I always get introspective this time of year. For one thing, it’s about time to write our annual Christmas letter to family and friends, and this requires me to sit down with a nice cup of hot tea and a heated blanket (yes, it’s winter in Maine) to ruminate on the year’s events. Halloween also marked a year since we moved out of our Victorian house and, at that time, temporarily into our daughter’s home until December 23, 2006, when we finally moved into our present small house. We have therefore had a year of great adjustment.
I have another reason for the introspection today, though. The article in VIVmag that features me along with three other women came out yesterday (“Inconspicuous Consumption, VIVmag Nov/Dec issue online only at vivmag.com), and I must say I am shocked. I had assumed the three other women would be as ordinary and average as I am, but instead they are three accomplished women, one who has started her own company and two who have recently published books! I don’t consider my personal achievements are worthy of inclusion, but I am honored to be mentioned in the same article.
“Celebrity” or not, I guess when it comes to trying to simplify, we’re all in the same boat. We make the same kinds of sacrifices for the same kinds of reasons, and we all try to emerge from the attempt with some increased assurance that we are making a difference in at least a small way.
Ed keeps telling me that I need to bring my blog back totally to posting about our struggle with simplicity and downsizing. He claims that I tend to go off on tangents about other subjects. In a way, this is true. However, in my defense, this “simplicity” movement encompasses our whole lives in myriad ways. It’s hard to isolate.
You may remember my mentioning that as I study for my Certified Medical Transcriptionist test, I am realizing that the body is an integrated unit - no organ stands alone, no system stands alone, and as much as I try to focus on definitive study to one area or organ, it is virtually impossible, for try as I might to isolate my study, another area or organ winds its way into the reading material.
The journey to simplicity has the same kind of map - it’s not a straight journey, but a circuitous one. As I state in my blog description, this journey encompasses and affects everything else in my life - from aging, grandparenting, how I spend my time, my money, my energy, what I eat, what I buy, identifying and maintaining priorities, my wishes and dreams - all this cannot be separated from the root of simplicity. It is as if a giant tree has grown after this seed took root in our minds, a seed which is basically a stated value that we have adopted as our life attitude. Either what we do pushes us closer to our goal of simplifying or it nudges us further away. Nevertheless, the goal is there, the root is there, the idea of enriching our lives by the crazy notion of debulking our lives remains always our intention. When you start out with a certain stated life principle, that principle should be visible in all other areas of your life, and it, like a bodily organ, cannot stand alone.
I hope that my blog, for the majority of the time, reflects that. Meanwhile, the aforementioned article is out on the Internet, and it gave me an exciting opportunity to have my picture professionally taken (thanks, Billy), and to give me yet another occasion for introspection in this wondrous year of the journey of our lives.
The journey becomes somewhat challening, however, with impending arrival of the holidays, which I would say is the most difficult part of the simplification process, as we are well aware that our society does not encourage frugality during the consumer-driven Christmas shopping season. I salute and take courage from the other featured women - Debra Amador, Judith Levine, Mary Carlomagno - as well as countless others who are becoming role models for what it means to simplify. We’re all on the journey, trying to walk in the same general direction, seeking joy and contentment, energized, and ready to talk about the trip to anyone who is willing to listen.
Godspeed to us all!