To simplify scares many turns off many, and intrigues many. I went through all three of those feelings from the time I was introduced to the concept of simplicity, about four years ago. My first exposure was with Megan Starbuck and her blog Living Tiny, Dreaming Big.
Her writing about tiny living came right about the time I was getting excited about tiny homes (which I hope to have someday). In her blog, she addressed various ways, reasons, and outcomes of embracing simplicity, no matter the size of your home, family, or life.
Through reading her blog, she took me from being turned off and scared to intrigued because Megan made it very clear that living a life of simplicity is total, 100% personal. What a relief!
So many before Megan, made me feel I had to do it their way, or I would just miss it, and any change I made would be less than effective to reduce my stress and increase my goal for personal freedom.
Personal was important because my life has unique things, different interactions, important responsibilities, and various styles and interests. How could embracing simplicity, be anything other than personal?
Personal must be respected by others, but even more by me. Personal has boundaries and they widened and close in as I live my life, as it becometh me.
Personal comes from the Latin word personalis meaning “of a person”. How wonderful and freeing it is that we can deem something as personal. Personal does not have to be private, but it can be.
Personal means, belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else. This does not just apply to possessions, it can also mean preferences, beliefs, styles, and dreams for our lives.
Accepting and walking in our personal is a great effectual door of freedom, grounded and rooted in our personal beliefs. This freedom is formed and fashioned out of our core beliefs, so before we can define what is personal for us, we must first define our beliefs.
The defining process may take time, but it will build a framework to go back to when you begin to look at embracing a simplified lifestyle. The freedom we desire through simplification starts with our core beliefs becoming personal to us, and then we can with clarity begin the process of simplifying our life, just for us and those we love and care for.
My simplifying journey started several years ago and it has been a process of sorting my possessions, plans, thoughts, dreams, and desires; then seeing if what I have aligns with that. This also included me looking at what I was spending and why. Did my money go in the direction that aligned with the personal life I desired? These questions were asked and answered over time and as the answers became part of my core beliefs, I gave away, discarded, stopped buying items and services that did not align with who I was or wanted to be.
This process would continue until I found a plateau of enjoyment.
Enjoyment is defined as the action or condition of satisfaction from something that gives pleasure, such as a simplified life. For me, the enjoyment was a sense of freedom from stress and things, and over the past few years, I have experienced several plateaus of simplification that brought me enjoyment.
After living in the new freedom for a season, I would realize that it was time to do the next layer of simplification. Simplified living is not a destination it truly is a journey.
After getting a great start from Megan and her blog, I found a digital magazine that expanding my journey to the freedom of a Simplified Life.
This magazine is published by Joshua Becker of Becomingminimalist.com. You will be inspired by his website and will find help in this informative, easy to read quarterly magazine.
Along with the Simplify Magazine and Joshua’s writings on owning less and living more, I still use Megan as a resource on my journey to more freedom and having less to do or maintain. I resonated with her book documenting her journey, “Packrat to Clutter Free“. Both of these people are genuine and just regular people living their personal simplified life and enjoying the journey.
Here are some steps I recommend taking if you even have a small interest in understanding what your Simplified Life would look like so you can decide if you want to start this transformative journey. These steps were from my journey of living as a widow with a grown daughter.
- If you do not live alone, discuss with those in your life and home to determine your core beliefs. Then document them in a digital or paper journal. (I use Evernote).
- Some of my core beliefs at the start of my journey were.
- Life should not be so stressful.
- More of my time needs to be doing what I love.
- My health can no longer be at the end of my to-do list.
- Some of my core beliefs at the start of my journey were.
- Identify what fuels your interest in simplification?
- I need to reduce expenses
- I want to increase savings.
- I need to reduce stress.
- I want less to maintain.
- I want to change of career.
- I want to re-location closer to the family.
- Create a 90-day plan of action
- Start soon, while you have the desire to make a change.
- Set goals with incremental change.
- In the beginning do easy steps, like clearing one closet.
- Increase the complexity and size of the area you are working with over the 90 days.
- The overall 90-day goal is simple. Do something each day, each week, each month.
- Set a reward at the end of the 90 days to celebrate your progress.
- Create the next 90-day plan of action.
- Continue to do 90-day planning until you find that place of enjoyment.
- Rest until you desire to make further changes in your journey.
- Then, review your why again, create your plan, celebrate your progress.
- Remember, it is a journey, not a destination.
My simplified life is a personal journey just for me. And embracing the simple life has given me the freedom to enjoy life in a bigger way. I still have possessions, I still have responsibilities, I still buy things and I still have boxes in my basements of what, I do not know.
But this I do know, I read more, write more, rest more, and make it a priority to create things. I have become more in touch with what brings me joy and how I can use those things to bless others. Just enjoying the simple things of life, and it is good.
Your life is yours to enjoy, share, and live to fulfill all God has for you. It’s personal and it is meant to be enjoyed. Embrace your simplified life and start your journey.