Small Town Simple

The Simplicity Adventures of a Mother and Daughter

The Joy of Minimalism

“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.”  Julia Child

For years I literally ran from one responsibility to the next.  Knocking around in my head was a constant to-do list.  We all know the list:  job, kids/activities, laundry, errands, groceries, cleaning, etc.  The worst part was that I put all these self-imposed expectations on myself.  In my tired brain I thought I needed to do all of these things well in order to be considered a successful wife, mother, employee, etc.  And there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a loving spouse or partner, a good parent or a productive employee.  These are noble characteristics.  But the apple cart gets turned over when we confuse and trade these characteristics for the “too much” column.  What is in the “too much” column?

  • too much technology  (I heard a report on the national news recently that one of the reasons for childhood obesity is not enough sleep.  I think we would all guess bad diet and a lack of exercise, but this study revealed a 3rd reason.  And too much technology is part of the reason for insufficient sleep.)  Who knew when my mom said, “you kids go out and play!” she was really on to something!
  • A big dinner every night.  So if we can’t cook a meal – let’s go out to eat!  Instead, why not divey up jobs in the kitchen in order to put a simple meal on the table.  Or…why can’t it be a sandwich of peanut butter and jelly but everyone join in and have a lively conversation around the dinner table.  I promise, everyone will remember the conversation, not the sandwich!
  • Too many activities and functions!  When I was teaching I can’t begin to count the number of teenagers that would stagger into my classroom, zombie-like, because of their extra-curricular activities.  I would ask why the circles under their eyes and the look of utter exhaustion?  And out would pour a list of things they were participating in, coordinating, rehearsing, practicing for, etc.  I was exhausted just listening to them.  And then I would always ask this one question, “Are you having any fun?”  They would just stare at me.

This is the foundation in my belief in a more minimal practice in life.  So the jeans are worn one more time before they get into the laundry, so dinner is a humble plate of scrambled eggs, so a family opts out of several extra curricular activities in exchange for one or two that everyone can really commit to and enjoy.  (We actually did this when Lauren was in high school.  She chose one, drill team, and committed 4 years to the enjoyment and participation on the team.)  When we remove the clutter, take away the excess, shed all the extras, life emerges!  We obtain some clarity and vision.  We realize how we want to spend our days.  We do more than just eat – we cook!

xo, Carolyn

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