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Thread: Its tough to live simply sometimes, the spiral of change.....

  1. #11
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    To me it seems that there are three different conflicting things you're trying to attain. Minimalism, simplicity, and zen.

    I travel a lot for work and one of the things I love about it is the simplicity and zen. I walk into a hotel room and everything is just there, all ready for me. No cleaning or chores. In the morning I leave to go do my work and in the afternoon I come back and the bed is made, the towels hung up, the trash emptied, etc. All I have to do is change into casual clothes, turn on the computer if I need to do work, whatever. When it's time for dinner I go to a nearby restaurant and food appears at my table 10-15 minutes later. Then I can go back to the hotel, read or whatever, and then go to bed. Plenty simple. Plenty zen. But nothing minimalist about it when one thinks about all the people working behind the scenes to make this all happen, not to mention the credit card charges on my corporate card.

    Minimalism and simplicity can be achieved. But as Miss Cellane spelled out so well, there's nothing particularly zen about it. It's a lot of work. Perhaps for someone who doesn't work outside the home or have a small child it could feel zen to make minimizing and keeping things simple a core part of one's activities, but most people, like me, have lots of other commitments like work and everything that is done to keep house feels like a chore. I mean, really, after being away for work for 10-11 hours the last thing I want to do is come home and bake bread or watch clothes drying on a rack. What on earth am I working my butt off for if I can't at least splurge on the natural gas it takes to just toss the clothes in the dryer for an hour and be done with the laundry. Our gas and electric combined only runs $40/month. It would take a massive amount of willpower on my part to put up with the work required to not use the dryer. If I did those types of activities my life would be reduced to just work and house chores. Fine for some people, but for me, no thanks. Once I retire I will re-evaluate, but not now.

    The closest I ever came to achieving all three, minimalism, zen and simplicity was when I lived alone in a tiny (250 sq foot) studio apartment in midtown manhattan from my early 20s to mid 30s. My job was a 15 minute walk from home and not terribly stressful. Nor did it require or expect much overtime. I could wake at 8am, be at work by 9, and be home by 5:15. That left me nearly 7 hours of evening free time. And since my apartment was so small my cleaning and laundry routine was basically 3 hours one evening every other week. I'd take the laundry to the laundromat, come back and clean the bathroom. Go back to the laundromat and move everything to a couple of dryers. Come home and clean the kitchen, mop the bathroom and kitchen floors. Go pick up the dry laundry, come home and fold it and put it away. Then I'd vacuum the living room rug and do a light dusting. And that was it. The next 13 days the only chore I had was cleaning the kitty litter box. With 7 hours of free time every evening I could focus on cooking stuff from scratch and it felt like fun, not a tiring chore. After all I still had time to go for a bike ride every evening (including on laundry/cleaning night), could spend hours reading books every day, go out to meet friends for a drink or movie, etc.

  2. #12
    Senior Member sylvia's Avatar
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    Im not sure what you are referring to Gardenarian as "three fold meaning ?"

  3. #13
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I've always said that my idea of simplicity is to live in a hotel. You summed it up perfectly, jp1.

  4. #14
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp1 View Post
    The closest I ever came to achieving all three, minimalism, zen and simplicity was when I lived alone in a tiny (250 sq foot) studio apartment in midtown manhattan from my early 20s to mid 30s. My job was a 15 minute walk from home and not terribly stressful. Nor did it require or expect much overtime. I could wake at 8am, be at work by 9, and be home by 5:15. That left me nearly 7 hours of evening free time. And since my apartment was so small my cleaning and laundry routine was basically 3 hours one evening every other week. I'd take the laundry to the laundromat, come back and clean the bathroom. Go back to the laundromat and move everything to a couple of dryers. Come home and clean the kitchen, mop the bathroom and kitchen floors. Go pick up the dry laundry, come home and fold it and put it away. Then I'd vacuum the living room rug and do a light dusting. And that was it. The next 13 days the only chore I had was cleaning the kitty litter box. With 7 hours of free time every evening I could focus on cooking stuff from scratch and it felt like fun, not a tiring chore. After all I still had time to go for a bike ride every evening (including on laundry/cleaning night), could spend hours reading books every day, go out to meet friends for a drink or movie, etc.
    Livin' the dream!
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

  5. #15
    Senior Member Gardenarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sylvia View Post
    Yes it's been work to tackle the challenge of living simply. To rewire your thinking, change your habits, most decisions have three fold meaning...
    From this line - I don't know what that means.
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. -- Gandalf

