I’ve started reading a small, yet powerful, book called “Living the Simple Life: A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying More” by Elaine S. James. I’m not searching for a life in the woods focusing on bare minimums. Rather, I’m looking for solutions that release my attachments to “must do,” “should,” and any other external beliefs on how to live my life.
This book speaks to creating our lives, choosing what’s important and finding ways to scale back all of the unnecessary distractions and interruptions that clutter our lives.
In her book, I related to this passage: “So our lives get frittered away by a social engagement here, a luncheon there, an evening of television here, or the habit of working evenings or weekends or both on projects that we don’t have all that much interest in. And the things we want to do, in our heart of hearts, get put on the back burner.” (page 81)
I reacted strongly to the word “frittered” since I know that it speaks about choices I have made and continued to make to maintain the status quo. It’s easier to focus on comfort because it brings immediate relief, though I’m not sure from what. We don’t have to think when we do the same thing, especially if all around us others are following similar lives. How do you say “no” to dinner with a friend because you want to save money so you can live a different life? It’s difficult to choose our lives and much easier to have someone else dictate what we should do.
I always like to get definitions and found this one on “fritter”: to squander or disperse piecemeal; waste little by little.
We don’t realize just how many precious minutes, hours and days are frittered away with habits that don’t serve us. Little by little also captures the slow death we feel when we squander our lives. How many of us feel deep inside “is this all there is?” What about the quiet voice inside of us that wants to try something new and yet we squish it down with our behavior of wasting time.
The author gives many examples of how to downsize what we don’t want and upsize what adds zest to our lives. She went through this journey herself, learning to assess what was important in her life and set into motion time to find ways to downsize her “to do” list.
We capture on our “To Do” list many tasks that don’t provide satisfaction unless we believe that money is the most satisfying goal in our lives. I don’t prescribe to that belief. Instead, my journey in life has been to simplify and locate the heart of what’s important to me. One has to make choices, and we are always choosing something over something else. So what do you decide to do?
If you want to venture into simplifying your life, take the time to review what you are doing. You don’t have to create a major upheaval in your life; instead, you can start adding small changes today. Ask yourself as you pick up another task, is it important and if you let it go, what would happen. It’s the start of making room in our heart’s closet to fill it with what adds joy to life.
I believe we are meant to be joyful and we get to decide what is happiness. The goal is balance and well-being. What about you? Are you ready to explore how to simplify your life and reduce the amount of time you fritter away? Check out Elaine St. James’ book to guide you in this process.
Women’s Group Topics
Living a simple life sounds complicated, yet if you were to discuss as a group ways you can simplify the “shoulds” in your life and increase the value you add to your daily day, this topic would benefit all.
“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
Living the Simple Life: A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying More ~ Elaine St. James
Simplify Your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy that Things That Really Matter ~ Elaine St. James
Inner Simplicity: 100 Ways to Regain Peace and Nourish Your Soul ~ Elaine St. James