On Monday I was giving some examples of how I’m simplifying my life and changing my ideas of what Success is all about. It’s been an amazing journey. Exhausting sometimes, but, oh, so freeing. Here’s more~~
—I don’t watch tv or expose myself to advertising. We like to think we’re immune to ads, but the truth is that ads are cleverly designed by experts to tweak our desires and expectations. We want an iPad because it’s new and cool and because important and successful people have them. We want a new computer because it does cool new stuff. But these are wants: wants are what we develop after we see something. Needs are things we have already, before we’re exposed to something new and shiny. You need a new tube of paint because you used up the one you had. You want a new tube of paint because they’ve just come out with a whole new line in lots of brilliant colors. Learning to tell the difference goes a long way to help you simplify your life.
—We don’t eat out. We don’t go to sporting events or theatre or anything we don’t really, really enjoy for its own sake. People are always suggesting that we do XYZ, but if it’s not something we love, there’s no point in spending either the time or the money. We like going out to a local wine bar several times a week to have wine and visit. I stitch while we’re there. We enjoy this, and I get a lot done, and it’s worth the time and money we spend. To us, it’s way more valuable than going out to eat a meal (I couldn’t stitch, we wouldn’t see as many people we know). Plus other people who are there all the time always ask to see what I’m working on, so I’m getting some strokes, too.
—We’ve each developed a style of dress that works for us. We have sturdy cotton or linen clothes that I dye and, as needed, mend; they’ll last for years. This saves a bunch of both time and money. No shopping for clothes, no buying a new wardrobe, no considerations of what’s currently in style.
—We stopped our subscriptions after realizing that we actually didn’t read/watch/enjoy the stuff we were paying for. We used to have lots of cable tv channels until we realized we never watched the movies. The newspaper often went unread, the rolled-up papers stacking up until all they were good for was the recycling bin. I had stacks of magazines I barely glanced at and no longer enjoyed. Not having that stuff come to the house is freeing and cuts down on the clutter it created while we were thinking we’d get to it “eventually.”
—We don’t value the luxuries that people get accustomed to. Most of the people we know locally have someone come to clean their house and someone else come to take care of their yard. They take their laundry out for someone else to do (or someone comes in to do it), and they eat out every night. To them, it’s a luxury to be able to pay someone else to do these things. To me, having to depend on someone else to do things is stressful, in addition to the expense.
—In short, the secret for me is to realize that the good life is about having time to do what I love, not about spending time earning money to pay for things I don’t need and don’t really want. Less stuff, less expense, less stress. More time and space.
I know not all of these will work for other people, but I hope there’s some glimmer of an idea in there that will help you in your quest to life the creative life.
Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.
Check out Ricë’s book, Living the Creative Life (in eBook form so it doesn’t take up space!).
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