I thought I'd do something different today, and post up a link to an excellent article written by a friend, Stephanie Stevens. In my quest to simplify my life, I've come across a lot of challenges, and she addresses some of them in her blog post, What Simplicity Isn't: 4 Things. I highly recommend reading it, as I hope it will make you stop and think about what we've come to think of as "simplifying" in today's world.
I personally have had difficulty separating "simplicity" from "frugality" and "minimalism." They aren't the same. I've caught myself using these words interchangeably, but the truth is simplicity doesn't always mean the least amount of stuff.
In the past, I was forced to be frugal out of necessity. I fixed my own car, built my own computers, put together my own bikes out of spare parts, used every trick I could to save money. This isn't simplicity! I was always stressed about these jobs, because I couldn't afford to just get it fixed.
Years later I still do most of these things, but I've come to realize it's out of habit, not because I need to any more. God has blessed me to where I can call up a mechanic and have them fix my car without worrying about how we're going to get groceries. I can just pop on Amazon and get a tool I need to make a job easier and faster. I don't have to buy the cheapest washing machine, and deal with the fact that it'll break down constantly. I'm slowly coming to grips with the fact that cheaper isn't always simpler or easier.
Now before you can spit your gourmet coffee, yell "DUH!" and slap yourself in the forehead, let me explain. My wife and I both came from relatively poor families. I was taught (and rightly so) that you shouldn't waste money. But as I've grown, I've come to realize the benefits of using money as a tool to get things done to simplify life and save time. I'm past the point where I feel the need to build and fix everything. It just takes too long, causes too much stress, and isn't worth the time if I can spend a bit more to get it done quickly.
I still enjoy building bikes and computers, though I haven't built a computer in a few years. I'm only going to do those things if I enjoy them, though. Why would I stress over it? Either I can do it myself, or I can't... and if I can't, and I can have somebody else do it much more efficiently, then why not?
Simplicity. What does it cost you? Is it worth it? Do you enjoy it?
Is Minimalism really the answer to simplifying your life? They are not always one and the same.
Is it your surroundings or your mental effort that needs to be simplified?
Where do you draw the line between a "life of ease" and "simplicity?" Where do you need to be?