Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm not simple, my life is...

I just ordered a book from Amazon called an Idiot's Guide to Simple Living. I was reading this article this couple who got tired of always being crazy busy so they bought this ridiculously cheap property out in the middle of nowhere and then built a house and farm using stuff people didn't want and began living a sustainable life with out any techie stuff except a telephone line. They read this book so I figured I'd give it a read over too. Now I know all you anti-hippies have your alarms going off and I can understand the distaste. I see that there are two sides to this idea.
The people who are against it will say we can't all just move out to the woods and live off the land. And it's true that if everyone did that it might cause a bit of chaos.
But it's hard for me not to love the idea. I understand a lot of the points they make. The people for Simple living point out that all our possessions cause us more stress and unhappiness where as having a few good things that you truly need allow you to be happy naturally.
I guess there's really two movements going on at once here. There's the people who want to be happy instantly (I think of them as the Techie movement). They want all the fastest, bestest stuff and when they get it they'll be happy. And they are, but eventually the bestest, fastest stuff gets outdated and broken and then you have to cough up more money for newer better stuff. Thus explaining why we're so greatly in debt these days.
The Simple life on the other hand is not for people that have trouble amusing themselves or aren't willing to learn self-suficiency. There's a lot of responsibility in the Simple life, you have to be willing to take care of yourself sometimes and not look to the world around you to make you happy.
But for all the work it requires the Simple life can come with bonuses. The greatest one boasted is the extra time you. I think this is the main idea that attracts me. Would I really have more time? I'm quizzical. I mean I'd still have to work right? But maybe not as hard because I'd have less "stuff" to buy. Then there's the greater community connection. Which would probably only work if you find people who want the Simple life too. Techie people aren't going to have the time or patient to help the simple people. The other thing is the idea that it's easier to be happy. That falls in line with the whole yoga idea that underneath all the clutter of our minds we are happy. So maybe under all the clutter of our "stuff" we're happy too.
I really do like the idea of living simply. I don't know how well it would work in my condo but I'll at least give the book a read over.
My only issue with things like that is that people who write these books or promote this lifestyle often make they're money off promoting their lifestyle. It's like I know a lot of yoga teachers who say they used to work high tech jobs and be miserable and now they're all Yoga teachers and they're happy. Well duh you're happy! How many angery phone calls do you get now? But we can't all be yoga teachers. Can someone be a prison guard (a stressful job) and still live the Simple life? Can they be a waiter and still find happiness? Can we live in cities and be simply living?
All worthwhile questions to consider.
I'll let you know what I learn.