Archive for the ‘simplicity’ Category

Simple Living, Revisited

November 25, 2010

If you’ve been following my adventures over the years, you may remember hearing me talk about the concept of voluntary simplicity, or simple living. I wrote a post about it on this blog in October 2007, The Satisfaction of Enough. At the time I felt it was one of the most important/meaningful posts I’d ever written, and I remember being a bit disappointed by the lack of response from my readers (all 10 or so of them)–though it did bring out of the woodwork a kindred spirit that I’m still in touch with, though we’ve never met in person (hi, Leigh!).

I gradually “forgot” about simplicity again after I wrote that post. Although I was reading blogs like Zen Habits and The Simple Dollar that were based on similar philosophies, I guess I figured, “I moved abroad with only two suitcases – how much simpler can one get?” But somewhere along the way, while “simplicity” morphed into a whole new movement called “minimalism,” I bought an apartment and furnished/equipped it, mostly by filling those same two suitcases with more things every time I went back to the States. (Amazingly, the TSA agents hardly blinked an eye when they had to hand-search my carry-on because it contained a stainless-steel stockpot!)

After my fiancĂ©, Roberto, moved in with me in July of this year, I tried not to take it personally when people would sometimes ask him how it was going, and he’d say “Fine, but the apartment’s too small.” Around the same time I read an article in the New York Times about how buying things doesn’t make us happy (“Duh,” was my general reaction). The article led me to the blog of a woman mentioned in the article, and then to a whole slew of new minimalism-related blogs that had cropped up while I was busy filling my new apartment with stuff. And I turned to Roberto one night and said, “The apartment’s not too small, we have too much stuff! (And haven’t figured out where to put anything.)” Intrigued, he agreed, and I started telling him more about this whole concept of simple living/minimalism. We now often talk about the choices we make regarding our spending, etc. in terms of minimalismo, and are slowly beginning to work on paring down our possessions as well as better organizing the ones we want to keep.

I’m hoping you’ll come along for the ride as Roberto and I begin our life together, motivated by minimalism, travel, and so much more–we have a lot of exciting plans in the works, and I hope that in some way we can inspire others just as we have been inspired. Stay tuned!


The Satisfaction of Enough

October 1, 2007

When I hit a wall with the whole work thing this weekend, I somehow ended up engrossed in organizing my online bookmarks instead. I came to the folder marked “simple living” and spent a little time going back to some of the websites I’d checked out a few years ago and for some reason had stopped visiting with any regularity. I’ve had a few brief, intense periods of being really interested in this concept of “voluntary simplicity,” which some of you may know if you’ve been paying attention over the years. I’m not sure what started it—I think it may have been a book my friend Annie gave me after I’d shown interest in it during a visit to her house—it was a kind of workbook for simplifying your life. I never actually went through the steps, but did read the author’s other book, Choosing Simplicity, and thought a lot about how some of the ideas it presented applied to my own life. Then time passed, and I got distracted by other things. When I was living in New Jersey, I came back to it, browsing some of the books at the library near my parents’ house and eventually buying my own copy of Your Money or Your Life. I read it cover-to-cover in just a few days, going so far as to write down my responses to some of the questions it asks but not actually working through the steps methodically. Maybe I will someday.