Enjoying the simple things in life
Hello! Welcome back to my blog and my first post of 2023. I hope your year got off to a great start.
I’m enjoying the crisp, sunny mornings and cosy winter days. Since the lockdowns, I’ve grown to love my time at home. I’m grateful for the moments I can potter around my apartment or get lost in a book. Sometimes the best things we can do are the ones that might not seem productive at first glance.
Grief, clarity and growth
At times, the noise, pressure and demands of our busy world have caused me to lose sight of my true self. After my Dad’s death in 2019, I began to see everything differently – and more clearly. I was reminded that nothing in life is promised – it is transient and impermanent.
As I’ve moved through grief, I’ve lived a simpler, calmer, slower, more sustainable life. I’ve also tried to live in tune with nature and the seasons while making space for creativity. The two things that support my wellbeing and bring me joy.
These things feel authentic to me. They also connect me to my Dad who was passionate about the natural world. It feels good to make gentle movements towards a kinder way to live – for my happiness and contentment, but also for the planet.
I embarked on a minimalist journey in 2011 when I downsized from a three-bed house to a two-bed apartment. My pursuit of a simpler life has been an ongoing thread throughout the past decade. With each decision I make, I ask myself, is there a simpler and more sustainable way of doing this, or is this something I can let go of?
During the lockdowns, I re-evaluated everything I owned and consumed. Reflecting on my Dad’s life and death helped me to see how unnecessary many things were, after all, I doubt many people reach the end of their life wishing they’d bought more stuff. I put aside items to sell or donate, let go of outdated habits and made simple, sustainable changes. I’m grateful that I used that time to plant positive seeds for the future.
‘Minimalism is simply removing the things that remove you from your life.’ – Courtney Carver
I carry a lot of body tension, as I’m sure many of us do after the uncertainty of recent years. I sometimes clench my jaw at night, and whenever I become aware of it, I’m holding my shoulders. To address this, I work with a therapist, and I try to prioritise rest. Rest looks like meditation, long soaks in the bath, journaling, leisurely walks in nature, time on my sofa with a pot of tea and a library book, and other nurturing activities.
I hold space in my diary for rest and try not to overcommit myself. As someone who used to champion being busy, I truly appreciate the slow, mindful moments and finding joy in the little things in life. Living slower goes against what society expects of us, but I’m committed to honouring this lifestyle choice – and not feeling guilty about it! It feels good to switch off autopilot to embrace living better, not faster as well as quality over quantity.
‘The great benefit of slowing down is reclaiming the time and tranquility to make meaningful connections – with people, with culture, with work, with nature, with our own bodies and minds.’ – Carl Honoré
When it comes to sustainability, I’m making better choices, I also support the organisations who work to protect the natural world. I aim for progress, not perfection, and I’m realistic about what I can achieve. I’m not an expert in this field, but I’m gradually learning and allowing myself to slip up from time to time. I recently read that if you can’t achieve zero waste, it doesn’t mean you should take zero action. I love this sentiment.
Sustainability, to me, relates to my everyday choices and broader lifestyle. There are many things I’ve stopped buying, from unnecessary beauty products to household items. I’ve also drastically reduced how much meat and fish I eat, and currently, I choose not to fly. There’s no such thing as a fully sustainable life, but I believe I have a responsibility to do what I can to protect our beautiful planet and all who live here.
‘The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.’ – Robert Swan
A simpler life
The process of shedding old and outdated habits has been liberating. As has creating kinder and healthier ways to live. In this post, I merely touch on the changes I’ve made – I’m happy to share more if it would be helpful or of interest.
Minimalism isn’t about owning a particular number of things, nor is slow living about going at a snail’s pace. They’re simply tools that help me remain focused on what’s truly important, letting go of everything that stands in the way.
Minimalism, simple living and slow living make my life richer, because they give me more time and energy for what truly matters.