  6. #16
    Senior Member sylvia's Avatar
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    Yes I see three fold meaning is what you ask yourself, do I need it? can I live without it? will I regret getting it?. I think maybe if I find a way achieve simplicity without overthinking every single consequence of should I hand wash the dishes, machine wash them or just get paper plates to just give myself a break.Perhaps there are many ways of a stay at home mom achieving Zen. Take a walk with the baby and just be with nature while unfinished chores are waiting, or do chore first but then miss the moment, or try to just drop it and meditate. Then I want to be more green about my home so I cook mostly from scratch but then there is such a mess again. So in conclusion we cant always be simple, nor efficient nor minimalist. But we can always try.So that is the challenge of simplicity and the three fold meaning. Hope this answers your question. I appreciate you pondering to understand.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    I can pin my search for quiet and simplicity to my retirement and I used minimalism as a technique to bring it about. My life was cluttered with things and responsibilities. Lots of things at home and lots of responsibilities for the outcomes that bring resolution to people's lives in some of the most challenging situations imaginable. During my last few years at work I was responsible to make progress in unsolved homicides, cold cases if you will. Some were really complex and required a complete reexamination of the evidence. One case had over 600 items of evidence and included the skeletal remains of the victim. Yes, the evidence room contained the victim's body.

    To be assigned to make progress in cases that were abandoned was a burden. So upon my retirement I was searching for a way to peel away from those responsibilities and concentrate on myself without feeling guilty about my own abandonment of other people's hopes for resolution.

    I was drinking way too much, I was not sleeping well and I was overweight. I began searching for a book on simple living for answers. It had to be a simple book. Many of the books I found were large complex behemoths. I couldn't think of anything more contrary than a large complex book on simplicity.

    And then I found , "The Path to Joy and Freedom......Simple Living". By a Franciscan Native American ...Jose Hobday. I thought , who would know more about simple living than her? All in less than 100 paperback pages.

    I could not summarize hers words any simpler than she has so I will quote, and though she is gone now...I will thank her for showing me a way to obtain quiet, peace and resolution myself.

    Simplicity

    "Simplicity is one of those great words that can't be defined easily. But it can be described and it can be distinguished from things that just look a little like it. If we persevere, we can recognize simplicity when we experience it in others and, more importantly, when we practice it.
    "Simple living is not about elegant frugality. It is not really about deprivation of whatever is useful and helpful for our life. It is not about harsh rules and stringent regulations. To live simply, one has to consider all of these and they may be included to some degree, but simple living is about freedom. It's about a freedom to choose space rather than clutter, to choose open and generous living rather than a secure and sheltered way.
    "Freedom is about choices: Freedom to choose less rather than more. It's about choosing time for people and ideas and self-growth rather than for maintenance and guarding and possessing and cleaning. Simple living is about moving through life rather lightly, delighting in the plain and the subtle. It is about poetry and dance, song and art, music and grace. It is about optimism and humor, gratitude and appreciation. It is about embracing life with wide-open arms. It's about living and giving with no strings attached."



  8. #18
    Senior Member Gardenarian's Avatar
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    Okay, Sylvia, got it. Yes, so many questions and so many options!

    As to housekeeping, I have an established routine - which keeps me from having to question every little thing. Ditto with food - I avoid most prepared food, but will buy things like canned organic beans to make things a little easier.

    I am not a person who enjoys housework. I have heard they exist...somewhere....

  9. #19
    Senior Member Cypress's Avatar
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    I am curious on how to live simply with multiple people in the household. I am a solo SNL and only have myself to keep on track. How on earth do folks keep to a simple life style surrounded by people with different preferences.

    I reuse the wax paper cereal liners for packing my lunch. I've had coworkers comment on that as being unusual. Some people seem to notice and comment when routine things are done simply, I don't know why but it seems to bring out a controlling comment. On my own, I can maintain the Zen and peace it brings, in groups, it falls apart.

    I started volunteering at a equine rescue nearby. I love a quiet morning at the barn doing chores. The other volunteers can be way too chatty and yackety yack. So, I go down the other end of the barn and just focus on the task. I hear comments, oh she's down the other end again, she's over there. If you do your own thing, it brings out attention not sought. Some folks get upset when you do your own thing.
    Here is a link to my blog page http://francesannwy.wordpress.com/

  10. #20
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    I am curious on how to live simply with multiple people in the household. I am a solo SNL and only have myself to keep on track. How on earth do folks keep to a simple life style surrounded by people with different preferences.

    I reuse the wax paper cereal liners for packing my lunch. I've had coworkers comment on that as being unusual. Some people seem to notice and comment when routine things are done simply, I don't know why but it seems to bring out a controlling comment. On my own, I can maintain the Zen and peace it brings, in groups, it falls apart.

    I started volunteering at a equine rescue nearby. I love a quiet morning at the barn doing chores. The other volunteers can be way too chatty and yackety yack. So, I go down the other end of the barn and just focus on the task. I hear comments, oh she's down the other end again, she's over there. If you do your own thing, it brings out attention not sought. Some folks get upset when you do your own thing.
    When you do your own thing I think that some people view it as you judging them in some way, which you might be doing (saying they are too chatty and such).

    When I tell people I don't drink, the first thing they assume is that I think I am better than them or I think I have a tougher constitution than them.

    Some simple living folks who live with complex living folks come up with zones. This room is to remain simple, this room you can clutter up, etc.

    It is a tough issue. Do you live with a family? Housemates?
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

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