Have you ever stopped to take a look around you and noticed all the “noise?” I don’t mean all the sounds around you necessarily, though they can definitely be a factor. I mean the “noise” of life: our gadgets, our calendars, our emails, our smartphones, our commitments, our meetings, our calls…I’m sure as you are reading that list you are throwing your own personal “noise” into the list as well.
I’ve seen all the self-help books that encourage you to delete your social media accounts, get rid of your cellular plans and rely solely on wi-fi, cancel your cable, ride a bike to work, make your own laundry detergent, spend 12 hours a day working on your compost pile…all splendid ideas, for the right person.
Those things are not for me.
I like my social media accounts, I love staying in touch with friends and family. I like the comfort of knowing no matter where I am or what is going on I can pick up my phone and call my husband, or my mom, or my best friend Megan. I like watching sports, I don’t want to miss the Super Bowl or the Masters. Riding a bike to work in my town is like having a death wish, I swear every week someone is hit on their bicycle just heading to their office. I like my Tide™ Free & Clear detergent, I like that it smells nice and that it doesn’t break my son out. We struggle remembering to take the garbage to curb for trash day at our house, do you think we’d honestly remember to go put scraps in a compost bin?
What I’m learning in life right now though is that living a more “simple life” is not necessarily that checklist of things to do, or not do, but a way of being.
Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “It is desirable that a man live in all respects so simply and preparedly that if an enemy takes the town…he can walk out the gate, empty-handed, and without anxiety.”
Something that I have had to learn is that living simply does not mean attempting to get by with as little as you possibly can. It is about seeing how efficiently you can live when you prioritize your life better.
Kilroy Oldster is a trial attorney who went through somewhat of a midlife crisis and started a blog. He ended up writing a book called Dead Toad Scrolls. This book is really a bunch of personal essays combined to make a person consider the purpose of life. There are quite a few lines in the book that I find to be “quotable” and one such line goes along perfectly with the intent of this post.
“The simple life is an authentic life.”
And maybe that’s what the simple life boils down to.
Maybe it’s not necessarily about deleting your social media accounts, but instead being “real” with what you put out there for the world to see. Between the filters and the photoshop apps, it’s hard sometimes to even tell what people look like anymore. I especially love the folks who say #nofilter when they post a picture and yet they are literally glowing.
Come on people.
Life has shifted over the years from our futile attempts to “keep up with the Joneses” to now “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” And I’m guilty of a lot of that. I do have the coffee table book about their lives! I do NOT watch their shows though. Even if I do feel like Khloe and I would be best friends in real life, just saying.
In our constant barrage of reality tv, the truth is, we’ve lost a sense of reality in our society.
I read an article recently that talked about the top 101 ways to live a simple life. It made me laugh that it literally took a list of 101 things to do to live a “simple” life. Adding, changing, subtracting 101 things in your life does not seem simple at all, in fact, it seems like a full-time job to me. But as I read through the list there were a dozen things that stuck out to me. And they were not things that required a complete overhaul of my life and living off the grid, or sewing my clothes out of leaves. Let’s be honest, I’m a big girl and that’s just not a pleasant thought for anyone.
What I realized as I read this article was that over the past year or so, we have already begun incorporating some of these ideas in our lives and I can attest at how much easier they have made our lives at times.
Prep meals for the week ahead of time.
Every time you buy something new, get rid of something old.
Adopt an attitude of gratitude.
Spend time outdoors as much as possible
Listen more than you talk.
Have friends who inspire you.
Become a warrior, not a worrier.
Speak gently to people.
Always tell the truth.
Ask for help when you need it.
Keep an open mind
Over the summer, inspired by my friend Brittany, we began meal prepping. We’ve tried this in the past, rather unsuccessfully I might add. But we started it back up this summer and it has made life so much easier. We don’t stress about having time to run and get breakfast before work or debating on what to grab for lunch. We’ve started eating healthier as a result of being able to think through what we are buying and cooking. And we’ve saved money. Fast food is ridiculously expensive to just be clogging our arteries…just saying.
