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August 12, 2021

A Simple Life, simply put, is the Key to Joy.

I can’t remember the first time my momma taught me about simplicity, but it was a lesson she bestowed emphatically.

Whilst everything is feeling a bit kerflooey at the moment, during what has been a whirlwind of a year, my adoration for simplicity is one thing that does not feel like it’s fallen apart.

I grew up with two parents who lavished upon their children. And, when our parents weren’t lavishing upon us, we were being spoiled by our grandparents. I can think of nothing I didn’t have during my childhood. My father worked (and continues to work) in a mentally gruelling profession to ensure material possessions were in constant, unwavering supply. My momma worked in another intellectually and physically challenging profession until I was about nine or ten years of age. At that time, she elected to become a stay-at-home momma to my sister and I.

“Blessed” has never been a more appropriate term than when describing my childhood.

Despite having every toy, trinket, and childhood luxury known to (wo)man, I grew up knowing that living simply and having an immense appreciation for the little things in life is invaluable to success and happiness.

The value of simplicity has been known for centuries, and I am fortunate to have a momma who bestowed this wisdom to her offspring.

Sometimes I get caught up in stuff, wanting stuff, and the allure of more stuff—cute, exciting, or pretty stuff, stuff filled with stuff, stuff to wear, eat, or watch—a house of stuff. But, my wise momma taught me that the addition of stuff does not necessarily add to happiness.

Each day, I find myself craving a more simple life. I want a house full of stuff, but not in the classic sense. I want my home stuffed with love, generosity, peace, joy, God, happiness, laughter, and comfort. I want the stuff of a simple life. It seems the more possessions I add to our home, the more empty it feels.

Recently, momma brought to light an excellent idea (there goes her wisdom again). She said, “Let’s leave the space empty until we find what we want to fill it.” With each passing day, I adore this idea more and more. Instead of a home filled with stuff for the sake of filling the corners, we’re going to leave those areas empty. I like to think that those nooks and crannies won’t truly be empty—they will be filled with laugher, love, and coziness. And until we find the perfect “stuff” that we will cherish, the corner shall house our love of simplicity.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ~ William Morris

Recently, I read an article in which the author equated a life of simplicity as a sign of laziness. If the house is empty, it must be because the family isn’t working hard enough to fill it. I know what my wise momma would say! Something along the lines of a more profane version of codswallop. I’m grateful that she raised me to believe in simplicity and I pity those who would read that same article, not have the wisdom passed on by their families, and think it’s true.

A simple life, simply put, is the key to joy.

The more stuff, the more problems seem to follow. Even adding “good stuff” can complicate life. Not too long ago, I realized I am the proud owner of at least five 55 litre totes full of books. I love books—holding them, reading them, smelling them. Collecting books is something I have enjoyed for many years.

There is nothing wrong with my love of books, and there isn’t anything particularly wrong about the five totes full. Generally, a love of books is viewed as a good thing. Be that as it may, this collection of mine isn’t bringing me joy. The truth is I’ve read less than a quarter of those books. I may be holding on to books that I would absolutely loathe once I cracked open their pages. So, why have them? They’re nothing more than dust collectors at the moment. Are they bringing me closer to the simple life I dream of? Nope.

The solution, forgive the pun, is simple. Approach the five totes with purging in mind!

I donated a plethora of books to my sister and the thrift store. I’m reading the ones left behind and, when I am through with reading them, I’m taking a hard look at them. Will I ever read them again? If yes, it will receive an honorary place on a bookcase. If no, they must leave my home. What good is it to me? The book has provided its purpose and so must move on. These books of mine are “good stuff,” but they aren’t aiding my pursuit of a simple life. What would bring me the most joy is knowing that the books are free from their plastic tote prison, nestled in the hands of someone who cherishes their words—or are proudly and simply housed on a bookcase for me to enjoy.

Right now, those books are junk. They look like old, discarded possessions that are useless or invaluable. They are filling a corner without bringing joy.

So, as my momma says, “Let’s leave that corner empty until we find what we want to fill it.”

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