Welcome back to my exploration of what simplicity means to me. This week, and for the next couple of weeks, I want to explore a few aspects of what simplicity is not. Once we establish those parameters, we’ll dive into what it is.
The aspect I want to explore this week is that simplicity is not taking the easy way out.
In other words, simple is not synonymous with lazy.
The idea for this series came to me while I was rolling out some homemade flour tortillas the other day, and my brain started working, asking “does making tortillas meet your goal of living simply?”
In a word, yes. It does.
But Wendy, making homemade tortillas is way more complex than buying them. Isn’t it?
Again, yes. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an aspect of simplicity.
To me, simplicity means caring for my family in as wholesome, edifying a way as possible. It means providing my children with a non-rushed, well-rounded childhood, while imparting our values on them. It means offering food that is not only healthier, but tastes better, than the processed items. It means striving for self-sufficiency.
A couple of months ago, the kids and I read Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher for school. It’s a lovely novel, written in 1917, about a girl who is suddenly thrust from city life to country life with virtually no warning. It takes Elizabeth Ann (later called Betsy) a lot of adjustment to acclimate to life on the farm, but in the end (spoiler alert) she decides that she likes it better. When given the chance to go back to city life at the end of the book, she declines. Betsy learns that the simple things in life – the birth of kittens, churning butter, walking to school – make her happier than she was being coddled by her aunt in the city.
I think we can learn a lot from Betsy.
I don’t mean that we should all go and live on farms in order to find our own brand of happiness, because honestly, that probably wouldn’t make most of of happy. But we can find peace in the things of the past that are considered “lost arts.”
My challenge to you this week: Think of something you normally buy and try to make it instead. Tortillas, bread, butter, paper… the list is endless. But pick one thing and see if it brings you a sense of calmness while you’re creating something with your own hands.