Friday, May 14, 2010

radical simplicity

Life has been interesting this last week or so. I was going through a crisis period where I found myself wishing I had me a sugar daddy, that money would just fall out of the sky, and then BAM. We got what we needed, and I realized my longing for money, which I had initially dismissed as inherently evil, causing even greater tension within myself, was just a normal human thing, nothing to worry about.

I mean, I was chastising myself for wanting things like a house that looks somewhat finished! Hot and cold running water indoors! Money to pay off the last propane tank fill so we could get the next one! And maybe, just maybe, new running shoes. I'm a materialistic, greedy wench! ;)

It doesn't help that my spouse and I have entirely different attitudes towards money, and the handling of it. By most standards we should have been doomed a long time ago. But somehow through our differences we still see the value that lies within our family, and it is precious. But it ain't easy.

In the midst of it all I started reading Elaine St. James' book, Simplify Your Life. It came in a box of books I received from a local Facebook/Blogger friend (not the same one who brought the yeast; social media has been very good to me locally!) After the first few hints, I was almost laughing hysterically, while I realized "How could I simplify my life any further? If simplicity means getting rid of high heels and frequent restaurant dinners, I'm already way beyond there!"

I realize there are people out there living an overbooked, overly materialistic life. And the book was written in 1994, long before the bubble burst. But still...The Hermit and I were discussing the other day about bathroom plans, and we both decided why bother with an indoor toilet if we can get by (as we have, for seven years now) without one? Why defecate indoors? Why waste water flushing waste to a septic system? (we still will run washing and kitchen water to a graywater system)

I know, it sounds radical. But would it have sounded radical less than a hundred years ago, when outhouses were the norm and $20,000 mound septic systems were not required by law? Who decided we should not be able to make that choice? (Our township is one of the few where you can still make the choice in some circumstances)

Life as we know it is bound to get "simpler" whether we like it or not. For many of us, it's a paycheck away from involuntary simplicity. I don't have much time for magazines that preach simplicity but devote pages to expensive interior design and gadgets designed to help us "simplify" things. Real simplicity comes from living without, and making hard choices.


Sue said...

Yes. This.

Floridacracker said...

Are you being required to make a mound septic/drainfield now?

Your last paragraph is so true. The perception of what "simplicity" means really varies.

Penelope said...

Totally agree about the magazines! Thanks for sharing your insights.

Lausten North said...

I hadn't thought about the irony of giving you that book. Maybe I can get back the "Physics of Star Trek" from someone else who benefited from my book give away. A modest sized replicator might be more appropriate for you.

Jayne said...

I am one of those people Deb who fully admire your view of living life simply and having what you need. I've never been there/done that and am a very spoiled and soft individual in terms of my creature comforts. Maybe in my next life...

Deb said...

Sue- Yes for real simplicity!

FC- no, thank goodness, but if we had financed the building of this place through a bank I'm sure we would have. No building permits in this township...yet.

Penelope- I canceled my subscription to Natural Home- too many product endorsements, not enough substance.

Lausten North- Oh, but it has been good for laughs and for thinking how abnormal my life really is. :) I am enjoying The Tao of Pooh/The Te of Piglet. Thanks!

Jayne- but you have a wise soul and I admire your approach to life!

Deb said...

Oh, and I went on a clothes shopping spree at Kohl's today. I'll still consider it a simplicity thing considering how much money I saved! And I got my new running shoes. :)

edifice rex said...

Yeah, I have to laugh when I see what some people's idea of simplicity is. My brother went on and on about how they were getting back to basics and simplifying and turns out that meant he would cut his own grass and his wife would go to the salon to have her hair done rather than having the stylist come to her. ha!
I like seeing pics of your place because it makes me feel better to see other people that still have plywood floors!

barefoot gardener said...

Love this post!

So often I read books or articles about these things and get a sense of disjointedness. (is that even a word?) I never really think about how different my priorities and life are from the "norm" until something like this shoves it in my face. I just can't even imagine that kind of life.

Deb said...

Edifice- It's so hard to get the flooring done when you're already moved in, isn't it! The only thing I don't like is it's so hard to clean. Not that I spend much time cleaning. I suppose we could paint it for now, but then again that would take away a day or two in here.

Barefoot- I can't either. I never could have lived the "gated community" type life- it's just not REAL!