some thoughts on simplicity

Even though my year of living simply challenge is technically over, I have fallen completely in love with minimalism and simplicity. It is not just a new year’s resolution or a goal with a finish line; it has become a way of life for me. Living simply reduces my stress and makes my life more joyful. By clearing out what does not matter, I am better able to focus on what matters most to me.

I was talking to my sweetie the other day about how this is such a busy season of life with planning our wedding — but even as the words left my mouth, I realized: it is always going to be a busy season of life. There is always going to be an excuse or a reason to justify being busy.

For example, just thinking about the past few years of my life: it was always a “busy season” because I was…

  • finishing up my thesis and earning my graduate degree
  • moving across the country to California
  • starting my John Steinbeck Fellowship
  • getting to know a new-to-me town
  • dating, and then entering into a new relationship
  • starting up my tutoring business
  • finishing my novel manuscript
  • editing my novel manuscript
  • looking for a new apartment to move into
  • moving into a new apartment with my sweetheart
  • and now, planning our wedding

I know that as soon as we celebrate our union and no longer have wedding planning on our plate, other things will pop up to take its place: new jobs, new responsibilities, moving again, starting a family, etc etc etc…

When I start to feel frazzled, it is a sign for me to step back. To refocus and remember what I am working towards and what is most important in my life. I have learned that, if left unchecked, clutter will creep back into my life. My mindset will creep back into that unfulfilling frame of justifying busy-ness and measuring my self-worth based on my productivity. Definitely not a recipe for a happy life! When I notice this happening, I gently remind myself to breathe my way back to simplicity.

I have compiled these quotes to turn back to when I need a reboot. When I am feeling tired, stressed out, and in need of inspiration.

I hope they bring a bit of calm and sunshine into your day, too!

sunset at home

beautiful quotes about simplicity

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” — Lin Yutang


“Most [people], even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finest fruits cannot be plucked by them.” — Henry David Thoreau


“There is no Minimalist Rulebook. We’re all different. The things that add value to one man’s life may not add value to yours. So hold on to that hair straightener, those colorful socks, that collection of angel statuettes—but only if they are appropriate for your life. Only if they serve a purpose or bring you joy.” — The Minimalists


“Give your most precious people your most precious gifts: love, time, effort, and attention.” — Greg Woodburn

{This idea can also encompass all of your most precious things in life: dreams, passions, projects…}


“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last in dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” — Fr. Alfred D’Souza


“Defining routines and systems is more effective than relying on self-discipline. I think self-discipline is overrated. Allowing yourself the option to do what you have not decided to do is disempowering and asking for failure. I encourage people to develop routines so that their decision-making is only applied to the most creative aspects of their work, or wherever their unique talent happens to lie.” — Tim Ferriss


“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” — Epictetus


“We can use Twitter and Pinterest and Google+ to enrich our lives and the lives of others, to communicate and share in ways we’ve never been able to communicate before. Or we can get stuck in social media’s Bermuda Triangle, careening from Facebook to Instagram to YouTube, lost in the meaningless glow our screens. We can use our smartphones to photograph gorgeous landscapes, message loved ones, or map out directions to a distant national park (or—gasp!—to make phone calls). Or, we can use that same device to Twitch: to incessantly check email, thumb through an endless stream of status updates, post vapid selfies, or partake in any other number of non-value-adding activities, all while ignoring the beautiful world around us.” — The Minimalists


“Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.” — John Gardner


 

Questions of the day:

  • Which of the quotes above strike a chord with you?
  • What are your favorite quotes about living a meaningful life?

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