Simplicity is a wonderful gift. It is a escape from the belief that we can only be happy with more. It is a return to the basics—the best traditional ways of life combined with the most efficient modern conveniences. However, it is not the way most of us grew up, and it does have a certain learning curve.
Take, for instance, the thought that has been on my mind this week. Many of you may not have this “problem” but it does seem an inevitable part of learning to live simply.
On Monday, I walked through my house picking up. It took me a few minutes at most. I wandered around looking for more things to put away; there were none. Everything in my home has a place. We use everything we have. There is really no superfluity in sight.
On Tuesday, I worked on long term projects. There weren’t many. I organized under the sink; our storage closet is now immaculate; I even organized, categorized, made a master list of all of our books (291) and finally brought them out of storage and found a home for them.
Today, I woke up thinking, “Now what?” A question that has been plaguing me all week. Once you’ve simplified, organized, limited screen time, are out of debt, and completely content…what’s next?
Don’t get me wrong; small things definitely crop back up—more dishes fill the sink, the bed gets slept in, the boxes that once held your books are now strewn all over your bedroom. But in the long term—after those five minute chores are done—what do you do with your time? You came to simplicity to get that time back and now that you have it, suddenly there is nothing to do with it.
Or so it seems.
I can’t offer you a magic solution, but I can tell you what I’m planning to do.
1. I still need to work on simplifying my food. I’ve been reading a lot about real foods and I’ve been trying to find new recipes that don’t use processed ingredients.
2. I’m looking for a new hobby. I’m thinking of taking up some knitting needles and yarn just to see if it interests me. This is a great step to take if you’re finding yourself at the “What next?” stage; find an inexpensive, but time-consuming hobby and see where it leads you.
3. Read! People in America like to pretend that reading is good: “Oh, if only I had more time, I would read…” but in all actuality, productivity, even in mindless tasks, is more socially acceptable than sitting down to open a book. Obviously, if you have the time to read, you aren’t working hard enough. This is complete rubbish. I may be unpopular for this, but when it comes down to it: reading makes you smarter, not reading makes you dumb. There, I said it.
Having long term goals is essential on your path to simplicity. You are spending so much energy trying to free up your time; you should develop ideas as you go as to how that time should be spent. If you’ve reached this point in your journey, good luck: it’s hard! If you haven’t, you will, so prepare now to soften the blow of boredom later.