March 9, 2016

Simple Living - Not Just About Possessions


Society is overwhelmed by the relentless drive of consumerism. For as long as I can remember I have been drawn to a completely different way of life.

While it may be new to many modern humans, the “less is more” philosophy of living is ancient and has been in continual practice since time immemorial.

Whether you call it ‘voluntary simplicity or ‘simple living’, it is a lifestyle choice that trades the endless accumulation of things for the happiness and contentment that can be found through personal development, fulfillment and just being.

I have always tried to keep my possessions limited to what I need to get by. Camping and wilderness backpacking taught me to get by on little. I love the challenge of living well with less.

The older I get the righter my choice turns out to be. I will be 55 on my birthday this year, and I have fewer possessions now than at any time since moving out on my own after high school. I have no regrets about not being 'more successful', and feel unprecedented levels of happiness and satisfaction.

But this way of life is not only about possessions. There is no standard list of things you need to live simply. But it is pretty easy to establish a list of things you don’t need. It would include a lot of what is offered in any consumer obsessed society.

Simple living is mostly about finding meaning in life far beyond the stuff we own. It is about finding depth and meaning in every moment.

For me, simple living is freedom, wanting less, and honouring my priorities in peaceful, less complex surroundings. I can conceive of nothing that can veer me from my commitment to this path.





15 comments:

  1. well said-Saffron

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting, Saffron. Hope all is well for you.

      Delete
  2. My son and I just watched the BBC documentary Human Planet, which is amazing. There's also a behind-the-lens show that goes along with the documentary. One of the episodes was about rainforest tribes. The filmmakers filmed a tribe as they built one of their homes. They make these amazing treehouses, that they build completely on their own and from the materials around them. Men of all ages are able to climb these trees without equipment to help build. My favorite part was when one of the filmmakers (who had piles of equipment to get into the trees to film) talked about how these people are truly free in a way most other people aren't. They don't own stuff, but they're free.

    To me, simple living is being able to really choose what I'm going to do with my day-to-day life. Owning less frees us from working so much. Being content at home frees us from spending money on entertainment. I really feel that choosing a simpler life gives us so much freedom.

    Kate

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is amazing that such tribes have been able to hang on to their traditional ways in the face of the steamroller of modernization, privatization and profit. I think there is hope as long as they are around.

      It has always surprised me that people have bought into the whole "freedom" think promoted by the system. I have never felt that we are free. Free to do what? Work ourselves to death? Spend money? Compete?

      We are free because they tell us we are, even as they continue to restrict our real freedoms. Then they tell us we are the most free, and we should just shut up and be grateful for that. When I travelled the world I met many people that were living lives more simple and more free than most N. Americans.

      Real freedom happens when we take our lives into our own hands and do what feels right to us. We are at least free enough to be able to make that choice to emancipate ourselves, like you have done.

      Delete
  3. Isn't getting older great?! I am 54, and although it appears you "knew" yourself early on, I am now so much more comfortable with who I am. Many of my friends still like to take European vacations, eat meals out often, purchase a daily coffee -- and they work 60+ hours a week for the privilege. I love to go camping, make meals and tea/coffee at home, and work 25 hours a week. Of course, I respect their desires, but thankfully I am at the age that I accept them, and I accept ME. A good place to be in life. Thanks for all you wonderful posts! -- Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I, too, love to live simply and putter at home working about the same number of hours you do. I also feel that these "old age" years are the best years. There is a freedom within simplicity that cannot be matched by any material purchase or travel destination. Go to Youtube and google Off the Grid with Jill Redwood. It's a short film about an independent woman who has lived off the grid for 30 years in a house she built herself. There is also an excellent, but short, article about her with pics at Naturalhome.org. Enjoy. D

      Delete
    2. Thank you, D. Just checked out the article about Jill Redwood (which contained a short video) and she seems wonderful. I will watch the Youtube also. -- Mary

      Delete
    3. Mary,

      I am learning more about myself all the time, another benefit of simple living. I did know early on what I wanted, but I am getting better at understanding myself and my part in the world all the time. It is an ongoing goal, anyway, and one of the joys of aging.

      I figure that if you are living simply you are joining the majority of humanity that is doing likewise, voluntarily or otherwise. I don't want to be part of the 20% of humanity that is pigging out on 80% of the resources.

      It is so great to hear simple living testimonials such as yours. What can we say? It works.

      Delete
    4. D.,

      Comment such as yours are greatly appreciated here since we are all about learning and expanding our understanding of the basis of a simple living philosophy.

      I do believe that I will be compiling all the great resources that readers have shared into a new page button under the banner at the top of the blog. It will be good to get all of it in one easy to use place.

      Delete
  4. "I have no regrets about not being 'more successful'". Success is measured by how we feel about ourselves. You seem to have set a goal to tread lightly upon the earth, to live simply and peacefully, to stay true to yourself and your beliefs and to be a loving caregiver to Linda while enjoying your time together. I don't think you could be any 'more successful' than you already are! D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. D.,

      Thank you. Such a nice thing to say... and true! Life can be beautiful right here, right now. And it is.

      Delete
  5. Hi Greg,

    I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones, discovering that time and relationships were much more important than 'success' and stuff early on. I'm so grateful to you for continuing inspiration on the journey and also love to hear what others have to share about their journeys.

    I watched and loved the Jill Redwood video - she's a bit of an icon here in Australia ( to those on the simple path at any rate). My only regret is that I have a mortgage and can't live as simply as she does at this point in time. The property market here went crazy over the last 10 years with the cost of a home more than doubling, even here in the country. Rents are as high as a mortgage - in other words, it's wiser to buy your own home and pay it down as quickly as possible. Home ownership has also allowed me to put down roots - quite literally - with the planting of a small orchard.

    Madeleine.x



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Escaping the madness at any point in one's life is beneficial, but the earlier the better. I love to hear about young people that have gotten this already in their lives. Gen X and Millennials have been moving in this direction of less emphasis on stuff. There certainly are excellent testimonials from people of all ages on this blog. I love and cherish the valuable input from readers such as yourself. Thank you for making this a better place for all of us to visit.

      Delete
  6. Seems I'm the elder in this bunch at 58! This time of life is so much better than the angst of my earlier years. I'm so much more comfortable with every aspect of who I am and where my life is going. No need to worry about what someone else's idea of what I should look like or how I should live. Truly Free.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What an awesome thing to be able to say. I think I have been struggling to be free ever since kindergarten. I am getting there.

      Delete

Discussion and debate is welcome on NBA. I believe that this can be done via courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the post, whether or not they agree with the views expressed.

Comments containing profanity, abusive language, or baiting will be deleted.

Comments with a user name attached above, or in a sign off in the text, are appreciated. It lets us meet on common ground, and get to know each other better.

I answer comments depending on what is happening in my life, and how much gardening, cooking, hiking, and music making needs to be done.

Click the "notify me" box to be updated on the thread by email.

Note: Comments are moderated to eliminate links to commercial interests. We are proudly a no selling, no buying website.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...