For as long as I can remember, Mark and I have used the term simple in relation to some aspect of our life and personal aesthetic. For us it has always been a way to draw attention to quality over quantity, to enjoy having less amid the cultural tide of wanting more. Simple? Definitely. Easy? Definitely not.
Of all of the modern terms, simple can certainly feel the most complicated and convoluted. Used to describe everything from the way we live, parent, decorate, eat, exercise, and dress, it has become a catch-all term translating to a variety of things depending on those who use it.
For some, simplicity is a way of grassroots living, a homesteading life with clear attachment to food and materials. For others it is an aesthetic of clutter-free living, minimal extras, and clean color palettes, and still for others it is a detachment from home and things altogether, a prioritized way of living in simplicity with God or nature. While I can see bits of each on are own path, the short note is this:
Simplicity is not simple.
Ask a farmer, a minimalist, a monk, an environmentalist, or even another parent. Simplicity requires choice. It requires clear YESes and difficult NOs. For me, this is always the rub. Choosing quality–whether in food or objects or relationships or spiritual life or social commitments or home–always requires an intentional choice. Honestly, sometimes I grow weary or distracted with the process. Sometimes I need a little encouragement or new tactics for a different season of life. Sometimes I need to spend a winter weekend tucked with books that remind me why it’s important.
That was last weekend for me. After breakfast, I made coffee and a snack and headed straight back to my room with Erin Boyle’s new book Simple Matters. Filled with her refreshing writing and images, I have barely put it down since. I was encouraged most by her final words: “we are more than the sum of our possessions; we are more than white-tiled walls.” A hearty yes.
Other resources on simplicity that have encouraged or inspired me recently: this one if you tend to overcommit or struggle saying no; this one for spiritual simplicity; this one for simplifying family life and routines; this one for the honest work of eating locally and more sustainably; and this one of course for tidying. Stay warm, and happy weekend, friends!