Back when the Voluntary Simplicity movement got started — that link takes you to the book of that name — I noticed that simple living was often complex.
Here are some examples:
- It’s way more work to make your own bread by hand than to buy a good whole grain loaf from a bakery or grocery store. (Now, with bread machines, this is less true!)
- It’s more time consuming to recycle… happily, this is less true now, but it certainly was then, when we had to drive our stuff to a recycling center that was only open on Saturdays.
- Shopping for all-cotton clothes and sheets may take more time than grabbing some part-synthetic items off the shelves.
But my friends and I found a satisfaction that made the extra time well spent. There’s a feeling of being a part of our world that comes from gardening, for example. And by consuming less of our world’s resources, we were expressing a connection with the poorer people of the world.
One thing I noticed back then remains true today. One person’s simple living might be someone else’s nightmare. We each have to make our own choices. For example, I realize that I am weird to most people in that I don’t like going to movies, would rather read or nowadays web-surf and be more with my own thoughts.
Someone else may need a more elaborate wardrobe than I do, because they go out to a “day job” and also because they are inherently more stylish than I am. But I admit to buying and reading far, far more books than most people. (I am keeping my eye on the Kindle but so far I couldn’t download while I’m home in Mexico.)
So not only do the actions of a simple lifestyle often take more time, but also the decisions about what to do can require some thought. None of this is simple, but the satisfactions are great.
Now to go plant those seeds I didn’t get to on the weekend…