I often spend time on the weekends browsing the interwebz for quaint small towns (not located in the Midwest, South, or East Coast-at least at the moment) I could perhaps someday live when I can finally slow down and live a simple life.
This proves that I sometimes live in the future, versus enjoying what I have in the present moment.
Perhaps you love where you live, and for that, I envy you, but it’s no secret that I have aspirations to one day not live in Los Angeles. My “future” life is filled with long days reading in my hammock or front porch swing, sipping wine with my friends from my close-knit community. Maybe the evening will consist of potlucks with friends or some other kind of community event (a la the Gilmore Girls). And it definitely will mean lots of outdoor activities and not adhering to anyone else’s schedule but my own.
(Insert Record Scratch)
OK wait a minute! You mean to tell me for the most part I could be doing that right now? Perhaps everything but adhering to my own schedule (that is between the times of 8-5ish Mon-Fri)???
Oh snap! I can! Just because I live in the ultra-expensive LA doesn’t mean that I can’t adopt many principles to make my life calmer and simpler right now. TO-day! After all, much of the simple living experience comes from just cleaning out the junk and clutter in our own brains.
Here are some things and routines I have adopted into my daily life, and ones I’m working on trying to implement more of, to live a simple life now.
Whew it’s been a wee bit noisy out there in Facebookland. I’ve always struggled with wanting to be an informed citizen (and one who takes action) versus cutting out as much noise and horsepoop as I can.
While that part is a work in progress, I don’t have to check Huffpo or social media every five freaking seconds. Nor do I need to have it blast me in the face pre-coffee (oh who are we kidding, pre-getting out of bed).
- Schedule short and specific times to check social media and news outlets. Preferably after coffee.
- Get the phone out of the freaking room. Since I have apparently no self-control, I bought me a cheap-ass old-fashioned alarm clock. “Hey Tonya, 1987 called.”
- Don’t get caught up in FB verbal wars that never, ever seem to end with, “gee, I totally see your point of view now!”
- Don’t whip out the phone every millisecond I am are bored.
Pretend to Live in a Small Town
One of the benefits of living in the big city is there are 1,000 different stores in a 10-mile radius (if you consider that a benefit).
I sometimes find myself driving to at least four different grocery stores on any given Saturday for specialty items, thereby using up my precious weekend time to run errands.
Do I really need to go to all those stores? The answer of course is “no”. Or at least I could greatly reduce the amount of time of going to any of these specialty stores by stocking up on whatever my favorite items may be.
I can also try and centralize as much as possible certain services like the dentist, getting my hair cut, or anything else that might have me running around town in god-awful LA traffic.
One really cool thing I’ve added to my life since January is walking or biking to work about three days per week (we’ve had a lot of rain this season). I prefer biking, but I have to sacrifice a good hair day and wear my hair in a ponytail to work (because the bike helmet mashes my hair down). But I guess I’ll sacrifice looking fashionable over taking care of my health. Priorities man.
Not a commercial for the meditation app (although it’s quite good for the basics of meditation), but referring to my own thoughts and worries, which can keep me from living a simple (and calm) life.
I feel like I spent the first…oh 43 years or so tangling my mind with fears, doubts, worries, rumination, guilt, etc., and now I’m trying to unravel those knots baby step by baby step to be more free of those things (as much as humanly possible)!
- Meditate. Even if I sometimes royally suck at it. I’m practicing it, and have found my reaction to any given stressor has slowed way the hell down. Progress!
- Staying fit. I can’t feel good mentally unless I feel good physically. Obviously there are some times or situations where I might not feel great, but I can be responsible for the 90% of what I can control. Like the food I choose to consume or not to consume.
- Podcasts and books. I try to feed my mind as much good and healthy info as possible.
- Practicing mindfulness. Perhaps the toughest for me in that I get lost in thought ALL. THE. TIME. Whenever something goes wrong or I feel stressed, it’s helpful to just take a step back and be curious about why I’m feeling some particular way, even if each thought is like a car on the 405 freeway at rush hour, complete with fender benders and head-on collisions. Just slowing down and observing is a step in the right direction of clearing the mental traffic jam.
- Not comparing. As tough as practicing mindfulness is not comparing my life to anyone else’s. Not thinking just because so-and-so took this trip or went to that concert, that I need to do the same thing.
- Practicing my Rules of 46!
Stay tuned to part two of trying to live a simple life in a big city…
How do you keep things simple if you’re not currently living in the woods like Ralph Waldo Emerson?