November 6, 2018

A Quiet, Uneventful, and Simple Life

I have always aspired to a quiet, uneventful, and simple life. Some told me that was lazy. However, I was undeterred, and continued to work toward my unambitious and unassuming goal.

Philosopher Tim Maudlin shares a story along this line. “In Book X of Republic, he says, "Plato tells the myth of Er." 

Er was a warrior who was thought to have been killed in a battle and went down to the underworld and saw the afterlife.  
In the afterlife people are rewarded or punished for the life they have just led and then, at the end, get to freely choose their next life. 
Most change to a new sort of life: 
Odysseus, for example, was last to choose among the available lives, but searched and searched and found a quiet and uneventful life, completely unlike his own. 
He said he would have chosen it all the same if he had chosen first.

Hey, if it is good enough for the legendary Greek king of Ithaca, and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey, it's good enough for me. 

Or anyone.

May we all enjoy quiet, uneventful, and simple lives. 


  1. Clearly you were very busy in your past life:)

  2. Hmmm. No one could (or has) ever called me lazy, however as our youngest is nearly 5 years old and about to start school, I am often asked what I'm going to do when she is no longer at home during the day. Up until now I've 'gotten away' with being a stay at home mother as she was still in Kindy part time. But now? I need to get a JOB. A paying one. Society expects it. Unfortunately for society, I don't have the answer that people want to hear. I have zero plans to go back to work. Where on earth would I fit it in? Besides the usual house work type stuff (which my full time, blue collar working husband also helps with), I have growing food to do. Making healthy and delicious meals for my family to do. Repairing and mending clothes to do(so we don't need to buy new STUFF). Helping out at school to do. Raising my children to be ethical and compassionate humans to do.
    People tell me all the time that I'm lucky to stay home and lead such a simple life. Lucky? Simple? Sure. It's simple in that our needs are basic and we don't earn much money. There's no luck involved though... Just simple cutting our cloth and being very grateful for what we're blessed with. I'll take quiet, uneventful and simple any day of the week over busy, time poor and complicated.

    1. Anonymous11/08/2018

      Hi Karen,

      raising a family and running a home is in itself a full-time job, especially with food growing thrown into the mix. Don't let the comments of others get you down, they have been brain washed into participating in a system based on consumption, not on values. I had a lot of time off when the kids were little and only went back to work as I became a single parent. Even then, I did not go to paid work full-time, I did as little as I could so that I could give energy to home and family. I don't regret a minute of that time out of paid work, and don't regret that the retirement fund isn't bigger. My kids are 16 and almost 19 and I now see the fruits of that time I spent with them.

      You are doing a wonderful thing :-)


    2. Karen,

      A lot of people figure that if someone is not in the paid economy, they aren't doing anything. But where would the paid economy be if the unpaid economy didn't exist? The former supports, and makes possible, the later. We are truly in trouble when jobs and money and stuff are more important than anything else. I love the sound of your life. It's real.


      There is nothing as precious as having the time to do the things that are truly important.

      Sadly, the brainwashing seems to be complete. There is a lot of pressure to get a job, make as much money as possible, then buy a bunch of stuff to maintain our status and cover over our sorrow at not having lived an authentic life on our own terms.

      No thanks.

    3. Karen and Madeleine, you are both so right about all of this. I'm thankful for the spaces I have not had to "work" outside a home. In a lot of ways, it is harder to work at home and raise a family. I've done both and was a single parent for most of my daughter's at home life. She is soon to be 35.
      Cheers to both of you for finding a way to live the way you want to and do what you've done for your families.

  3. It's what I dream about every day!

    1. If you can dream it, you can achieve it.

  4. I too dream of a simple life, and being a stay at home mom on one income is no joke. You have a full time job.

    1. Thanks for saying those kind words :) it certainly is a full time job... The hardest and best one in the world (in my opinion). Personally, I celebrate all parents who follow their path and their calling, regardless of whether that means being at home with their children or working outside the home. Maybe if we all did that we could change the emphasis from a money based economy to a trade/ service/ gifting type one. My babysitting service and amazing chutney for your awesome compost and graphic design help etc. Wouldn't that make life so much more simple?!

    2. My dad always said that "just living is a full time job", and he was right. Work and jobs definitely get in the way of devoting full time status to just being. Often there is too much doing, buying, and maintaining. No time left over for the important stuff.

      We definitely need a new system, a better system, and what you talk about, Karen, is it. What would life look like if we did not need jobs to survive? How would we choose to spend our time differently?

