Post by Contributing Writer, Lydia
She eyes me as I diaper my son in the Parent Room at church one Sunday morning. “It’s really not a big deal” I tell her, depositing the soiled diaper in my wetbag and stashing it in the diaper bag. “Just an extra two loads of laundry a week.” She nods, but still looks dubious. I know why.
Living the simple life really isn’t about making things “easy” at all. It is about choosing to focus on the complexities of things that matter to you, and making space in your life for those things.
It is certainly easier to throw away a diaper than washing it. It saves time to buy produce instead of coaxing it from seed. I can run into a store and buy a dress for my daughter faster than I can sew one (and usually for less money as well!). Hand-knit sweaters take hours – a store bought one is certainly easier to come by.
Ease and economy certainly have their place. It is why the “Dollar Menu” is infinitely more popular at the moment than a home-cooked from scratch meal. Living the fast-paced life leaves little time for letting bread rise. Our modern lives are lived in a constant rush that doesn’t allow for hours spent at the sewing machine.
This is why slowing down and living simply go hand in hand – you simply cannot have it all. To live a life focused on the complexities of the small, you must slow down and simplify other areas of your life – deciding what is truly important to you and prioritizing it.
In our family, this is constantly in flux. What is important and beneficial for us as a family changes on a yearly basis and requires thought and intention. What works today may not work tomorrow. What works for some families may not work for yours.
Here are some Basic Tips for Simplifying:
1) Make a list of the family activities. Truly give thought to the pros and cons to each one – does it take you away from your home? Do you find yourself compromising other important areas just to make it work? Is it worth it?
2) On a list of 1 to 10, list the things you wish you had more time for – the things you would like to incorporate into your life. Could some of these things perhaps take the place of some of the activities on list 1? Contemplate the schedule of yourself and your children. Are they getting enough play time? Are you getting enough time together as a family? Do you have time to yourself to pursue your own interests and hobbies? Reflect on how important these things are to you and intentionally make space for them.
3) Look around your home. Are there possessions here that require more upkeep than they are worth? Is life easier or more complicated because of them?
Living Simply is the act of eschewing the unnecessary to focus on what truly matters to you and your family. A life lived with this sort of intention can bring about much satisfaction and contentment when you are truly giving thought about what matters to you – and making space for it.
Lydia is Mama to 4 (soon to be 5!) little ones, wife to a wonderful husband, knitter, writer, grace-seeker and beauty chaser. You can catch up with Lydia daily at Small Town Simplicity.