A simple life

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumbnail.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I'm no longer sure of my aims and aspirations but one thing I'm expressed to deliver on (or so it seems) is a simple life. 

As of yet, I've not paired things down to a point where I can fit my stuff in a rucksack but that's the aim, or at least trimmed to a point where they don't weigh me down.

Perhaps I'm lucky — I sure see it that way — but I have no attachment to things. In fact, save for my books, pens and bikes which I've promised to my children, I'd happily give everything away. 

I find that strange because, as a kid, I craved so many things, be that a new pair of shoes, an expensive watch or a nice car — always a Porsche 356B. I was lucky to own a few of the things I coveted, but, save for the Mont Blanc pen, which is the only thing that ties me to my first business, I've long since lost interest in pursuing let alone owning any of things that previously showed up in my life.

Also, I'm not the least bit sentimental — much to my wife's consternation. Neither do I hoard and more than a few times I've got myself into hot water by promptly dispatching a family heirloom or something that my wife had been studiously and affectionately keeping to pass on down the Summerhayes line. 

Each to his/her own.

If you were to ask me why the idea of a simple life attracts my attention, I'd struggle to articulate the full explication of my rationale. All I can say is that I don't want to be weighed down by anything more than the fewest number of things to enable me to explore what life truly has to offer or that I've yet to discover. If pressed, though, I mean really pressed, the truth is something more akin to wanting (as you know) to travel around the United Kingdom and not be too heavily weighed down (if at all) with the anxiety — self created of course — of all the things left behind that will need caring for and insuring. To my family, I'm sure this seems awfully selfish but I'm not one to shy away from an issue or how I feel because, in my humble, heart-on-my-sleeve opinion, it doesn't make for an open and honest relationship. No, don't worry, I'm not about (as much as I'd like to) to sell and become a vagabond but I'd be lying if the thought hadn't crossed my mind once in a while.

The house. Oh yeh, the house. Mrs S says we need a house. I demur. I say, and we've exchanged a few words over this, that there's a contradistinction between a home and a house. My view is that a home can be anywhere but a house is immovable and therefore place-centric. She thinks I'm being too much like a lawyer and she's right. But the truth is, I don't feel attached to a house or place like my wife — even though I wax lyrical about my locus (South Devon). I know that providing I wasn't too far removed from the sea or the wild that that would be my home and my abode could be a tent, a van or, well, who knows. I hope that this issue is reconcilable — and I say that with great sincerity — but there's a small part of me, the reckless, leap-and-the-net-will-appear persona that is prepared to throw in the towel on my moribund, gone-cold-in-the-oven legal career and see where the winds might take me 😉. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Before I get to that stage — the travelling part — there's a lot more that we can do to simplify our lives including or more especially clearing out the loft, cleaning out the cupboards and giving away to charity the abundance of clothes that take up so much of our time — i.e. washing and ironing. After that I intend to give my car to daughter #3, Mrs S intends to get an electric car for work and I'll use public transport if, in the unlikely event, I need to travel to my place of work (it takes just over an hour if the bus and train connections are working properly).

And then? Well, when push comes to simplicity shove, things will be a lot easier to navigate. I imagine, or at least this is what we've tentatively talked about, we'll buy a small/tiny house that we can shut up and not worry too much about. Of course, it may be that our children want to live there, and that's fine but the less attachment we have to it the better. 

You might ask why I need share any of the detail of my/our life? I don't know but I've this unerring sense that pairing back our oh-so-complex lives will become slightly more topical as we start to see a more thoughtful and expansive conversation apropos the tumultuous times we're living through. That's not to suggest that everyone is disposed to live with practically nothing or is willing to throw baby out with the bathwater, but I do feel, inspired by nothing more than a deep sense of unease with how the world has been bent out of shape by materialism and mass consumption, that the time is ripe for a different type of lifestyle. And I'm sorry, yet again, if that comes across as pompous but it's how I feel. You see, as I've said a few times on Livejournal, I was fortunate growing up to know and live with my great-grandparents, all born in the 19th century. One thing that showed up in spades is they were no less happy and in some cases much happier with far less. Also, there was no expectation or not to the extent that's rampant across the developed world. (I'm sure the availability of credit has a lot to answer for as well as our spending habits.) This isn't to suggest that I want to live my life backwards but it does suggest to me that there are more ways to skin a cat than the modus operandi we've got used to.

Anyhow, that's enough of my warblings.

The day is young and it's time to get with the programme.

Take care.

Blessings and much love, Ju

Photo by Catalin  serban on Unsplash

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