      I know my dad regretted not having spent more time with his kids and extended family. At the end of his life he had serious doubts about the so called work ethic. He would have traded all his money to have had better relationships with those he loved.

  5. Anonymous11/08/2018

    I had to smile at your first sentence, it is so opposite to what we are conditioned to want. I am a person who has never understood the need to go on holidays - why not build a beautiful, quiet life right now and just stay home?


    1. Travel to far away places can be good, just like going to school. But if you have to keep repeating it for the rest of your life, what is the purpose of that?

      When Linda and I were living busy lives and working full time, we usually could not wait to "get out of town" and go away for a while. I'm not sure we could have handled the city and maintain our sanity if we didn't get breaks.

      Now that we are living the "beautiful quiet life", we have no desire to go anywhere. We love where we live, and every day feels like a holiday.

    2. Yes, I feel a need to "get away" more when my life is overly busy too. I would not trade anything for my former travel experiences or anything I learned from them. I'm open to a little random travel, but not likely to travel like I did prior to living a more simple life.

  6. The photo of the cabin looks heavenly. A bunch of books, nature, healthy food, loved ones, dog-friends, warmth, and beauty - that is the BEST life. I need this reminder to slow down and focus on the quiet beauty of my life, not on all the swirling chaos in the air currently.

    A deep breath and I can get back to what is important to me. Thanks much.

    1. Erin,

      The cabin is a sugar shack in the woods behind my home. Many of the trees surrounding it are sugar maples, and the shack is used to boil the sap down to maple syrup. It is a local delicacy... and luxury, unless you are making it yourself. I would love to tap a few trees and give it a go.

      Amid all the hype and chaos, the quiet beauty of our lives is a faint whisper in the wind. It is best to heed it while we can.

  7. Hi everyone, I sure have missed reading and the conversation here. I've been out working full time in temporary positions for the past five or so weeks. It has not been fun at all. Here is my full report!

    Exactly as several people are saying here, there are a whole lot of simple living activities and do-it-yourself activities that went by the way side when I was getting up super early to get dressed up, pack lunch, commute, punch a clock, and working full time, 6 days per week. I estimate it took 60+ hours a week out of my life to work about 35-40 hours a week including the sixth day which I worked a half day.

    To work has been time consuming and remarkably expensive. I wasn't able to be near as frugal as I can be not working. I wasn't able to prepare many meals from scratch and at times didn't eat as well due to lack of time. I felt exhausted much of the time. It took a toll mentally and emotionally as well. There was very little down time to recharge. It truly is soul sucking to work especially full time.

    Why did I do it? I had to seize the opportunity when it presented due to serious need for income. In fact, it seems I am going to have to return to work full time because I can not make it without an income. I am not self sufficient enough and do not own property I can live on, etc.

    It has been a bitter awakening that I must respond to. I am currently trying to figure out how to apply and obtain a permanent full time position. And learn how to work after not working a regular job for 12 years. I am deeply challenged, but motivated because I am not going to have the very small income that's been barely keeping me going much longer.

    I've worked on many plans and schemes to avoid going back to full time employment and there just is not enough money. I can not find cheap enough housing to make it so now I must increase my income. There is no cooperative housing near me and no funds for relocating to where it is. I've not been able to find cheaper rent or any way to reduce my living expenses further than they are. With my small income in jeopardy, I have to do something to gain income and healthcare. Rebelling against it has only put me in a deeper more desperate position.

    I've researched living in a car, van, camper, etc. Even that takes money. My small income would not sustain a life on the road. It would cost more to be on the road than the very small way I live inside a shelter. Again, it looks inevitable that I am going to lose that small income.

    So that is what I've been up to!

    I love the sugar shack cabin in the photo. There are many wonderful discoveries you've made in those precious woods behind your home Gregg! I've loved all the photos and stories you've shared over the past few years.

    Sorry this is so long. I've missed all of you very much!


    1. Terri,

      We have missed your contributions to the discussion here. Rarely do people do a full assessment of how much it costs them to have a particular job. Working can be expensive.

      What does that say about our system when it is an ongoing struggle just to attain a simple life? For me it says that our system is broken and needs to be replaced with something better that works for all of us. ALL OF US. Is that too much to ask? I don't think we should expect anything less.

      Welcome back. We missed YOU so much.

  8. Thanks Gregg. Yes, working is so expensive. Makes ones footprint larger too. I think this would calm down a bit after a routine was established. But it sure took a lot of resource to pull this work thing off.
    Gosh, if we could only find another system, a new way to live. That would be great.


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