I have always been quite fond of the idea of simplicity; however, for some reason, it also seemed hmm… boring. And absolutely impossible to attain the way it’s been presented.
Let me explain! I, of course, want to live a simple life like everybody else, stripped of chaos and shenanigans. But I just don’t buy the idea that is sold to us about simplicity in general.
We are not simple beings, let’s just accept that once for all. We are truly complex; we don’t fit in boxes. But complexity doesn’t have to equal complications. That is where I am willing to embrace simplicity.
Think of it this way: You’re trying to do a ‘simple craft project’ with your kids but, kids being kids, you end up with a table covered in hot glue, your son’s leg burnt by the glue gun, and every *annoying* felt thing around you desperately sticking together. And in the end, instead of a beautiful butterfly, you actually have something that looks like a flying monster from one of Tim Burton’s movies. (This might or might not have happened in real life. Let’s leave it there!)
It seemed simple conceptually … but then the glue gun invited itself to the party (and that was not good), and then the kids wanted to do everything on their own, and suddenly the whole project becomes this complex activity.
While we certainly have fun crafting with our kids (and have lots of laughs — mostly the “what have we done?!” kinds), but we all know there’s no such thing as a simple craft project. Same thing with life!
One of my life and business mottoes is “complex simplicity” and that is the simplicity I am after. One that actually requires a lot of complex thinking and thoughtfulness. Deciding to live a simple life is deciding to do the work to find your purpose, and prioritize accordingly so that everything flows together toward a common goal. It’s not about avoiding things that could complicate, or potentially create risks, or commitment, or anything that requires giving of yourself and doesn’t seem simple at first glance.
This takes different forms in practically: not living above your means, being intentional about time, being present with the people you love, keeping your eyes on your own paper, not falling into the comparison game, etc…
At the end of the day, I want this post to be an encouragement note to all of you, my MotherHustlers, who might feel like you’re failing at this quest for simplicity. Because my simple life looks different from your simple life. And next season, it will again look different from the last. Truly living a simple life is not trying to control what’s uncontrollable but focusing your energy in the most dedicated and strategic way on what really matters to you.
You don’t have to throw all your stuff away to live a simple life. Yes, it might help create white space. You don’t have to switch your idea arbitrarily because it’s the new thing to do. You might benefit from eating less sugar, yes. You don’t have to stop throwing big parties for your kid’s birthday because everyone tells you to “stay simple”. You might be less stressed, maybe.
Now, how do you know that you’re living a simple life? The undeniable feeling of peace. Even when life is busy and full, peace will remain if you’re truly living your life in simplicity aligned with your purpose and priorities.
“I begin to learn to allow things to happen as they are, rather than how I want them to be. I begin to learn, quite simply, the art of peace.” Erin Loechner, Chasing Slow.
Simplicity goes hands in hands with peace — that’s the indicator, not bareness of complications.
Katell Schmitz is the creative director + brand designer at Reverie Lane Designs and The Creative Session, where she works with passionate dreamers on a mission to create beautiful, memorable and impactful brands. She’s a French expat who’s living her American dream but also gets homesick from time to time. She’s a happy wife and mama of two and presently lives with her multicultural family in Boston. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.
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