Learning Joy in Simplicity

Friday, April 28, 2017

There's been a theme in our lives these past few weeks: What do we really need? Whether we are looking at what's really necessary in keeping the garden going, how many rainy days we are counting on, how little of my closet I actually wear, what food we actually eat that we bring home from the grocery store.... What is really the most valuable? That's what we need to keep.
I seem to get flustered, overwhelmed easily. So I compartmentalize and take things one step at a time. I put on this fa├žade that everything is going alright, meanwhile, I make ten different lists and lose them umpteenth times and never know what I really should be doing. It's a big reason why I haven't written much lately. It's a big reason why we are here where we are right now. Other than knowing this is where we are meant to be, that "trait," if you will, of mine caused us to get here in a way we didn't really plan on.
So we streamline. We move into a tiny home. And over the past 4 months we've learned what's really necessary. What are we doing that we shouldn't be, things that are killing our joy? What should we be doing, things which are life-giving, give us meaning and passion?
Well... things.... we don't need these "things." That's a big part of this process. I have learned that living tiny resonates so much more with a happy, abundant life, than living in a 1600 square foot house (Still a "small" house, relatively speaking in the U.S.) Why? It causes you to purge, to get rid of stuff. Or at least, out of sight, out of mind, for the time being, as everything is in boxes in our garage. We've lived without it for four months, we probably never needed it in the first place.
So we simplify. This past week I have taken who know how many items out of my closet because I never get around to wearing what I have. We are creatures of habit, after all. I wear the same shirts, skirts, pants, week after week. And nobody really cares if you wear the same shirt two days in a row.. Right?! Simplifying my closet is one step. I'm thinking about a capsule wardrobe to continue to streamline the clothes... We will see...

Taylor saying "hi" to the flowers in his own garden

Taylor pulled a radish from the big garden
to see how it was doing!
Rows of beans! (Ignore those weeds. It's a process)
Another step is to not fuss over trying to get into even more debt getting the newest tractor on the line with the best implements - RIGHT AWAY- so that we can from the get-go feel on top of this whole farming thing. And I say that, but it's so much more than that. We can't right now, and we don't need to. We are learning a simpler way of doing things, and sometimes it seems like it's all for naught. And then on a day like yesterday, Taylor pulls out a baby radish, a baby carrot, we see a green tomato growing on the vine, and it's still growing. The abundant rains we've gotten lately, the sunshine... this first season on our farm is still going to come. It just looks a little different than we'd like. But then again, that will likely always be the case. Although it would help, we don't need the fancy machinery right now, we just need to rent a tiller for a day, and use some good old tools by hand... And now as I look out on our quite large patch, I think I have a deeper appreciation for what's there, rather than the slim satisfaction you'd get if a machine did it for you. There's so much joy in that.
Speaking of machines, our laundry routine is different. And I am actually loving it. I find joy in washing our clothes and Taylor's diapers in the tub, rinsing and swishing the soap, doing laundry the way it was done decades ago, because there was no other option. Getting clothes down from the line is therapeutic. Even hanging them up is. And Taylor loves those clothespins as much as I do, as he pulls them apart when they fall every so often..
We've learned to find joy in doing things just a little bit different than one would expect, maybe different from everyone else. Maybe it just comes when you do laundry this way, look at your closet that way, clean the garden another way, for over time and you don't see a need for the "conventional" way of doing things. Even though this may take more time and is more hands-on, there is more joy that comes in the work and the end result. There is so much freedom that comes when you are not attached to a washing machine to do all the work for you, as you know more of what it takes to get your clothes clean, and you appreciate the clean clothes that much more. (It also leads to purging your closet, leaving less clothes to clean!)
Taylor reading his books. Another part of this
whole thing: Taylor has more books than toys,
or anything else for that matter. Stick to what's
Living with a little less space and stuff is freeing. It's just a bit simpler, but it's a good bit, too. I am much happier in our tiny house than we were in a 1600 square foot house. Maybe part of that is because we are closer to town and we are on our property -- I don't have to drive 25 minutes to the store anymore, it's just around the corner. But a bigger part of that is because we are happy with less. We don't need more things. We need to get rid of more things. I've found so much joy in getting rid of things lately. Every time I take a bag or box of stuff into the "sale/donate" side of the garage lately I breathe a little easier. Every time I look in the closet and see a couple dozen more empty hangers I smile! It's really freeing having less clutter and less things biding your time and resources.
And once you start, it's hard to stop... Simplifying your life in turn gives you your life back. Things no longer rule you. It's really an incredible concept. You don't need a bigger house to be happy, you need less stuff. There is so much JOY found in simplicity (even as a process). Isn't that incredible to think about?!!

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