“Simplify, simplify,” said Henry David Thoreau

cottage near lake
I’d be happy living in a little cottage by a pond or lake.

My husband and I definitely do not live a grandiose lifestyle. Even during times when we had more than sufficient resources, we didn’t strive for a lifestyle that exceeded our means. But over the years I find myself yearning for a more and more simple way of living. I guess as I get older (I’m in my mid 40s) I want an easier, more carefree low hassle life. That’s not always the case for aging people, though. I see people my age and even much older spending money on even more elaborate things, taking more expensive vacations, buying bigger “toys”. I think ideally my husband would do the same, if he could, but I resist to a degree, so there is a balance. Having a mental illness, I know I can’t handle too much stress. Complicated lifestyles breed stress.

cottageIf it was just me I would probably be more than happy in a one bedroom apartment or cottage, with a nice bathroom, a big kitchen (I love to cook), a cozy living room  (ideally with a fireplace), and a dining area. I wouldn’t have too many things to fill the rooms, other than the basics, like a bed, sofa, dressers, tables, chairs, and those kinds of things. Most of the stuff that fills our current basement, decorates all of our walls, and fills closets, are my husband’s things. Again, I don’t think he has excessive amounts of things. He probably has a similar amount as the average person. But I think that the stuff I call “mine” solely would fit into a few big trunks, and a very small U-Haul truck.

I’m not like the stereotypical woman. I don’t have huge numbers of clothes and shoes. If I do have many, most are over 12 years old and are hardly ever worn. I even wear pretty much the same seven outfits all of the time. I’m not working now, so there is no real pressure to change them up.

Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau famously wrote “Simplify, simplify”. Yes, I’d like to live by a pond or lake, like Thoreau did, and grow some of my own veggies, and watch nature most of the day. I guess I’d still need some money, but I don’t think I’d need too much. I’d need just enough to buy a few things I couldn’t produce myself, and maybe enough to keep the necessities of life up and running. Well, a computer I guess. I’d probably need that because I think I’d like to work from home part-time, and still keep in touch with others. If it was my choice I wouldn’t even have a car. I didn’t have a car when I lived in Berkeley, California, and I did just fine. There I walked where I needed to go and easily found mass transportation to other destinations. I was trim then. More exercise would be good for me now. Maybe I could have a bike or scooter. Perhaps that would be sufficient.

scooter on country road
I can ride a scooter

My husband has a dream to get away from the rat race, so he’s not completely against my idea. I assume he knows we’d have to get rid of a lot of our stuff.  He and I know there are places where you could find security that we honestly may not find in our current place of residence in the future. The only fear I have, though, is being uprooted from my current long-time home. It is hard to be immersed in a new culture so late in your life. That sort of takes away some of the “simplification”. Considering that, I do wonder how easy it is to simplify your life in this world. There will always be something that is a challenge. But we just have to weigh options to see which would be the easiest path towards it.

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36 thoughts on ““Simplify, simplify,” said Henry David Thoreau

  1. Hana May 5, 2017 / 3:12 pm

    I am glad, that you like little cottages. I know such one by a pond and forest. You are welcome!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 5, 2017 / 3:14 pm

      Thank you for the invitation, Hana. I am sure the cottage you mention is beautiful and peaceful. I’d love to experience it sometime soon.

      Like

      • updownflight May 5, 2017 / 3:26 pm

        I bet people called Henry David Thoreau crazy. But that’s OK.

        Like

      • updownflight May 5, 2017 / 3:30 pm

        Do you know what? I sometimes think that people who make their lives too complicated are a little “crazy”. Why some people want to make things so hard on themselves, I do not know.

        Liked by 2 people

      • stoneronarollercoaster May 5, 2017 / 3:34 pm

        Exactly my point. I think these are the phases we go through. At a point i started shopping alot (which i normaly dont do), it was a v brief phase. Now all of that stuff is locked somehwere gathering dust.
        Simple life is way easier and comfortable.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thomas Ward May 5, 2017 / 4:00 pm

    Nice post. Your word “yearning” is what touched me most. It made me reflect on the idea that what really matters is inner peace, regardless of of where we are or what we have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 5, 2017 / 4:06 pm

      I’m so glad you brought up “inner peace”. Yes, I guess that is definitely what I yearn for. Thanks for bringing that up. And thanks for your nice words regarding my post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thomas Ward May 5, 2017 / 4:09 pm

        In my experience it has been something that occurs to me now and then, but then I forget and lose sight of what is so important. Not sure how to hold onto that thought.

