For a long time in my early 20’s, I read Simple Living-type blog posts religiously. I had loved reading Thoreau’s Walden Pond in college – something about eschewing modern life in favor of an extremely small existence really appealed to me. Some of my favourite bloggers were nomads – one even lived in Antarctica as a janitor on a science base for a year!
Looking back, I can see the draw. I was having a lot of emotional and personal problems, and felt very alone. Though I still love the idea of simplifying my life, back then it seemed more like Running Away to Join the Circus. If it wasn’t donating all my worldly possessions to live in a Tiny Home, it wasn’t Simple Living.
It may sound funny, but that actually took me a long time to realize. For years I felt so conflicted – I loved the life I was building with my wife, and for myself, but I felt a lot of sadness when I realized that I wouldn’t be spending my days in a Yurt, living off the grid. I used to think that it was because that wasn’t a shared dream, between my wife and I. It took a bit longer to come around to the reality:
I do. I love my life. Living with modern conveniences adds to my quality of life, and brings me opportunities that I want to keep, not to mention the time it saves that I can spend on other pursuits. It took a lot of self-awareness (and more than a bit of self-kindness) to accept that I am a person very prone to black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking. Embracing that part of me has allowed me to work with my Self to create the changes I want in my life.
Despite what the majority of Simplicity Advocates might say, I can in fact have a simple life in my suburban home. I get to choose what Simple Living means to me, and how to make it happen in my life.