Simple is good, right? We all too much stuff, myself included, and it isn't always easy to part with our treasures. I get that. So, you might ask, how can you simplify your life without giving away everything you own and going off to live in the woods, as Henry David Thoreau did all those years ago? Here are a few tips on how to best live simply.
1. Reread Walden Pond. I know it's probably been a while since you've read this much-loved classic but perhaps today, in honor of its author's birthday, why not pick it up and reread it? "Thoreau chose to remove himself from society for two years to live as simply as possible in a cabin in the woods near Walden Pond and wrote his reflections of that time down in Walden. I also know that it's probably not realistic for you to go and live like a hermit as Thoreau did, but you can live vicariously through him and his inspiring book.
2. Unplug the tech. Yep, all of it. Give yourself a tech-free day; heck even a tech-free afternoon can help you tune in to real life rather than what's on Facebook. You’ll be surprised at how refreshing it can feel to not be constantly plugged into everything that’s going on in everyone else’s life—and I'm willing to bet that when you log into your social media tomorrow morning, you’ll find you didn’t miss much.
3. Declutter your home. Okay so you need to throw out (or give away or sell) some stuff but you needn't give away everything, "Use Simplicity Day as an excuse to take a long, hard look at all your various objects and figure out what’s really important to you vs. what’s just taking up space. Take everything that falls into the latter category and donate it — you’ll feel more comfortable in your home and you’ll have done a bonus good deed!" And if you have things to sell you might make yourself a little extra cash. But PLEASE don't be tempted to use it to buy more stuff. Set it aside in a savings account for a future vacation. or donate the loot to your favorite worthy charity. It is very freeing to declutter. Very freeing.
So why celebrate National Simplicity Day?
A. It's an excuse to unwind. "Our lives are constantly scheduled out between jobs, school, workouts, childcare, etc. and we often forget how taxing it can be to always be moving from one thing to the next. Simplicity Day gives us a chance to put all of those elements of our lives on pause, even if it’s just mentally, and focus on the importance of the simple things."
B. It celebrates getting out into nature (and that's always something to celebrate!) "For Thoreau, a big part of living simply was getting away from the distractions of everyday life by spending time in nature. That could be in the woods, by a lake, on a beach, you name it. Spending time in nature also happens to be one of those special, simple pleasures with an extra perk: it’s free!"
C. It's an ancient idea. Not all old ideas and ways are good, but this one sure is! "Although Simplicity Day is celebrated in honor of Thoreau, the principles behind it go back way further than the nineteenth century and span across many different cultures. From the founders of the yoga practice to monks of both eastern and western traditions, many groups of people through the ages have banded around philosophies that emphasized simplifying your life in both mental and material ways."
So how will you celebrate Simplicity Day? Me? I'm going to spend a little time clearing out my junk drawer. Everybody's got one and mine is overflowing. Then I'll go for a leisurly swim. Finally, later this afternoon, I intend to pick up my own copy of Walden Pond and begin rereading it. Perhaps I'll even introduce my little brother to it.
Whatever your plans are for today and the coming weekend, I hope that it does include a little solitude. It's always good for the soul and it helps the brain to recharge. Please join me back here on Monday. Until then,