I always wanted to have a quiet, simple life. I thought if I worked hard enough and saved enough money, I’d be able to do it.
In some ways, this has been true.
What I didn’t realize, is that I was building a quiet, simple life along the way. If I had been more intentional and aware, I could have lived this way my entire life.
To have a quiet, simple life I must do simple things.
- Walk everyday. Multiple times if bored.
- Cook for myself.
- Stay off the Internet.
- Unplug phone, podcasts, limit screen time.
- Pet the dog and cat.
- Spend time outside – everyday – in all kinds of weather.
- Do my own maintenance whenever possible: Cut the lawn. Paint the walls. Clean the house.
- Do my own repairs when possible: troubleshoot electrical issues, repair plumbing, fix minor breaks and problems
- Make cheap or free activities my hobbies: drumming, exercising, walking, pets
- Live locally – more walking than driving, more contact with neighbors than distant friends, shop & socialize near home
I don’t try to relieve boredom (or sadness or fear or any other feeling) with a screen, a purchase or consumption.
Instead I try to savor the things I get to do.
When I do this, even vacuuming the living room or cutting the lawn brings me great pleasure.
It turns out that I’ve been living this way for most of my life.
When I was poor or broke I had no choice. I walked or biked or bused everywhere. I stayed close to home a lot. I made friends on my block or within walking distance. I hung out in free parks, played basketball at the neighbor’s hoop, bird books from the library, watched free TV (all 3 stations) and basically amused myself for no money.
When I was older and making money, I became ambitious. As I chased fame and fortune. I got off track. For a few decades I spent too much time worrying about money, making money and spending money.
Having lived both ways, I have found that the less I buy, the less I own and the less I spend, the happier my life has become.
I want less. I need less. I thrive on less. I would never have thought this was possible.