3 Ways to Change Your Perspective on Living Simply

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In a world of frantic beeping, piles of stuff to manage and overbooked schedules, don’t we all long for a life which is quieter, slower, more meaningful? Life is a grey blur of one thing to the next, color lost as we move onto the next thing, never fully tasting the present moment. Are you, like me, longing for living simply: sweeter, slower, more intentional?

We picture the bliss of putting our feet up, drink in hand, gaze drifting over a spotless and impeccably decorated living room, and finally reaching the Higher Plane of Living Simply. We imaging Living Simply as an illusive platform which can be found if we take the right combination of rails. But you know what? Life does not work like that. Intentional, simple living is not a destination held in place by rainbows, string lights and white sheepskin rugs. (Don’t ask me how that would even work.)

Life is much more satisfying when we view living simply, intentionally, slowly —all of this, we like to call it living “small” — as the train. Your lifestyle is not an ultimate exclusive destination. The intentional way you craft your days is a means to experience life more colorfully and deeply.

Your lifestyle is not an ultimate exclusive destination. The intentional way you craft your days is a means to experience life more colorfully and deeply.

Here are three ways that can help to shift your perspective on seeing living simply as a process, not a product. (Think of these points as tools to give yourself grace!) 🙂

Life is Complicated

(Imagine a mic drop). You’re welcome for that tidbit of enlightenment. 🙂 We all know it—life is messy. Some commitments can be let go; others cannot. Some physical belongings can be let go; others cannot at the moment. And that’s okay. We imagine that once we reach the Higher Plane of Living Simply, life will automatically be a cake walk. It won’t. Life will still be complicated because, well, that’s life. We can accept that life is complicated by nature.  Approaching our daily challenges and excitements through the lens of living simply helps to clarify priorities and streamline our attention. Life will remain complicated, but well-placed priorities will guide our choices and affect how present we are in the present.

Life will remain complicated, but well-placed priorities will guide our choices and affect how present we are in the present.

Living Simply is Relative

We all have different ideas of what we might gain from living simply. Your idea of a simple life might sound downright boring to someone else, and that’s okay. 😉 For some people, living simply might look like embracing Spartan Minimalism so they can focus on fundamentals. For others, it might mean a measure of less clutter so they can spend more time at the park with the kids. Still others might see living simply as keeping their many sports commitments but diligently cooking slow-cooker meals instead of eating out. Living simply will look different between individuals because it is deeply rooted in their priorities and values.  Don’t compare your dream of living simply to someone else’s. Hold fast to your own picture of slowing down/downsizing/decluttering/whatever-it-is that will allow you to be more beautifully present in your own life, and make it happen.

Hold fast to your own picture of slowing down/downsizing/decluttering/whatever-it-is that will allow you to be more beautifully present in your own life, and make it happen.

Your families’ living simply setting is where your family shines best.

Living Simply has Seasons

Life moves forward in large footsteps called seasons; consequently living simply will look different in varying stages of life. If living simply is the “train” which renders life more colorful and full, then the view out the window will be different depending on the track we are currently riding. Simple and intentional living will take on new flavors for the season of life you are in. If you’re in a health crisis, then living simply might mean ignoring the Kon Mari method and concentrating on healing. If you have a deadline looming, it might be all you can do to spend your lunch break in the sunshine to gain a clear head. Flex with the what is going on in your life and give yourself grace. Intentional, simple living is possible in every season, but the “track” you take won’t always be the same. 

Ok, we can start thinking about living simply as a means instead of an end… but how will we know if we are “getting it”? 

You’ll know you’re on an intentionally living simply train when you’re able to savor life more thoroughly. Small, everyday pleasures will reclaim their natural delight. You’ll have the ability to slow down and appreciate what is most important to you in life.

Primarily, you’ll stop looking out the window for the “Living Simply” platform of arrival and you’ll start to notice the beautiful scenery. 

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10 Comments
  • Hannah
    December 16, 2016

    Beautifully written. I love the part about seasons, I’m sure our version of simple will change as the children grow. I think its a journey of self discovery too, and can’t be achieved instantly by simply decluttering. We learn more about ourselves and our values as we go. I hope you and your family are well xx

    • Evelyn
      December 16, 2016

      Hi Hannah! Thanks for adding the part about self-discovery, because yes, we absolutely find more of who we are underneath all the belongings we use to cover our identity! Thanks so much for commenting. I’m going to pop over to The Simple Things now to catch up with you!! 🙂

  • Jo
    December 16, 2016

    Very timely words. Last night I determined to slow dowwwn, but this morning I walked past the boys, feeling too frazzled to stop…and then I turned around and gave them each a hug. Living simply for me in this season means that I will stop trading life-giving moments for my to-do list. Thanks for the great post, friend! ♥️

    • Evelyn
      December 16, 2016

      Hi sweet friend!! This:: ” Living simply for me in this season means that I will stop trading life-giving moments for my to-do list. ” is PURE GOLD. As are you. <3 <3

  • Amy@MoreTimeThanMoney
    December 17, 2016

    I love this! Simply living isn’t some amazing force-field we can built to repel all life’s trials and stresses.
    My catchphrase at the moment is “slow not lazy” – yep I am out there doing a lot of stuff (its one of those seasons, plus two tummy bugs through the house in three weeks), but I am doing it with a slow mindset. I share my tricks for bringing a bit of zen to chaos here: https://moretimethanmoney.co.nz/2016/12/16/how-to-slow-down-when-youre-busy/
    Jo’s comment above about not trading life-giving moments for her to-do list is gold. Making sure you get that hug in represents to me what simple living is about and it’s all those small moments and having the mindset to not let them slip by.

    • Evelyn
      December 17, 2016

      Amy, thank you so much for commenting!! 🙂 I love this: “Simply living isn’t some amazing force-field we can built to repel all life’s trials and stresses.” … not a forcefield– yes! Thanks for sharing your link. I’m looking forward to reading it later! 🙂

  • Katie B. of Housewife How-Tos
    December 29, 2016

    This is wonderful. I particularly like the reminder that one person’s simple life might look boring to someone else’s but is perfect for that person. When we start measuring our lives against someone else’s we never seem to cut ourselves slack. Or, as the sign on a nearby church puts it, “Comparison destroys contentment.”

    • Evelyn
      December 30, 2016

      Hi Katie B! Thanks for commenting. 🙂 You’re right– comparison has no place in a contented life. 🙂

  • Joy Lenton
    January 15, 2017

    Oh how I needed to read this post! These words leapt out at me: “Flex with the what is going on in your life and give yourself grace.” How wise and helpful this is. I’ve been pondering how on earth this weak, weary and chronically sick woman is going to be able to summon up the necessary energy to make the lifestyle changes I long to initiate. As someone whose ‘living simply’ train is rusting in the sidings, heavily weighed down with the cargo it has on board and longing to begin the journey, I know that giving myself grace to start making tiny changes when I can is the best way forward in my season and circumstances. Thank you! I’m so pleased I have discovered your blog. It is truly inspirational. Bless you.

    • Evelyn
      January 15, 2017

      Hi Joy, Thank you so much for sharing your burden and journey with us. Tiny changes can go a long way if we are faithful in keeping them. I’m so glad you’re here. Blessings to you, friend!

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