Many believe that living a “Simpler Life” means unplugging from this crazy web of madness we call modern life. In many ways it does, but not to the degree of total disconnection. Going completely off grid in some remote location of the world can be liberating, but is also a hard life to live. The responsibility of self reliance on things like energy, clean water and food production can become not only a challenge but yet another source of stress.
The current system we live in is a system of conveniences that allow us to live our lives in such a way that we rarely think about things like how we must deal with things like getting rid of human waste, finding fresh water or providing warmth to our homes. When was the last time you had to chop firewood? I know that at 55 years old I don’t even want to think about the task anymore.
While making the decision to make our lives a little simpler it is easy to buy into certain idea’s that are a bit extreme as they carry a certain romantic theme of a life of living off the land like those of the Little House on the Prairie. The key is in balance between both the modern day world and world of the past. I don’t believe that anyone sitting in an outhouse in a Montana winter wouldn’t agree with obtaining a flush toilet system that works right in the warmth of their homes back in the 1850’s.
I do agree that living the modern life of dealing each day with many of the stresses that we have to deal with to find our place in this world can certainly send us to a place where all we want is to find a little peace. Feeling this way day in and day out can put us over the edge to the point where we start thinking that life was much easier back when. The truth is that the peace we seek is already inside of us and all we have to do is search for it. It’s not too difficult to find a tall tree somewhere next to a lake or river to sit at for a while to gain a different perspective of the world we live in.
So if unplugging isn’t the answer then what is? Is it possible to start making tiny changes to our own lives that would provide us with more joy and less stress? Absolutely! Sometimes the small things are really big things hidden in happy masks that surround us in the cloud of overload. Things like clutter, or simply having too much or too many things that don’t really bring us joy. Then there are social pressures or beliefs that we have to attain certain material things to make us feel that we are a part of a certain social group. With both of these there is the concept of space. Not space up in the sky, but the space we live in each day. There is nothing that can make us feel more free than being in the open spaces of nature and it only makes sense to create this same open space in our own homes.
Our very own system of belief in which we created ourselves through the help of those around us may just be the source of our unhappiness. Once we turn off the buying machine we feel we must keep active, we find that our little pot of gold slowly increases with value. Long standing debt starts getting paid off and we have less bills to deal with each month. Over time we find that we really can find a place in this modern world where we start to lose that overwhelmed feeling and find more moments of peace and joy.
Unplugging from certain parts of the system is healthy while unplugging from other parts can wind up to be simply foolish. Before making any radical decision to pull out completely it would be my advice to take baby steps and really think about what it is that keeps you overwhelmed with stress each day. I used to be stressed out driving to work each morning. Now I leave 10 minutes earlier and relax as I listen to my favorite music and arrive at work feeling calm instead of stressed. What things in your life need a little attention?