Simplify Your Life

I know the exact moment my life changed forever, (besides the obvious ones like deciding to marry, have children, or quit my teaching job). It was ten years ago, August 3rd, when my niece Allison was just born. I flew out to Michigan to help Lisa and Wayne with their brand new baby girl. When I went to bed in their guest room, I found a little book on the bedside table called Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James. I intended to cruise a few pages before I fell asleep. But, there it was, the answers to all the crazy pressure society heaps on us, set out in 100 concise little essays. I turned page after page, soaking it all in. It was truly one of those epiphany moments.

Since then, I’ve tried to live up to the tenets of living a simple life. I do not need, nor want, the things that our culture and their marketers cram down our throats, things like perfume for $120 an ounce. Why? What does it do that is worth that? How about $500 for a bottle of wine? Does it taste that much better? Sorry, I digress.

We sold our big house to move to a little normal suburban home. I drive my 10 year old car. I shop for clothes twice a year; every fall I buy two pairs of jeans, a few tops, a sweater, every spring I buy two pairs of shorts and a few tops, new sandals if I need them. I rarely go near stores. I don’t tivo and I don’t own an ipod. Don’t get the wrong idea, we have a plasma tv and I am infatuated with my new laptop. We spend money on travel because we feel it’s important to see the world. We aren’t in debt and we pay off the credit card every month. My point is that we make conscientious decisions, based on what we need or will give us ongoing pleasure, instead of buying the newest, bestest, wowiest thing being promoted.

Are you one of those people who need a little reassurance about letting go? Can you think of someone who seems frazzled, who needs a boost? As a gift to yourself or someone you care about, buy Simplify Your Life or one of her other books, Inner Simplicity or Living the Simple Life. They’ve been around for awhile, so I’m sure you could find them in your local used book store.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The simple life is certainly what we all need more in our lives. Unfortunately; it is hard to let go of all we have worked for all of our lives. While many of us could give up so much of the luxeries we have in life, there are so many who would gladly take some of them. Life can be very puzzling at times. I guess no matter how long I live, I will never figure it out. What I do know, is that I feel fortunate to be one of those, who can choose what I need to keep in my life and what I can let go of. You have given us food for thought Cathy.
Love Jan