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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Simpler Living Doesn't Do It For Me

Library copy

As someone who embraces homesteading, simpler living to me means trying to provide more of my life's inputs myself, and distancing myself from things that require more of life's inputs to maintain. Simple living and homesteading are what used to be called 'plain living'.  Nothing fancy.  I spend most of my days in overalls and muck boots, and I'm very happy with that.  I don't like the idea of having to find and then wear the little black dress and strappy sandals for a night of dinner and clubbing.  Sooo not me.

When my sister and her family were here last summer, both she and her husband had their Crackberries with them.  Between the two of them, they have eight, I couldn't get over this, eight phone numbers. And both of them were keeping up with emails and a couple of business calls while they were 'on vacation'.  My sister has a lovely home in a nice part of San Francisco, and I love to visit, but you know what? I am seriously glad I'm not living her life.  I do have a cell phone, but it's not a smart phone, and I doubt Steve and I will ever go that route.  There is such a thing as being too connected. I am really glad that we decided on a small house with a small mortgage that we have a good chance of paying off in not too much time.  And in the meantime, I'm happy with the slower, homebody kind of lifestyle that Steve and I lead.

Now, obviously, in this day and age when you can buy just about anything you need, making your own beer and pickles and tomato sauce complicates your life.  There is no arguing with the fact that it's easier to go buy them.  I think that making your own beer and pickles and tomato sauce is infinitely more satisfying than buying them, however, and to make life simpler if you're doing this kind of thing, you have to trade off. You have to pick and choose what you do.  I multitask a little bit, but I really prefer to do one thing at a time, so that I can do it well, and enjoy it for what it is. Homesteading is a lot more satisfying than working ever was because I get more of a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that I ever did at work. Eventually, I'll go back to work (this recession has to give up some time) and I'll keep up with my homesteading.  It will require a little more juggling, but I don't want it complicating things anymore than it has to.  Working for a wage has to be worth the time spent doing it, you know?  That may be too easily said, coming from a kept woman, I know.  But I really want to save this simple life that I've created, and hopefully simplify it further.

Part of what I was looking for in the Simpler Living book was more ideas on how to live a plain life.  I would also hope that a book titled like this one would have an interior- the layout, the pictures, the writing- that would evoke a sense of calm.   Simpler Living didn't do that for me.  In fact, it did just the opposite.  Its interior was jangling, the way that too much information and too many images can be jangling.

If you have the same kind of frenetic life that my sister has, you might find Simpler Living really helpful.  It does have a LOT of information in it, maybe too much, but it seems to be more geared toward simpler ways of living a modern lifestyle so that you can pack more productivity and stuff into your day.

That's not what I want, and I'll go out on a limb here and guess that's not what my readers want either.


Marianne said...

You're so right, Paula. Frenetic doesn't do it for me although I am often happily busy. I'm glad I'm not the only one who sometimes seems to have been born in the wrong century.

sew susie said...

I agree with the phone comment completely, during a quilting class last week a friend showed me her new smart phone. It does everything apparently and she couldn't live without it. Geeez. Two years ago when upgrading, my DH and I asked for a very basic model to simply keep in touch or for emergencies. A cheap plan as well, we can phone each other for nothing. My life style is not as self sufficient as yours but I have made the majority of my own clothes for 40 yrs. Soft furnishings, baby clothes, gifts and even if you make tomato sauce or muffins the sense of satisfaction is priceless. You also control what you are consuming and that is priceless as well.

Jennifer Montero said...

I can't process the phrase 'smart phone' (which I only learned at Christmas was even a thing). What is smart about it? I assume, like any technology, it's only as smart as its user.

Simpler living to me seems a choice to rebuff some advances in technology because they don't suit your lifestyle. Just because they exist doesn't mean they're relevant. Or even better, time saving.

I finally broke and updated my laptop and since I got it, I've become addicted to Mah Jongg. A smart computer would realise I'm an addict and dump the program to save me from myself!

Looking forward to the next book review already!

Rae said...

Just looking at the cover, it doesn't look like "simpler living". Looks more like a Pier One advertisement. :)

Joleen said...

I totally agree with you too Paula. I'm striving for a simple life too. Making your home your sanctuary is a big step toward that.

Spiderjohn said...

I have the most simple of the simplest of cell phones. I only have this because the President of the company that I work for insists that I carry it and they provide it. Years and years ago I worked for another company where I was on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. No lie. This was before cell phones. I carried ( before they became cool and popular )a "beeper" ( no voice ) and then a pager ( voice ). When I went on vacation, I had to leave a number where I could be reached. I spent many hours on the phone while on vacation. Being on call for me meant going to work at anytime of the day or night and possibly working for 24, 30, or more hours without stopping. After eighteen years of that, when my pager would go off or the phone would ring at my house, I started getting physically ill, knowing that it might be work and I had to give it up! I'm not on call now with the company that I work for, but I have knowledge that nobody else has and sometimes they need it, otherwise I would not have a cell phone.... period!! People think that smart phones, iphones, whatever kind of phones are cool, but if they screwed with their lives 24 hours a day they would throw them away.