I would like to share some thoughts about living a simple, slow and sustainable life. There can be said a lot about this topic but I just want to tell you how we try to live this way.
There isn’t a cookbook with clear recipes for a simple life. It could seem useful to have one, but I don’t think one can put living a simple life in one recipe. Just like we all have our favourite recipe for brownies, haven’t we?! It all depends on all kind of aspects, such as the climate, habits, culture and your character. Everyone has to decide for oneself how to live it and what is important for you. It all starts with having your priorities and purpose right. Because slow living hasn’t only to do with one’s life purpose but also with one’s life standard, so there’s no right or wrong to live more sustainable or consciously.
Although there are some main ingredients that may be very useful. One can use a spoonful of this, a spoonful of that and a little pinch of this, …
But here are some ways of how we try to live this simple life:
- Living slowly offers us more time and energy to spend with each other, our kids and friends. We are more focused on each other, profound relationships and community.
- We have more space to feel connected with nature. To live according the seasons and on a natural rhythm. It feels naturally to take care of nature and make sustainable choices. We feel the benefit of being outside, walking in nature, working in the garden, … . When I have been working in the garden for some hours, I feel completely refreshed and happy, even though when I was first tired or dispirited. It has such a healthy and uplifting effect on me. Our kids love being on the look out for special insects and learn about their habitat and way of living.
- Living simply involves the feeling of connection with people who have less and take what we have not for granted.
- Thinking differently about consumerism. We have been changing our consumption pattern through the years. It’s not about the latest fashion or trends but about sustainability. When it comes to buying things, I try to ask myself if it’s necessary or a luxury. For example, healthy food is a necessity but eating a delicious meal in a restaurant is a luxury. It isn’t easy to find a balance in this but it makes you more conscious when you buy. How often don’t we buy ourselves a good feeling instead of a necessity. In my case I mostly buy secondhand clothing as it doesn’t have to be manufactured, there’s no waste and it’s recycling. I also sew some of my and the girls’ clothes. It’s rewarding to make your own unique garments! We celebrate the holidays on our own way and often with natural and handmade decorations. We aren’t dependent on what is available in the stores.
- Declutter and remove stuff we don’t use anymore and donate it to charity or thrift stores. Every now and then I tidy up the cupboards and cabinets or go through our books, the girls their toys to see what we don’t need anymore. I love reading books, but I seldom buy them. We would have too many bookcases to store all the books I’ve read and would love to read! I almost go to the library every weeks to borrow books. Having less stuff in your home is calming and makes your life easier.
- We try to recycle as much as possible. Especially in the garden we reuse and try to be inventive. My husband makes many things from recycled wood, branches, … . It looks beautiful and natural and is good for the environment!
- I try to cook with whole, seasonable and local products as much as possible. All though in winter it can be difficult! We eat a lot of homegrown veggies, fresh from the garden. I make our own jam for a whole year. I also weck a lot of veggies and dry herbs for tea. My husband is a beekeeper and hopefully we will soon harvest our own honey. We usually eat only one time a week meat. The other meals are vegetarian. For us it’s also important to buy fair-trade food like chocolate, coffee and bananas. It costs more but we for example rarely buy juices and compensate it by buying these fair-trade foods.
- A lot of cycling and using public transport. The girls bike to school every day, rain or sun! We do car sharing with a group in our city when we really need a car. My hubby drives to work by motorcycle as it’s not possible to get there by train or bus, due to his irregular hours.
- When having a cold, a soar throat, bruises, we try to use herbs from the garden or other natural, homemade products to cure.
A characteristic of a balanced and simple life is that your life is becoming clearer, directer, less pretentious and less complicated. A life of voluntary simplicity is a life that’s externally simple and internally rich. It’s not static, but an ever changing balance that needs to be balanced, a learning process.
Consciously living, based on a voluntary base, means balance; not taking more than you need and at the same time giving yourself completely. Living fully this unique life you’ve been given. The more you live consciously, the less you identify yourself with material possessions, and the more you’ll be able to live simply.
Simplicity reveals the true character of your life. Living simply helps to embrace every minute and every moment, bringing clearness and gratefulness to your life. I would love to hear from you about how you try to shape a simple life…
“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.” Rainer Maria Rilke