        Liked by 1 person

      • updownflight May 5, 2017 / 4:12 pm

        Sometimes I’m battling so much strife in my head that I feel like inner peace is nowhere to be found. I often wish I could find a mute button, and then just hear the sounds of the birds and the breeze or rain outside.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. gregoryjosephs May 5, 2017 / 4:47 pm

    What a lovely sentiment you express here. It’s a nice dream, and it’s caused me to take a moment to be thankful.

    I live in Arlington, Massachusetts, just about fifteen miles from where Thoreau had his cabin on Walden Pond, and I visit it often. I also think about what a charmed life that would be; to live simply, observe nature most of the day, and grow some of my own vegetables. Often the experience leaves me longing for a time when I’ll be able to do that. . .

    And in the process I forget how great I’ve already got it. My husband and I live in a little 800 square foot condo in a 107 year old three family home. We don’t have a lot of things (though certainly more than we need), and it’s a cozy life. I forget that sometimes because I’m too busy dreaming of the day when I’ll have a bigger house with a garden.

    I know what I’d do with the garden, but honestly—the bigger house? Just more space to fill with needless stuff, right?

    So thanks. I’m going to appreciate the simplicity I’ve already got today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 5, 2017 / 5:11 pm

      Hi gregoryjosephs. It makes me happy that you’ve realized that what you have is good and mostly sufficient.

      I grew up in a small house with five people. Eventually my two siblings and I did move out. Now it’s just my dad. The house is plenty big for him. He’s lucky, though, that he does have a nice bit of land, a garden, and even a pond. Funny, though, that he spends so much time downtown socializing. I guess he’s got the best of two worlds.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. AdashofJhaee May 5, 2017 / 11:24 pm

    Simplicity is always beautiful. I can ride in that scooter too 😊😊 I love you idea of living it simple like that little cottage with big kitchen, me likes to cook also 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 6, 2017 / 12:30 am

      🙂 Yes, I can’t give up the big kitchen. Some luxuries like that would have to stay. Actually, my real kitchen is very small. I just dream of a big kitchen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • updownflight May 6, 2017 / 9:45 am

        Yes, I don’t need a dining room if I have a big kitchen with a little eat in area.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sharon2011 May 6, 2017 / 2:46 am

    I really wish I would have not tried to have such a grand life with lots of stuff. I really think I would be in much better shape mentally. I had the most stressful job, and that lead to my breakdown. I am now doing things that I want to do, and trying to heal best I can. None of this “STUFF” means anything to me without my mental health. I love this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 6, 2017 / 9:43 am

      Hi Sharon2011. I feel the same. I guess I don’t regret my past travels, though.

      Like

  6. Hussein Allam May 6, 2017 / 12:24 pm

    Too meaningful and powerful story , simplifying is the best technique to make things run easily. Very few who have talents in simplifying, your thoughts impressed me a lot, updwonflight!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 6, 2017 / 1:17 pm

      Thank you, Hussein Allam. You’re always so kind and generous. I agree it does take talent and effort to simplify. I will try hard soon.

      Like

  7. Joanna Maguire May 8, 2017 / 9:18 pm

    Mid 40s is not late in life! Follow what feels right for you both. If it all seems too big a change, start with some small changes and work up to the bigger ones ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 8, 2017 / 9:36 pm

      I do need to start with some small changes, that’s true. I just have to figure out what they should be. I must not take too much time to come up with them. I spend hours each day writing. I can spend some of that time thinking about next steps. Thank you

      Like

      • Joanna Maguire May 9, 2017 / 4:33 pm

        You’ll work out the steps you need to take when the time is right for you. Sometimes what I do is think what I want to achieve and then work backwards from that until I get to the first small step I need to take. Other times I find that too challenging and pick a small step that somehow seems right or to make sense. You will find your way.

        Liked by 1 person

      • updownflight May 9, 2017 / 4:43 pm

        I look forward to finding my way. The tough part for me is to find the right time to even start.

        Like

      • Joanna Maguire May 10, 2017 / 6:28 am

        You will find it, the fact that you are thinking about shows you have already started 💕

        Like

    • updownflight May 9, 2017 / 1:04 pm

      Was that your first post? Either way, what a wonderful exploration. Thank you for sharing the post link with me.

      Like

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