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Simplicity Can Be Very Time Consuming

Simplicity Can Be Very Time Consuming

Today, I went outside in the frigid spring air to hang some clothes on our line, and I almost stepped on a rabbit.  I really have no clue how this happened, because furry wildlife a.) are generally scared of moms with intimidating piles of clean laundry and,  b.) don’t frequent the city much and we live in the middle of it all, next to an elementary school.

(hmmm…as I am typing this, I’m realizing that if I had to choose between visiting an elementary school playground or a grassy yard with new spring shoots in their garden, well…I can’t blame the critter.)

Nonetheless, I was trying to knockout the 437 items on my to-do list today and so this wasn’t a leisurely stroll into the yard.  This was me at full speed, on a mission to hang this load to dry in under 3 minutes.  Our line is only about 7 feet outside of our back door, so the poor bunny didn’t even have time to react until I was right  there, less then a foot from his nose.

At this point one of us screamed and we both bolted.

Please rest assured that the rabbit is fine and my heart has started beating normally again.  And let me clarify that I do not have a fear of rabbits, but in my defense, I am not fond of mice or rats, and from the corner of my eye, all I saw was quickly moving fur.

I went back to my speedy line-drying marathon and inevitably started wondering why on earth I was wasting time line drying my clothes when I have a perfectly good dryer inside…which snowballed into thoughts of, “Why on earth am I baking bread this afternoon? I could easily go to the store and grab a loaf.” And,  “The beans are still soaking! I forgot to turn on the burner!  Guess we’re not having black bean soup for dinner…shoulda just bought CANNED beans…”

There is no easy way to live simply.  And by simply, I mean getting back to the basics, living frugally, cooking at home, producing your own food (even if it’s just a tomato plant on your patio!) and eating un-refined, non-processed food.  Last week, our article focused on facing the reality that “living simply” looks different for each person, and can change with the seasons of our life, so we can’t compare how “hippy, crunchy and frugal” we all are, because we are all living completely different lives with different circumstances, budgets, living arrangements, etc.

There are several blogs that I love to read that talk about their expansive gardens, acres of wooded forest and that sweet little stream behind their house. *sigh* If I look behind my house, I see school buses and a playground.  But this is where I am, and although it’s not a rolling prairie, it’s MINE and I adore it!

This week, I’m realizing that “simplicity” takes TIME.  That elusive thing that disappears before our eyes.

There is a careful balance that we must find between simple living, frugality and, quite frankly, our sanity.

This isn’t going to be an exhaustive list of how to save time doing chores, or kitchen tips that I’ve learned along the way.

It’s simply a question:

Is what you’re doing worth it?

Decades from now, I want my memories of this time in our life to be full of days spent playing in our yard (sans the bunny!), afternoons snuggled up, reading on the couch, and time spent TOGETHER.  Not memories of my lacto-fermented bean dip and my questionable sourdough starter.  These things can easily dominate our time and our thoughts, and as we talked about last week, that defeats the purpose!

If you take a look at the rest of our Living Naturally Series, you will see that we are firm believers in returning to the basics and bringing everything back HOME; from  nutrition, to herbal remedies and frugal living. However, the key to remember is that this is your HOME and FAMILY – they are the reason you are doing all of this, and if all of this “simplicity” is taking you away from them, then something is out of balance.  The seasons will ebb and flow, and of course there is work that has to be done. However, snuggling with my kids is worth the trade off and if that means that I sometimes dry my clothes via machine instead of line, then so be it.

Find the “simple balance” that works for you in this season of your life – not “simplicity” like you see on this blog or any other, and not your “someday fairy tale life”. Find the rhythm and strategies that work for YOU, NOW –  and balance your time; ask yourself “Is what I’m doing worth it?”  And if the answer is no, then that’s OK!  Don’t be afraid to change it up and prioritize.

What changes have you made? Was it worth it?

originally published March, 2012

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