The more living a simple life becomes a trend, the more confusing and overwhelming it can become. You find yourself needing to become a minimalist, homeschooler, environmentalist, Zero Waster and before long you are striving for things like 'Frugal', 'Nordic', 'Hygge', 'Kondo', baking your own bread and purging your clothes and shoes to build a capsule wardrobe filled with linen in a pallet of 3-4 colours.
As a writer and life long learner, research plays a big part in my day-to-day, and to be honest, I have devoured so much information in the last month, I feel like I have eaten one too many slices of homemade pie. I have experienced an oxymoron. The overwhelm of Simple Living.
When I first decided to launch Simply Julie Ann my why was clear. I was on a personal journey that I wanted to share with the world to connect with like-minded people. To inspire others with traditional ways of living, connection to nature, sustainability and living a life free of debt, stress and worry in a modern world. I have not set out to 'educate' with cheat sheets and downloads. I instead want to lovingly open up my life to you, and with that, help you become inspired or, at the very least, allow yourself moments to dream, reflect and imagine your own simple and slow life.
Today, I allowed myself time to reflect on what it really means to live a simple life. I allowed myself time to dream and centred myself back to a place I felt cozy and comfortable. I retreated to the slowest and simple place I know. Nature.
As I journeyed through the pines, the stillness and quietness allowed my brain to relax and expand. I looked up at the rhythmic swaying of the canopy, planted my bare feet onto the forest floor, placed my hand on the trunk of a tree and took some slow, deep breaths. There it was. The very beginning. The only place, the only moment in time that truly knows what it means to live a simple life.
I closed my eyes and listened. The magic of nature filled my ears as I tuned in selectively to each sound. Could I just stay here forever? As crazy as that may seem to most it begs the question...why not? All the obstacles, in my mind, could easily be solved with the knowledge of the past. They managed then, so why not now?
There is one thing that every slow and simple living journey should ideally have in common: The strong pull and calling to get back to nature and be 'part' of the Eco System, not removed from it.
For me the answer to what it means to live a simple life is clear. Let go of life choices and things that are not sustainable long term. If 2020 has shown me anything, it is that we have little control over our livelihoods. For example, a person who lives sustainably on their land harnesses their power, grows a majority of their food and collects their water would be feeling very different in comparison to those locked down in cities, with limits placed on when they can shop, how far they can travel, household items, food, jobs, exercise and nature. Do you see where I am going?
Ask yourself, is your life in your own hands or the hands of another?
I wholeheartedly appreciate that a simple way of life may be an adjustment for those used to having everything available at their fingertips or with the click of a mouse. It requires some hard work and at times delving into our primal brains to draw on the skills our ancestors used. This hard work, however, is for non-other than you and your family. Instead of working long hours disconnected from family and life to serve the person at the top of a corporate food chain, you are working to bring love around your dinner table at night and deep, real-life connection during the day - getting everyone involved in the learning and the process. You are reducing stress and worry, staying naturally active and creative and ultimately bringing more joy and much more fulfilment to your life.
So dear friend, if you feel stuck or overwhelmed on your journey to living a simple life, just know that you can always reach out to nature with your bare feet planted firmly on the ground to find the answers and guidance you are searching for. From there it is as simple as placing one foot slowly in front of the other until you get there.
As always I would love to hear from you, so let's open the conversation in the comments below. What does living a simple life mean to you?