08 March 2011

Simple Living

For the last several years, I've been interested in the "Green Revolution," the idea of homesteading (and more recently, urban homesteading), and leading a simple life. I always assumed that the "simple life" required living the way my grandparents did: hard work, little money, and few possessions.

To an extent, I suppose, I was right, but living simply isn't necessarily reverting back to the stone age (haha). I picked up a book at the library last week called The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs. This book told me very little that I didn't already know, but it was good because it put many of my thoughts and philosophies into words. Living simply is less about going back to the good ol' days and more about living deliberately and fully. The movement... well, I don't know that it is a movement, per se. The idea behind simple living stems from Transcendentalist thought. And I am a huge fan of the Transcendentalists (Whitman, Thoreau, Emerson, usw).

It's about living life one day at a time, one moment at a time. It's about being fully present and focused (ie, limited multitasking). It's about knowing the consequences of actions (if I buy this car, I'm going to have to work X number of years to be able to pay it off and spend that much less time with my family, etc). And while it's not about living an austere lifestyle (unless that's your thing, of course) it is about paring down to mostly just essentials. It's peaceful living, realised both within and outside of oneself.

Anyway, if a "simple life" is something that is attractive to you, I definitely suggest this book. It's filled with wisdom, excellent quotes, and nifty stories about real people who live within their philosophies. Also, it gives some good ideas on how to get started backing away from the hectic life of the typical American and into a simpler life.

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