This morning I heard my kids playing with their newest favorite toy. Frankly, today’s adventure was an epic continuation of last night’s fun. No, they weren’t playing with an X-box or some kind of animatronic device—it was a good, old-fashioned tape measure.
My wife and I were remarking how kids often are so amused by the simplest things in life but, somewhere between childhood and adolescence we end up complicating our daily lives. So I wanted to dedicate the rest of this short post to some thoughts on how to actually do what most of us long to do but never achieve: how to simplify.
- Focus on ordinary things. In truth, there is no such thing as “ordinary.” Brushing your teeth requires so many intricate movements that it’s almost a miracle it can be done. Don’t believe me? Ask the quadriplegic.
- Enjoy what’s around you. Birthday for yourself or a loved one coming up? Why stress about it? It’s meant to be enjoyed not endured! Like my kids with the tape measure, use things that you already have to transform the “ordinary,” into the extraordinary.
- Declutter. Our age is “stuff-obsessed.” Before buying a new car or motorcycle, think: “can I make do with one?” A lot of times we can surprise ourselves by doing without. For millennia, humans have existed without TV or the things we consider essential.Despite years of studying and interacting with non-western cultures, I am still amazed at how much stress accompanies our philosophy of materialism.
Instead of acquiring more stuff, see what you can do without. Sell, give or recycle the rest. Not only will you have more space in your garage but, chances are, you’ll have more peace of mind as well.
Live simply. Live well.