With a 21-month-old, it feels like we are buying a new wardrobe every 2 months or so. Seriously he’s a giant like his Daddy and his foot is bigger than my hand. Go ahead and add our future grocery bill to your prayer list. What we have started doing each time we buy him new clothes is donating his gently used clothes that he has outgrown to friends with little ones, folks we hear about in need, the Salvation Army or most recently, our Junior League Bargain Sale where the proceeds go towards helping the children of New Hanover County where we live. I don’t say this for your applause, I say this to say, it has made our lives so much easier to remove the old, put in the new and help folks along the way. The clutter is less, the closets are more organized and it does feel good to know you helped someone else along the way.
Y’all, there is seriously so much we could complain about in life, and if you read social media, you know we do spend a lot of time doing it. And I get frustrated easily, it’s my downfall. I complain when my husband puts his dishes in the sink instead of the dishwasher (I’m just saying, they are right next to each other), I get annoyed when he lets the trash pile up, I find it insane when I reach for the milk in the fridge and the jug is empty but he put it back in there tricking me to think we had some…you get my point. And then I cuddle up to him at night, so thankful for his comfort and his strong arms that always make me feel safe. I call him at the drop of the hat for any swing of emotion I feel. And I stop and realize, I’m so incredibly grateful for his presence in my life and his love makes me feel invincible. I can assure you on the days that I remember to have an attitude of gratitude, my pet-peeves seem so unimportant and we live so much more peacefully.
Almost 14 months ago, we moved to the coast of North Carolina from South Arkansas. Best move we have ever made (yes, we still miss our mothers). We love everything about our new hometown though, minus the traffic that makes zero sense-but I’m trying not to complain, remember? We spend a good chunk of every single day, less a hurricane or tropical storm here and there, outside. And we love it. Judd has fallen in love with the water as much as his Momma. And Daddy has gotten used to palm trees and sand. I don’t know if it’s the Vitamin D or what, but that extra time outside has made me so much calmer and more at peace. The view doesn’t hurt for sure.
I started working out with my friend Jaime a few months ago now. She’s an amazing trainer who tailors my workouts to what I can do, what I need to do and what I enjoy doing. I’ve fallen in love with rowing in the process. There’s plenty of days that I have no desire to go to her studio to workout, though I always enjoy spending time with her and chatting, but, you know how it goes when you are tired, or cranky, or don’t feel good, working out is the last thing on your mind. But I have never once left there regretting that I had gone. I’ve lost some inches and dropped some pounds, gained a lot of muscle and increased my strength. I have a long way to go to achieve the level of fitness that I desire but it has instilled a stronger work ethic in me to achieve that dream, and I feel so much better already.
When I tell you I have the very best friends in the world, it is not cliché, and no your friends are not better.
I seriously have a tribe of amazing people around me who do nothing but encourage me, empower me, challenge me, make me laugh, cry with me, are strong for me, guide me and love me no matter what, when or how it is needed. We have a text group that texts all day/every day with my friends from college, I Snapchat with my childhood best friend every day, I live with very best friend in the entire world, my husband, our little boy has more faux aunts and uncles than he has real ones and my Momma is still my confidant and biggest cheerleader.
I’ve been blessed.
They all make life so much easier. I never feel alone. I never have to face anything alone. I worry less because I have my warriors in my corner. I’ve learned to listen more through mothering because it is so glaringly obvious I don’t have all the answers, but they always do. I’ve learned that I can send an SOS text in any crisis and at least one of them is hopping on a plane to get to me.
I’ve learned that living honestly and authentically removes all fear, all anxiety and all stress over what has been said or done. I’ve learned in marriage to speak gently, anything said in anger or harshly is unproductive and removes the joy from a relationship.
And if nothing else, the world has taught me to have an open mind.
When you are in a biracial marriage you learn quickly that the world doesn’t all think the way you do, and that’s OK, as long as we can be open to our differences and see the beauty in the lives we all lead.
So, go delete your Facebook accounts if you want. If not, go follow “Pearls and Vodka” and keep up with your friends and family, you’ll be thankful for the memories later on in life.
 Thoreau, H. D. (1908). Walden, or, Life in the woods. London: J.M. Dent.