When Pursuing Simplicity Makes Things Harder

I was walking the aisles of Target…this is something I do often with two young children at home. [And all the moms collectively said, “YES!“] I’m a sucker for Target clearance. There is usually something I just must have on clearance. I think I have 14 empty journals because of this. But you know, who knows when I might have a writer’s inspiration and fill them all at once. You never know.

Anyway, I found this platter I wanted. It wasn’t on sale, but I loved it. I may need this for entertaining purposes. In my basket it went. Oh look, cloth napkins! I could save paper because they’re reusable! Tossed in the basket. Well, of course, the kids need new plastic straw cups. Look, this one has a dog with a crown on…oh! and that one has an airplane with a spike collar leash…obvs I need these. In the cart they went. And then the kids started whining they were hungry. So some Goldfish joined the spike collared airplane, along with some chips and a new book for me. And look! Kids summer clothing is on clearance! Lets buy three shirts and shorts for each kid because, lets be honest, I live in Arizona, so summer clothes are more like year round clothes. Valid investment.

And the basket gets filled with things I need, and I end up spending $124.89 on a bunch of stuff and my husband shakes his head in wonder at how I justify it all.

Sound familiar?

As I have been journeying towards a simpler life and what that looks like for me, these shopping trips have started to look different for me. More noble, you ask? Sloughing off the old consumer me and cheerfully putting on the new, more appreciative me? Nope. It can all be summed up in one word.

Painful.

You see, the ugly, Ineedallthethings me rears its ugly head and I stomp my hypothetical foot and whine that, “Why is something so good so hard?” I’ve wondered a lot in the past week or so: why is living simple feel not so simple?

I love doing dishes. I know, I’m weird. But the standing and doing one thing [you can’t really multitask when you’re up to your elbows in warm water and rainbow suds] is relaxing for me.  I enjoy it. Well, when we moved into our house in the city, I embraced the clothesline-instead-of-the-dryer, dishwasher-less, no garbage disposal, smaller square footage lifestyle. I craved it. But when we got here, after the honeymoon phase wore off… [Look honey! I’ve hung 86 loads of laundry on the line and its AMAZING!] …I started to resent having to do dishes 2-3 times a day. I started to avoid them.

And then today, I had another “zoom-in” moment. Going from having allthethings to actively pursuing less is hard. I realized that intentionally working to change your beliefs about something takes effort. Time. And often times is can be painful. Giving up stuff is usually painful. Pruning a bush is painful. You have to get rid of a lot of extra in order for it to thrive and produce even more stunning blooms.

And that’s us. You and me. Looking to make changes in your life for the better can often make things harder for a while. Is it worth it? Absolutely. But anything worth doing is going to often take more sacrifice, effort, and time. But the investment often yields more joy and peace.

So, just remind me of this when I am crying crocodile tears in the aisles of Target because I can’t buy another candle. It ain’t easy, y’all, but its so worth the journey.