We’re about to hit the sky again over the holidays, and it’s gotten me thinking about some of the other travel we did this year. One of my favorite trips was with some friends to Mexico (which included Pine losing his lunch on both flights out there and then Alex keeping the non-party going for the next 24 hours. So you know it must have been really good the rest of the time. :D)
We basically did nothing for a week except stay in two tiny matching casitas, cook, eat, nap, walk on the beach, chat into the night and read. It was awesome.
I have a near compulsive drive to do, go, accomplish, attack tasks. I tend to stress (read: obsess, worry) a little (read: lot). But this miniature house just wouldn’t let me do that. It made me rest and relax, and for that I am grateful. When there’s literally nothing to do, you just can’t “do.”
So when we got home, I tried to take a little of Mexico with me. Here are a few lessons I learned about simplicity from our cute casita.
When you have less:
Creativity abounds. When you have one skillet, one spatula, a knife and a bowl—and that’s your kitchen—you realize you can do a lot more with less than you thought. You see how you can reuse or repurpose things or how you don’t need 5 different specialty gadgets to get dinner on the table (who knew?). And when you let it, this concept actually plays itself out in every cranny of your simpler life. And it’s fun and good.
You think (and read and dream). When your schedule isn’t bloated and there’s less to manage, you start to see your inspiration return (well, hello there…). With just a bit of calm and quiet, your brain begins to sputter back into motion, and it’s cool to see the places it goes.
You worry less. You just do.
There’s only so much you can “do.” With fewer things clogging up your closets and cranium, there’s just less to do. Sometimes I need to help myself slow down by just forcing myself to have less to work on. With less clutter there’s less cleaning, with fewer engagements, there’re fewer expectations.
You focus on the important stuff. With fewer commitments, there’s greater community. You have space to have an impromptu taco dinner or jot a quick note to a dear friend. You have more time (and energy) to see the people you love and do the things you really mean to.
You don’t care (in the best way). When you start thinking about down-sizing, getting rid or stuff or cutting out media, you think about all the things you’ll miss (I’m looking at you, E!). You worry you’ll be bored or deprived. Then you take the plunge and you realize that you really didn’t care about that stuff as much as you thought. And that it was probably actually weighing you, and your joy, down.
You rest (and that’s ok). We don’t hear it enough! It is ok to take a break, to let things go a little and truly rest. Without it, we just end up fried, burnt up and less effective. “Pushing through” isn’t always a virtue and keeping your nose to the grindstone doesn’t always accomplish the most. If God, the Creator of the Universe, took some time to rest—so can you. The world isn’t resting on your shoulders—don’t live your life like it is.
So even when we can’t sit in a simple little house in a simple little town looking at the beach (sorry to be a killjoy), we can take the sanity it brings us. Look at your life through that lens and I think you’ll find a few ways to lighten your load while making a bigger impact on the things that really matter.
How have you simplified to live a more impactful life? Love to get your ideas!