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Member Comments for the Article:
The Benefits and Virtues of Voluntary Simplicity
Simplify Your Life!
1/26/2014 5:38:54 PM
My husband and I have always lived considerably below our means. For example, in 2000 we were shocked to learn how big a mortgage our credit union was willing to give us; we borrowed 60% of that amount. We don't think of ourselves as big spenders or compulsive shoppers by any means. But in getting our house ready to go on the market in 2010, I was on a first name basis with the Vietnam Veterans' donation truck driver. Where on earth all that stuff came from was a mystery to both of us. We've been more conscious since then of how much stuff comes into our lives. (Full disclosure: still too much.)
I live that life! . . . or aspiring to . . . but, even a simple life can get hectic and stressful.
My husband and were married almost 37 years ago and on our first meeting we discussed our dreams about living simply. Shortly after we were married and moved to a beautiful old Victorian farmhouse we began creating our life of simplicity. We got an old wood stove that perfectly complimented the house and collected old fence posts and debris to burn. Soon neighbors were calling us to help them clean out their fence rows and such for the wood. We shopped at thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales. We grew our own food, organically. We bought our wheat and meat (on the hoof) from local farmers and ground our own flour and cornmeal. We subscribed to Organic Gardening and Mother Earth News magazines for inspiration and bought books supporting our goals. My husband became a woodworker and built our first home . . . using recycled materials. (A farmer was clearing a field and we were able to salvage wood for framing and a garage from his pile of trees he was soon to set fire to.) We took it and kiln dried it and built our home along with other salvaged construction materials. He has supported our family for 25 years on his carpentry skills and cabinetmaking profession and has become a handyman extraordinaire. lol He works from our home location so there is always a sense of 'life' here.
I was a homemaker for the first 10 years and home schooled my kids for 3 years before I had to go to work for extra income and to expand my horizons. I went to school and got an assoc. degree in commercial art and went to work for the next 25 years developing career skills along the way. During this time our family adjusted to living in the fast lane--a working mom and busy extracurricular events with the family. Our simple life became a little more compromised than our original vision, but we were able to maintain our small farmstead and still grow much of our food and, most of all, maintain our values.
Now that the kids are grown we have time to enjoy our little paradise in style. lol My husband and I still work, but we are comfortable, slowing our pace, and easing back out of the fast lane. Yea!
Through our marital journey, I also learned about the spiritual side of my life. In my quiet time, I reflected on life and took into account what was of value, what my goals were, how I wanted to live and what I would leave behind. I learned how to develop a better spirit. I learned to forgive myself. I learned how to relate to and love others in a positive way and how to be a good steward of my resources.
I am still learning . . .
Thanks for such and INSPIRING ARTICLE and allowing me to share!
I learned a great deal about getting by on less after the economic downturn of 2008. Though my husband and I managed to get back on our feet after job losses and foreclosure, our perspectives have changed about how much we truly need. When we went on a recent hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail, I learned more lessons about how to simplify and be content with very little. When you have to carry everything on your back, even a visit to town will keep you from buying all the souvenirs and trinkets you think you need to enjoy your experience. We learned to enjoy traveling by doing cheap or free activities. Our current goal is to get an RV or camper trailer and live on the road full-time. This means that although I've downsized our possessions with every move (6 times in the past 6 yrs), we still have to get rid of 90% of our belongings. Guess what, I'm so ready for this....my prayer has been for God to help us simplify our lives. I feel free letting go and also enjoying life without getting so caught up in consumerism and living the "American Dream."
Great article! My husband and I are entering our 50's and realize that what worked for us in our 20's, 30's, and 40's is quite different that what we'll need going forward. As other responders noted, simplification is as much about habits and mindset as it is about "stuff." I appreciated the recommendation for a book to read on the topic as well. Several of our recent 'reads' dealt with the externalities of simplification, so we appreciate one that deals with more inward considerations. Thanks!
I have had the recent epiphany that I need to "unclutter" with things because I have too many of them. They get in the way and don't have a purpose other than I thought I needed them at then time. Learning to say no to requests to be a leader also has helped me reduce the clutter of having no time or always on the go to somewhere or planning that program or meeting - it helps a lot to simplify.
4/17/2012 9:07:21 AM
I loved this article and am working towards these concepts.
I really appreciate Dean Anderson's pieces! And this one's no different. I also find the comments from others to be instructive and inspirational. Being joyful with less is something that I am striving for daily.
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