Simplicity

B4C0A454-579E-47EC-B306-E76CD25BDF24The smaller you live (materially-speaking), the bigger you can live (creatively-speaking). — Elizabeth Gilbert

I wish I had known these word earlier in my life, but then I would not have had the experiences to make the words valid. Living a small simple life provides me the freedom to live my life the way I choose to live, and a foundation now based upon simplicity keeps that bond strong.

I have not always lived in this manner. For a good part of my early life I lived rather high on the hog. Part of this was due to my own views of life and part of it was due to my wanting to please others, my wife and my ego. I lived a life I enjoyed at the time only because I thought it was the way things were meant to be. I played the game of keeping up with the Jones without even knowing them.

The change came about suddenly. I found myself in perpetual debt paying for a life I could not afford and working in a job I did not like in order to try to pay for that life. My life had become full of stuff and the maintenance and use of that stuff was costing me more than I could afford in both time and money. Yea, I liked going skiing on the weekends, attending tennis camps during the summers, and membership in the local health club, but it all came at a cost I could not afford. I was living the champagne life on less than a beer budget.

When I left my corporate job, I gave away all the stuff I had accumulated, paid off my bills, and started over from scratch. Before every purchase, I would calculate the numbers of hours I had to work for that item. Was a television or car worth the number of hours I had to work to pay for it? No! became a more familiar word in my vocabulary. I found I did not need or even want those things which filled my previous life anymore. I rode a bike. I worked at a job I loved in a bookstore. Those material things which at one time defined me were no longer a part of my life.

I found myself with free time for the first time since I graduated from college. I discovered things I was interested in doing rather than doing things because everyone else was doing them and because I thought they gave me a certain status. I stopped caring what other people thought and stopped worrying about their judgements. In simplifying my life I found the time and space for my creative energy to be born and more important, I shed all the masks I had worn and found myself sitting quietly alone waiting to be discovered.