A Shropshire lass who went away and a New Yorker who came to stay

When life isn’t all that simple

39538300 - simple or complicated written on a blackboard

The thing about simplicity is that doing it can be so – complex. Like everyone else, I’m doing a degree of fake it until you make it. I even buy things to aid my efforts at simplicity; my kitchen is a testament to this – a blender; coffee grinder; several types of grill pans. Of course, all of this stuff just means my cupboards are organised chaos. For example, a grater is perched precariously behind a stack of six bowls, which means inevitably every time I need that grater I have to move those six bowls and no, the grater cannot sit anywhere else. It isn’t that simple.

When is life simple? I believe human beings have a brief window of reprieve from 0-9 months then it just gets more difficult. Oh, some of us manage to school ourselves in simplicity: monks, misanthropes, the rest of us muddle through trying to pare back the layers of our daily existence. Happy to have simplicity sold back to us as a commodity.

I love buying those magazines declaring simplicity. It’s why we (my blog partner Lucy) and I chose to have ‘Simple’ in our blog title because it’s what we all yearn and strive for.

Digitally you get the feeling everything should be easier.  Online, there’s a treasure trove of things to do once your life becomes a heck of a lot simpler. YouTube fills in the gaps when I can’t find the answer on the first page of Google. I now pause for Instagram moments and Twitter.

Plus, I’m a keen pinner. Pinterest is the mood board of my life. My over-40s fantasies of DIY, pretty clothing I want to copy, older women I admire, hobbies I want to do, 8-min exercise routines – which I’ll get around to when I have the mental space.

Of course, somehow, it’s elusive. On a regular basis I’ve managed to divert myself away from the very thing I need – a simple life. I should have defined it at the beginning of this piece, but I presume everyone roughly defines it the same: having just what you need in order to lead a balanced life. This means time for all the activities I enjoy, time to spend with my loved ones and time to try new things and, obviously, a way to support myself financially. Except for the latter (that struggle is for another post), I’m doing it – I go for long walks, I run, I bike, I swim, I’m learning to sew and to play tennis and I do yoga.

So have I cracked it? In the words of Father Jack, “Arse!” It’s a daily slough to do the right thing to keep my life simple. The de-motivational imps that live in my head are always at it: “Have another cup of coffee and biscuit, go for a run tomorrow and anyway it’s raining”, “Job hunt? What? Now? Nah luv, you have to be talented for that” “Write that blog, why? What’s so interesting about your life?”

My nighttime pre-sleep activity is usually a whirlwind of thought. Any success getting rid of a single worry is quickly supplanted by yet another. I am a therapist to a conveyor belt of admittedly first-world worries: I’m getting old, what should I do with the rest of my life? Does my arse look big in this? Am I a good mother? And on and on…

I’m convinced that if you manage to drift off to sleep in a calm state without aid of drugs then I say you’ve found the answer to the enigma wrapped in a question – how to lead a simple life?  I remain on the hunt. Plainly, it’s all about the journey. I’ll curate and distill the discoveries, the solutions, with  “Our Simple Edit” blog.

Categories: Life

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