I used to think ‘simple’ and ‘easy’ were synonymous–that test was ‘simple,’ a back-handspring is ‘simple’ for a gymnast–but I realize now that to attain simple, hard is required.
I look at my life filled with gadgets and ‘stuff’ meant to make my life easier, and yet, it’s never been more complicated. On more than one occasion, I’ve felt stranded in my own home. The printer was out of ink, the Microcell meant to give enough signal so that I could make a phone call from my house wasn’t working, the Internet was out, or I had dropped and killed my cell phone for the third time.
I don’t know anyone’s phone number anymore because they’re all stored in my cell, and I rely on the Internet for every bit of information I want to uncover. I need the reminder to flash on my phone so that I know when to take my kids to their doctor appointments, and I feel strange calling on a neighbor for help because most of them work, immediately entering their garages upon arriving at home, insulating themselves from the outside world.
I watch my husband work and am amazed how easily he can e-mail or fax or schedule meetings or set up conference calls all with a phone and laptop, and yet I bemoan the fact that his customers and employers think that they can reach him at any time. Work hours are not confined to the time in a building anymore, and our family has to find a way to set our own boundaries.
Having a simple life is hard, and all the gadgets and gizmos meant to make life easier tend to just complicate it. I now realize that ‘simple’ is synonymous with ‘peace’ and want desperately to find it. I read Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy with the kids, and I was impressed with the hard work they all do day in and day out, but every bit of their work has purpose and meaning, and they have peace.
They aren’t rendered helpless as I when a lightning storm knocks out the Internet, and they aren’t brainstorming ideas for quality family time. Their days aren’t filled with running back and forth to the school or deciding how many extra-curricular activities are too much. They work hard to survive, and at the end of the day, they sleep soundly.
Perhaps getting rid of some of the ‘necessities’ meant to make life easier is the key. Perhaps walking down the road filled with hard is the path to lead me to simple.
This post is linked to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.