Creating a simple life doesn’t happen overnight
You can’t de-clutter your entire house, find a perfect meal planning routine, and magically achieve family/work/life balance all in one day. Shocker, right? Simple living is a journey. As Tsh talks about in the new Upstream Field Guide, to make your life less complicated, you have to figure out who you are, what you value and then from that, you can craft the life you want.
It’s not an overnight process. It’s not a 30 day process. Meaningful goals and dreams take time to accomplish and changing your lifestyle to fit your values is a journey.
Maybe you don’t need that reminder, but I sure do. Every day, actually. It’s easy to get disappointed that I don’t have an efficient system for this, or I said yes to too many commitments again because I didn’t have my calendar organized.
It’s easy to look at someone like… ahem, Tsh… and feel like her level of organization and “simplicity” is unattainable. But, another way to look at it is that she’s simply five years ahead of me on her own journey of creating a simple life. When I look at it this way, I can then get excited and motivated thinking about how much progress I will have made in the next five years if I continue making intentional choices to create and sustain the habits, routines, and systems that will contribute to the lifestyle I want.
It helps me to think of it like going to college or taking any kind of class. I can’t take 20 classes in one semester. I can’t even take 10 classes in one semester. But, I can take three or four classes in one semester. I can take one bite at a time.
As a pregnant working mother, I should probably think of that more like one or two classes. But, that’s still progress. I can know that in five years, I will have made some of the significant lifestyle and habit changes that bring more simplicity and peace to my life.
For me, this has been the first time in a very, very long time where I’ve truly felt like I’m not in survival mode and I can be more intentional about the big picture and how to make small steps now to reach the bigger life-simplifying goals. I’ve been actively working through forgiving others to let go of internal clutter, healing from the trauma of my divorce, am no longer in the daily-drowning-extreme-survival-mode of single parenting and have gotten over some of the initial hurdles of being married again and having a blended family.
I say all that to acknowledge that there are so many different seasons of life, and you’ve got to be honest with yourself about where you are in your circumstances and your emotional health when you endeavor to “simplify your life.” Set yourself up for success by setting reasonable goals and not starting a million simplifying projects at once.
I’m not saying you shouldn't endeavor. I’m just saying that you shouldn't compare yourself to those who already have a master's degree, if you're still in the undergraduate School of Simplicity like me. Be honest with yourself, make meaningful changes, and don’t waste energy on comparison. Just focus on what you can do now, in your own life, to bring more simplicity into each day.
Do you struggle with comparing your level of "simple living" to others? Where are you focusing on making progress to create the life you want in this season of life?
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