Ep. 88: No & Yes

It’s a new season of The Simple Show! And today’s the day when I finally get to pull back the curtain on what we’ll be talking about for awhile.

I started podcasting six years ago, when this blog had a different moniker and so the podcast did, too. Then it morphed into The Art of Simple Podcast, and that lasted a good while. …But then and I parted company with the people I created the show with, and went out on my own.

The podcast reset button was hit with The Simple Show, a new thing I created when my family and I came back from our world travels. I pretty much kept the same premise—me interviewing other people. The broad topic was asking them, What does it look like for you to pursue a simpler life?

It worked for awhile.

But then. Y’all… I got tired. I really did. I still loved the wholeness and goodness and ethics behind pursuing a simpler life, but I really felt like I just wanted to talk about… other stuff. I wanted to live out that simple life by actually just living it, and soaking in the things that make life worth it. This included in my work, which, of course, included the podcast.

coffee friends

So, I recruited three friends, and asked them to commit to recording our chats for a year. Let’s talk about books, travel, and life at home—three big things in my own life, and what I guessed were things in lots of people’s lives. A topic each of them would also enjoy diving deep into. Gratefully, they said yes.

And so, this is what last season of The Simple Show looked like, and it was really good. It rekindled in me a love for podcasting that had gotten buried somewhere in the shoulds and obligations of my work. These conversations helped me remember a little bit why I loved creating stuff on the internet in the first place.

As we looked into the next season—this upcoming season—I asked, What does a podcast called The Simple Show look like? I mean, after all, simple is in the title—do we go back to talking about this nebulous thing called ‘simple living’?

I wasn’t sure. I’m still a big believer in it—and I still love my definition of it—but I legitimately wasn’t sure I had anything else to say on the topic. After all, simplifying is a means, not an end, and while I find it a worthwhile pursuit, I recognized more than ever what a gray thing it is.

The older I get, the fewer blacks-and-whites I see in life. Most of our days are spent in the freedom of the gray.

walking street arrow

I’ve written online for almost a decade about the poetry and the feet-on-the-ground of simplifying. Do I still even agree with what I once said back in fall of 2008 or spring of 2010?

Pursuing a simple life actually comes from a place of privilege—it just does. What does that mean, then, about how we wield this topic wisely, responsibly, humbly, and with a teachable posture?

These were all the questions rattling around in my brain as I thought about what The Simple Show should look like moving forward.

And then I realized… Maybe these very questions were the very things to talk about on the podcast. What would that look like?

I still wanted a framework for our conversations—a way for my co-hosts and I to engage in a topic that was to the point and a good use of your time, dear listener. I wanted them enjoyable but without mincing words, curated without too much polish. I wanted authenticity, candor, and humor.

Ultimately, I wanted the topic to be relevant to you. I wanted our conversations to be relatable. And then I thought of something.

The most tangible way I think we all experience the reality of simplifying life in the day-to-day is how we choose to say yes and no to the things in our life.

city walking

Let’s face it—our days are spent making thousands of decisions, and a bit at a time, it’s from the choices we make that we carve out a life. What we say yes and no to matters, possibly more than anything else.

To take it a step further—most of our decisions don’t involve black or white decisions. They lie in the gray. They look like deciding between all good things. They look like distinguishing what’s good from what’s best.

Where we live.

What work we pursue.

How we allocate our money.

What forms of entertainment we engage in.

How we improve and maintain our health.

How we educate our children.

How we educate ourselves.

How we cultivate our relationships.

This is where the bulk of life is lived. And in deciding what matters with all of these things (and more), the approach that seems most effective, most streamlined, most universally applicable is a little thing called essentialism.

Saying no to the 99% of life that’s not for us so we can say yes! to the part that is.

Are we great at living this out in our lives? Hell to the no. But we’re sure as ready to give it a try. And we want to talk about it.

simple show podcast cohosts

My three co-hosts are back: Stephanie Langford, Erin Loechner, and Haley Stewart, and we’re also welcoming a fourth! Kendra Adachi is sliding into Simple Show rotation, and I couldn’t be happier about this line-up.

Welcome to a new season of The Simple Show! In this episode, we talk about what we’ll be talking about the rest of the year.

the simple show podcast art

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