Remember how simple and carefree life seemed when you were a kid? Sure, there were moments when things didn’t go right and everyone has their own family stresses, but for the most part life was pretty breezy.
Then when you reach adulthood you are so excited for your freedom. Freedom from what your parents tell you to do and freedom to make your own choices and mistakes.
It isn’t long though, before your freedom gets replaced by responsibilities. Real life settles in and you find yourself pining for those blissful days of your childhood – where you realise real freedom reigned.
It’s something I’ve always felt so recently I’ve made an effort to try and get back to basics, and simply my life.
It sounds easy.
‘Life is only as complicated as you make it.’ they say.
To a point that is true, but really a lot of the time it is just the complications of life itself.
The key to simplifying your life isn’t just saying you’ll keep it simple. They key is choosing which of life’s complications to let go of and which ones to deal with.
I have a little mantra that serves me quite well. It doesn’t work all the time, but it does help me calm in a situation that could well become complicated.
I ask myself…
“Can you do anything about it? Yes? Well do it. No? Well stop worrying about it.”
It takes a lot to let go. I’ve learned that. But I’ve found letting go is the important beginning to simplifying.
Here are three common situations where you can learn to let go and work towards a simple life.
How much do you really need? The more we have, the more clutter that fills our lives, and the more complicated our lives become. We see things as status symbols, things that show how well we are doing, things that we say make us happy. But how much do you really need? What out of all your clutter means the most to you?
For me it is photos. That’s about it. The rest are just things. But the photos that lie in my albums and adorn my walls and shelves mean everything.
The scatter cushions, the vases, the quirky ornaments all make for a nice home, but they also add to the clutter.
Since decluttering over the past few years I have so much more space and air. More visual clarity. My home isn’t sterile or void, but filled with the people who mean the most to me, both in the flesh and in the photos.
Put it into practice: Pick one room at a time and work out what means the most to you in that room. Now choose one thing to get rid of. Use this as a continual method room to room, and back to where you started from, then start all over again. It will be hard at first, but soon you will realise what is important to you and what is simply clutter.
Sometimes you need to let go of people who overly complicate your life.
It’s not about being mean or heartless, there will always be people who need your love and support, sometimes more than others. But the ones who are continually stressing you out, the ones who are toxic and the ones who make you feel less of a person, are the ones you need to let go of.
I don’t need to tell you who they are. You know. They are the ones who sap all your energy, leaving you drained and feeling wasted.
Sometimes you need to step back and say enough already. I can’ t do this anymore.
I’ve let go of people like that and my life is way less complicated.
Put it into practice: This can be a hard one to put into practice, and it’s not something that you can just do ‘cold turkey’. Often you will need to slowly and gradually work these people out of your life. Be less available, learn to say no and stop letting anyone take advantage of you.
Time. It’s a precious commodity these days. We are busy. Our lives are full to the brim from the moment we get up in the morning to the moment we crash in bed at night from exhaustion.
We try and fill our days with everything. We work, we exercise, we eat healthy, we eat sugar, we run errands, we see people, we blog, we do housework, we meditate, we don’t, we read, we study, we have a wine, we run the kids around after school, we help out at school, we watch TV, we surf the net, we run a business or two, we get our nails done, we walk the dogs… I could go on.
And no, we don’t all do all of those things but I’m sure you could write a list of everything you do in one day and feel totally exhausted just from writing it!
Simplifying your life starts with cutting back, saying no and realising what is important. To you. Time can be re-discovered and you will feel yourself starting to breathe again.
But with everything, it is a gradual process, something you need to work your way towards. But each decision you make, each choice you choose will give you back some time. It will feel like a mini-tattslotto win each time!
Put it into practice: Write your list. The list of everything you did today. And then tomorrow, do it again. Do this for the week and then circle the time wasting. These things can be automatically culled or reduced. Next circle the things that are the least important to you. Again cull or reduce. Practice over a month and see how much time you have gained each day. Even if it is only ten minutes, you will find that you will already be more concious of what is important to you. Perhaps you will even say no to a few things. Perhaps over the space of a few months you will see what is the most important to you and be in a position to work towards a major change in your life.
Living simply, isn’t always a simple process. It’s not a something you wake up in the morning and just decide to do, and it’s done. It is a process. Life didn’t become complicated overnight, and life doesn’t become simple overnight either. But if you are ready, and willing, you can make progress towards it. And maybe even discover that childhood freedom we all remember.
What’s your tip to living a little more simply each day?