It is whatever you make it, really. Like sitting on the floor with a laptop computer as your source of entertainment? That’s simple living. Prefer to be surrounded by your favorite books and having your weeks scheduled in advance? That’s simple living. If whatever you are doing has simplified your life to the point that it feels simpler, than you are living simply for you. For me, it means not having anything in my house that doesn’t serve a purpose at least once in a while – while for others it means limiting their personal belongings to 100 items. As long as it works for you then that’s all that counts! But thanks to a book I am currently reading titled “Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich” by Duane Elgin, I can tell you for sure what simple living is not:
- Simplicity is not sacrifice; in fact it is quite the opposite.
- Simplicity is not poverty. Poverty has a human face while simplicity doesn’t.
- Simplicity does not necessarily mean rural living. Plenty of people live simple lives in the middle of the city.
- Simplicity does not equal ugliness. Natural beauty, rather than artificial aesthetics, is quite enlightening.
- Simplicity does not mean economic stagnation. Just because we buy less doesn’t mean the economy will falter.
This book, originally published in 1981 and now in it’s second edition, is absolutely fantastic. I am about 3/4 of the way through it right now (I always read about 3 books at a time, so each one takes me a while to get through) and I am already thinking about starting it again once I am done. My favorite quote so far?
“If the material consumption of a fraction of humanity is already harming the planet, is there an alternative path that enables all of humanity to live more lightly upon the Earth while experiencing a higher quality of life?”
Now that’s simple living for everyone. Check out the book, you won’t be sorry.