I love the word "simplify." Just looking at it makes me feel tidy, uncluttered. I used to think simplifying meant only shedding possessions, to own as little as possible. While subtracting is part of the concept, I have come to learn that simplifying is, ironically, more complicated. After an intense two years of extreme family events, I have sharpened my desire to live in a way that is best for my family and me. My husband, Mark, and I have determined that creating the simpler life we desire requires us to change our environment. Doing so, however, means our lives will become more complicated in the short term.
Mark and I have decided to sell our beloved home of eighteen years. No longer concerned with good public schools, we are free to live anywhere we choose. We realize that much of what was important to us eighteen years ago has been replaced with new requirements for a new life stage. Still, there are many aspects of our current home that we want to keep.
1. We want no yard. As much as our family enjoyed our large back yard over the years, we are done with spending time and money on it. The swing set is long gone, balls are no longer kicked or thrown there, and the Tarzan rope broke many years ago.
2. We want a different layout than our traditional colonial. Mark and I have clarity about our home office needs and space requirements. We love having a full house with our children and guests, and a different layout would suit everyone better.
3. We want newer. We have loved the charm and workmanship of our older homes the past quarter century, but we are ready for newer everything, including layout. With age has come a desire for shinier and easier to maintain.
1. Remain on the subway line. There is no faster way to get downtown.
2. Remain in our Maryland county. Sure, the taxes are high but the services and amenities are excellent.
3. Remain close to friends. After so many years, our friends have become family.
With the above criteria in mind, we have found a few communities that will be a good fit for us. Now comes the complicated part: clearing out two home offices, craft supplies, hundreds of books (most for professional use), exercise equipment (most not used), kitchen equipment (most not used), and clothes (most not used). Then there is painting a few rooms, making a few repairs, getting the large yard looking good again. To say this is a pain in the tush is an understatement, but with each book given away, each exercise apparatus sold, and each room painted, we are closer to our simpler life.
Everyone has their own idea of simplifying. What is yours? Are you living it now? If not, what will it take to achieve your simpler life? Like my lists above, decide what you want to keep and what you want to change. Gaining clarity is a first step toward simplifying.
As with most major life decisions, simple doesn't happen with a snap of the fingers, but happen it will. I'm in the life-is-getting-more-complicated part of my simplification, but I'm betting it will all be worth it. Stay tuned.