Why is Simple Living NOT so SIMPLE?

11 Sep 2015

I love success stories of simple living. These “testimonials” constantly helped to convince me that simple living is doable. Stories from individuals who left their high-paying jobs, downsized their living spaces, live frugally, travelled and probably still on the move around the world are often inspirational. They also gave me a little nudge in my journey towards simple living. However, such diverse lifestyle interpretations of simple living also left me feeling overwhelmed at times, as these “extreme” (from my personal perspective) actions seem impossible, even unreal.

Isn’t it ironical that simple living should seem so complex and difficult? If you are new to simple living (like me), it may be useful to keep in mind that

Simple Living is…

Subjective. There is no model answer. While constantly travelling in a caravan may suit the personality and dreams of adventurous individuals, others may prefer a more stable and self-sufficient lifestyle through farming. And for full-time employees like me, we will probably need a different interpretation.

Insightful. While foods, clothing and shelter are essential for survival, overemphasis on acquiring material possessions may shift our focus away from more important matters in life. Decluttering our minds (not just physical possessions) ultimately frees us to reflect on more important aspects of life.

Meaningful. Identifying our priorities in life ensure that we lead more meaningful lives. We have probably been reminded to live a life with no regrets. (You may be interested to read reflections on Lessons from Death.)

Progressive. Simple living is work-in-progress. We may have a long way to go, if we aspire to work towards one of the success stories. Hence, it may be useful to set achievable intermediate goals to help us stay focus. When life situations change, we may have to modify our simple living arrangements. E.g., a newfound relationship may demand open communications to come to a consensus on how simple living may be achievable for both.

Love. Simple living reflects not just love for ourselves, but also for others and the environment. It is a lifestyle towards self-care, quality time with loved ones and greener environment.

Enjoyable. Any lifestyle changes will likely bring inconvenience and discomfort. As the saying goes, No Pain No Gain? However, simple living should ultimately improve our lives. If simple living is accompanied with prolonged pain, this may be an indication that we need to stop and examine what we are doing.

These are my subjective view on what constitutes SIMPLE Living. “Subjective, Introspective, Meaningful, Progressive, Love and Enjoyable” highlight simple living as an internal process, and not just external processes of reducing physical clutter (which may be simpler). Is simple living simple for you?

Happy Weekends (in advance), SLC


8 thoughts on “Why is Simple Living NOT so SIMPLE?

  1. Very inciteful article. I agree with you when you suggest that if the things you are doing towards Simple Living are painful, its time to re-examine what you are doing. When we work against the flow, it becomes painful, so going with the flow will allow us to adapt our lifestyle when what we are doing no longer is working for us.
    I’m looking forward to reading more articles, keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Thank you for your sharing! You have highlighted an important point, that is, simple living requires a deliberate effort to be mindful of our daily activities. I shall continue to learn and work towards simple living. Hope that I will experience a sense of joy someday as well! Happy Weekends 🙂


  4. I have noticed that it does get easier as I move through my daily activities. I have to be mindful to be mindful that I know that whatever it is I do, I do with Simple Living in mind. After a while things just seem to flow to the point where you start feeling a sense of joy.

    Liked by 1 person

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