Friday, January 1, 2010

Simply a new year

So, I quit making new year's resolutions some time ago. I've come to accept the fact that I'm not planning on losing any weight, that my thighs touch, my hips are roundish, and that I fully intend to continue eating chocolate (and, really, sugar in all it's beautiful forms).

But this year, I am making a new year's recommittment.


That's it.

This year I recommit myself to simplifying my life.

I have been working on simplifying for awhile now. Years, actually. Ever since I read Walden for the first time. (So I guess that would be about 18 years.) I was taken with the idea of living as simple a life as possible. I've read and reread Thoreau's words many times since then. My copy of Walden is dog-eared and my favorite passages and quotes are marked in highlighter. Each time I read again, I look for new ways to simplify my own life; to be a little more Thoreau-ish. Little by little, it's added up.

I've worked at purging. In a big way. (Especially in the last few years.) Getting rid of so. much. stuff. Why did I even have all of that stuff? Some of it I'd never even used. Some of it left my house with the tags still on.

I've worked at replacing. If I think I want to buy something, I must give up one thing I currently own in order to make a place for something new. I stood in stores for long periods of time, staring at the ceiling, going through my mental catalog of possessions, trying to figure out what could go. Lots of things haven't gotten purchased that way. I couldn't think of anything I'd be willing to part with to make room for something new.

I've worked at walking away. Especially from the internet. When my online browsing starts to turn in to online shopping, I walk away. I force myself to take 24 hours to think about it. I rarely go back to make the purchase.

I've worked at eating simply. Buying local, fresh, organic whenever possible. Buying food with the smallest ingredient list I can find. And the ingredient list on which I can recognize everything as real, actual food and not chemicals or such. Staying away from the words "partially hydrogenated" and "high fructose corn syrup."

It's made a difference. To me, at least. In more ways that I could have expected. It's rippled right through my life.

But I've kind of slacked off lately in some areas. I'm not necessarily where I'd like to be right now.

So I recommit myself to living simply. To rediscovering the joy of staying home, reading, baking, running, yoga, cooking dinner, watching some of those dvds in the closet, going for walks, meditating, taking pictures, writing, to watching the wheels go round and round. To rediscovering the joy of what I have.

And I know I'll still have bouts of materialism. I know there are things I will do or buy; there are some places I'll go. (I mean, there are U2 tickets in my possession right now. And I am not giving those up.) It's 2010, not 1845. I know this.

But I will do my best to make my home a cabin in the woods (so to speak). I will do my best to remember Thoreau and the path he chose; the path I'd like to follow. To remind myself each day that "a man is rich in proportion to what he can afford to let alone."

To simplify, simplify, simplify.


InTheFastLane said...

I like your goals. Some sounds similar to mine. Some of mine I am making because I have spent too much and I need to stop, especially the internet shopping. It is too easy. They remember my credit card... OH the credit card...ouch.

And some of that stuff? Does it even matter?

Lyndsay said...

I love this post. And I try to do some of it, but I'd like to do more of it. It's hard not to get sucked into the more-bigger-better trap with a 4-year old - I want to give her the world, but in the end I know the simplicity message is better.

I don't make resolutions either, but maybe this year I DO need to pick one of two areas of my life to really simplify.

Hmmm... thanks for getting me thinkin'!

Corinne said...

This is how I want to live. And it's hard. Very hard, but when we're living at our simplest, life is so full, and so good.

Jade @ Tasting Grace said...

Wow that is commendable and truly inspiring! Good luck and best wishes for your recommitment!

Bacardi Mama said...

Happy New Year and the best of luck with your efforts. Love you!