This has been one of the rottenest years on record for me personally. Physically, mentally, spiritually, financially…just plain rotten. My take on 2006 to date is basically, “Check, please!”
I just want to leave now. Be done with this year. Let it slide into the rearview mirror and never speak of it again.
Things have been too complex, too complicated, too…noisy. It seems as though we are in a constant state of turmoil around here. Trips to Disneyland, or to visit grandparents, off to a wedding over here, a birthday party over there…too busy for this, too busy for that, too much to buy, too little cash. Debts rising, assets sinking…wanting to work, enjoying my work, but suffering from the vague feeling that I’m losing all sense of familial balance.
All of which comes together in a loud cry of, “I wish things were simpler, like they were in the good old days!!”
Funny thing, simplicity. Such a gentle little word. It conjures up pastoral scenes, doesn’t it? Lazy days reading books in the park. Living in a little cottage by the sea, watching the ships sailing along, eating our porridge by the flickering oil lamp…aaaaaah. Peace, quiet, tranquility, the bounty that is ‘enough’…
Of course, we couldn’t possibly have it, not at this particular time. Because, see, we’re working? Which means we simply must have the car payment and the mortgage and the daycare costs and the frantic rushing from Hither to Yon and the dry cleaning bill and the maid service and dinner out a couple times a week because I don’t have time to cook WHO may I ask has time to cook these days…?
We see it as not having any choice. Can’t change society, right? And we live in a society of specialized ringtones to let you know in advance which friend is calling, a world of constant need creation and fulfillment.
We are, in short, owned by our luxuries.
They build on each other. You start with one small thing. I’m going to get a latte at Starbucks this morning, a ‘special treat’. Next thing you know…you’ve got a two-latte-a-day habit formed. And you feel you must have them. If you decide to give them up, you’re ‘deprived’.
From socks to magazine subscriptions, we feel as though saying ‘no’ to anything we have a hankering for is somehow denying us something precious.
But of course, it also becomes overwhelming. We have so much stuff to store, so many places to go, so many things to see…we become exhausted by it and then we shriek that we want some damned simplicity.
Then we get a subscription to Real Simple magazine and, a few cunning (and expensive) organizational tips later, we’re back where we were. Drowning in things we can’t live with, or without.
Can you tell I’m a bit disgusted right now?
Oh my yes. Disgusted does not begin to cover it. I’m about half ready to pull up stakes, buy a cabin in the middle of the woods in Montana and refuse to get electricity or a working telephone. I’m so tired of all the noise, the demands on my time and energy.
All kidding aside, I’ve been pondering trying to get a healthy dose of simplicity into my life lately. How to balance needs and wants, how to shut down the madness that our lives have become in the last year.
I’m looking for some simplicity – and it isn’t as easy to find as you might think. Google ‘voluntary simplicity’. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
See what I mean? Holy carp, people! Next you’ll be telling me I need to live nekkid in the woods eating nothing but dirt! Geez. It’s like the Living Below Your Means fanatics, who get all sniffy if you commit such horrors as buying clothes at retail, or spend $50 on a wedding present you could have made yourself in only sixteen hours using recycled materials!
So I sifted through the sources and I found very little that I felt would help me right now. Because I don’t want to give up my job and live the life of the income-free a-la “Your Money or Your Life”; I don’t want to downsize us into a tiny little house, or tell my children we’re going to go live on a llama farm in Istanbul (do they have llama farms in Istanbul?) ‘for a while’.
All I want is a little more freedom. From all this…stuff. I want to have only what we need, and a few things we want. Nothing more. No clutter. No ‘noise’.
Well. Being that I am a rebel without a pause, I’m going to forge my own trail. Because I really am tired of being owned by such things as acrylic fingernails and cable television, and sick of all the rush and bother around me. I’m tired of not having any money, when in point of fact I’m making very good money thank-you-very-much.
Buckle up, Denizens. Mommy’s on another rampage, and things may get bumpy…
3 days ago