always been an uncomfortable set-up for me.
I’ve never been crazy about high-priced jewelry and accessories – so I’ve got none. Unwanted gifts given to me must go (Sorry to say). I don’t mind eating the same food repeatedly – and I ain’t a picky eater. I also choose carefully the people I spend time with now.
The most challenging of all is keeping an eye over my emotions – which I somehow have been able to manage. Thankfully. Nothing is more off-putting than witnessing people already in their forties still earnestly seeking validation from others. I hate complications of the heart…
At times I believe I may be overdoing things in my resolve to simplify my life. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is short. Besides, I’ve always lived by my rules.
Let me share to you a few of my most favorite simplicity tips. They may be extreme, yet highly effective:
1. Don’t organize the clutter, get rid of it. Elimination does its own reorganization; and by George, you gotta be ruthless. Don’t keep anything you don’t love or need. This is especially tough for me because I’m sentimental. Look above and you’ll even see the word sentiment up there as my blog title. But remember: Physical clutter generates emotional clutter. If neatness is your thing, giving and throwing away stuff help you achieve neatness more easily. Order cannot happen when you have too much of anything. In case you start regretting or missing something you’ve already discarded: Don’t despair – you will survive.
2. Cut down on TV. My mother was aghast upon learning I don’t watch TV anymore. “How boring your life must be these days!” Which made me nearly blurt out, “Spending your whole day in front of the boob tube watching stupid telenovelas, like what you do, is what’s really boring, mom.” I was glad I held my tongue.
3. Get rid of impulse purchases. Think before you buy. Be discriminating as to what you welcome into your life. Every little thing that enters your house gets to be your responsibility – which you must either clean or dust. Please don’t spend your precious time cleaning and arranging clutter. Have second thoughts about making a collection of whatever.
4. Do one thing at a time. Multitasking was something I could be good at as a former pencil pusher. Until I was introduced to the richness of soaking pleasure from doing a single task at one time mindfully – with full attention and to the best of one’s ability.
5. We can all live on less. Really. We don’t need to camouflage our lives with so much. We could even enhance our existence if we had less. Some people might think I’m denying myself of the great stuff life offers. The way I see it, I’m actually banishing what doesn’t give me authenticity and genuine joy.
I have started an affair with the lovely concept of things that embody space not too long ago. Anything airy or spacious, anything open; matters that signify freedom appeal to me. Plus the sense of control over my life has become more definite as I aim to give my surroundings and the beauty of nature more than a passing glance.
It’s compelling to recognize as well that living with awareness is not about continuously judging the feelings our essence inevitably catches. It means it is only normal and even healthy to feel sadness at different points of our lives.
Life becomes eminently easier when we lighten up, too. There’s no need to embroil ourselves in unnecessary battles – within ourselves or with others. Because simplicity culminates in tolerance…allowing other people to be just the way they are.
My philosophy may not be ideal to a family with more than three kids. But at least they can try doing their best to prevent overwhelming themselves with unimportant matters. I remember how my mom and sister – who are so much into impressing people (people they don’t even like) with their belongings – have wrinkled their noses on my lifestyle choice. Not many people in my society could acknowledge or comprehend the value of living a simple life. The majority would always want the speediest, the biggest, the trendiest, the poshest of whatever. Yet the thrill of such remains evanescent. Go ahead. Ask the rich ones if that ain’t true.
You might wonder: If I’m not into stuff, then what makes me happy?
Please check out my new page here that speaks of things my spirit has raved about. In-love-with-life
The simpler my life gets, the happier I become. Try decluttering, downsizing, simplifying. It could be what your soul is aching for. Who knows, you might end up really really liking it.