Why would anyone choose to live a simpler life?
When we think of a simple life, our minds might drift to circumstances of deprivation, limited resources or a poorer quality of life but that’s not the kind of simplicity I’m arguing for, I’m arguing for a simpler approach to life.
“I strongly believe there is a causal link between living a simpler life and greater wellbeing.”Tom Finch
It’s not hard to imagine the benefits of a simpler life, for we have all experienced them at an earlier stage of our lives.
I invite you to think back to a time when you were much younger, say 10 years old. We likely got much more and better quality sleep. Our commitments fewer and endless todo lists non-existent. While staring into our wardrobes we didn’t bemoan having nothing to wear, the choice was either made for us or we simply didn’t care. Our attention was more focused, sharper and therefore our experiences richer, time seemed to last longer. And stress? It wasn’t even part of our vocabulary.
I’m not romanticising our childhoods or denying that our responsibilities grow and change as we get older but rather that we can learn from the wisdom of our experience by recapturing what made it so – exercising some (parental) control.
Look at the opposite of our childhood. An adulthood where we can stay up long past our bedtimes, indulging in all various forms gluttony. Bingeing not only on food but media and time. We schedule back to back commitments with no time to pause, think or even transition to the next one. We juggle scoffing a meal whilst watching TV, checking off email and chatting with our partner thinking we’re being intelligent by multitasking but instead were just slicing our experience of life so thin it’s almost tasteless. And finally, when we do make our way to bed, we wonder why we have a nagging feeling of stress.
Of course not everything that happens to us is our down to our own choosing. But I do believe we can exercise some control and planning in specific areas of our lives to alleviate our distress and increase our wellbeing.
This is where intentionally choosing to pare down, live simply and do less can have a practical and tangible benefit on how we feel about our lives and within ourselves physically.