The Joy of Simplicity

yearbookheader-2From http://www.123inspiration.com

Have you ever seen that image of Dale Irby, a retired physical education teacher from Dallas (Texas) who has sported the same outfit in every yearbook photo for forty years? It started out back in 1973, then his wife dared him to do it again the next year…

I absolutely adore that image. I find the simplicity of Dale’s outfit so beautiful. It reminds me so much my dear husband whose outfit hardly ever changed over the almost 20 years I knew him. It reflects so well the philosophy of minimalism and simplicity we are trying to instill in our children. Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. There is great freedom in simplicity of living.

Minimalism in my view is not about owning nothing, but about nothing owning us. It is about removing unnecessary distractions to allow us to focus on what really matters. It is about just being yourself. If someone does not appreciate our true beings, why spending money on the things we don’t need just to impress them?

The world we live in is not friendly to the pursuit of minimalism. Its tendencies and relentless advertising campaigns call us to acquire more, better, faster, trendier and newer. The journey of finding simplicity requires consistent inspiration.

Do you like simplicity in your life?
What is your source for inspiration?

From http://om.symphonyoflove.net

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Frugality for happiness, contentment and liberty

“Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.”

Elise Boulding

frugality
from I’m a Frugal Girl

One of my favorite words is frugality – a psychological trait shaping how resources are allocated between consumption, savings and investment over time. As it is pointed out in the ‘Essays on Management’, frugality lies at the heart of good household, business and organisational management. Frugality however should not to be confused with selfishness or “meanness.” Frugality requires a mind-set limiting small pleasures today with a focus on a better future. It implies an eye for micro-detail where decisions to save, conserve or consume matter. It implies observations of both social complexity and ecological systems and how components work together. It suggests searching for the simplest way of doing things.

In personal life, frugality brings simplicity, happiness, contentment and freedom from following the trends of the consumption society. As best-selling travel writer Bill Bryson demonstrates in his memoir “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt kid”, frugality also stimulates creativity and sense of humour. Check out the following excerpt from his memoir as an example:

“All our meals consisted of leftovers. My mother had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of foods that had already been to the table, sometimes repeatedly. Apart from a few perishable dairy products, everything in the fridge was older than I was, sometimes by many years. Her oldest food possession of all, it more or less goes without saying, was a fruit cake that was kept in a metal tin and dated from the colonial period. I can only assume that my mother did all her cooking in the 1940s so that she could spend the rest of her life surprising herself with what she could find under cover at the back of the fridge. I never knew here to reject food. The rule of thumb seemed to be that if you opened a lid and the stuff inside didn’t make you actually recoil and take at least one staggered step backwards, it was deemed OK to eat…

Both my parents had grown up in the Great Depression and neither of them ever threw anything away if they could possibly avoid it. My mother routinely washed and dried paper plates, and smoothed out for reuse spare aluminium foil. If you left a pea on your plate, it became part of a future meal. All your sugar cam in little packets spirited out of restaurants in deep coat pockets, as did our jams, jellies, crackers, tartar sauces, some of our ketchup and butter, all of our napkins, and a very occasional ashtray; anything that came with a restaurant table really. One of the happiest moments in my parents’ life was when maple syrup started to be served in small disposable packets and they could add those to the household hoard.”

I grew up in a frugal household. Even after having worked his way up to a high level managerial position, my dad continued bringing home various ‘treasures’ spotted in the rubbish container conveniently located nearby our apartment block. With regard to frugal cooking, only Bear Grylls‘ mum (whom he thanked profoundly for developing his unique  ability to eat anything on earth) could outdo my grandma. My grandma’s cooking motto was the famous saying of Jerome K Jerome “What the eye does not see, the stomach does not get upset over”. That kept me well away from the kitchen with all grandma’s behind-the-scene wizardry,  though it did not put me off the frugal lifestyle.

Let’s not be those who do not economize. Then we won’t need to agonize and waste our life on things we do not need to impress people we do not like.

I am

THE END

Live simply so that others may simply live…

live-simplyFrom the Art of Simple

Voluntary Simplicity is a lifestyle designed to focus on living and veer away from material possessions by subtracting the unnecessary and adding the meaningful. The rejection of consumerism arises from the recognition that ordinary Western-style consumption habits are degrading the planet; that lives of high consumption are unethical in a world of great human need; and that the meaning of life does not and cannot consist in the consumption or accumulation of material things. Extravagance and acquisitiveness are accordingly considered an unfortunate waste of life, certainly not deserving of the social status and admiration they seem to attract today. The affirmation of simplicity arises from the recognition that very little is needed to live well – that abundance is a state of mind, not a quantity of consumer products or attainable through them.

According to this philosophy of living, personal and social progress is measured not by the conspicuous display of wealth or status, but by increases in the qualitative richness of daily living, the cultivation of relationships, and the development of social, intellectual, aesthetic, and/or spiritual potentials. As Duane Elgin has famously defined it, voluntary simplicity is ‘a manner of living that is outwardly simple and inwardly rich, … a deliberate choice to live with less in the belief that more life will be returned to us in the process’.

It should be noted that voluntary simplicity does not, however, mean living in poverty, becoming an ascetic monk, or indiscriminately renouncing all the advantages of science and technology. It does not involve regressing to a primitive state or becoming a self-righteous puritan. And it is not some escapist fad reserved for saints, hippies, or eccentric outsiders. Rather, advocates of simplicity suggest that by examining afresh our relationships with money, material possessions, the planet, ourselves and each other, ‘the simple life’ of voluntary simplicity is about discovering the freedom and contentment that comes with knowing how much consumption is truly ‘enough’.

From What is Voluntary Simplicity?

HappinessFrom SimplySpiritualLiving

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By sowing frugality we reap liberty…

“By sowing frugality we reap liberty, a golden harvest.”

Agesilaus

From the Frugal-Wise blog

* * *

“Twenty years ago we began studying how people become wealthy… In time, we discovered something odd. Many people who live in expensive homes and drive luxury cars do not actually have much wealth. Then, we discovered something even odder: Many people who have a great deal of wealth do not even live in upscale neighborhoods.

Most people have it all wrong about wealth in America. Wealth is not the same as income. If you make a good income each year and spend it all, you are not getting wealthier. You are just living high. Wealth is what you accumulate, not what you spend.

How do you become wealthy? Here, too, most people have it wrong. Is it seldom luck or inheritance or advanced degree or even intelligence that enables people to amass fortunes. Wealth is more often the result of a lifestyle of hard work, perseverance, planning, and, most of all, self-discipline.

There has never been more personal wealth in America than there is today (over $22 trillion in 1996). Yet most Americans are not wealthy. Nearly one-half of our wealth is owned by 3.5 percent of our households. Most of the other households don’t even come close…

More than twenty-five million households in the United States have annual incomes in excess of $50,000; more than seven million have annual incomes over $100,000. But in spite of being “good income” earners, too many of these people have small levels of accumulated wealth. Many live from paycheck to paycheck…

How long could the average American household survive economically without a monthly check from an employer? Perhaps a month or two in most cases…

“This people cannot be millionaires! They don’t look like millionaires, they don’t’ dress like millionaires, they don’t’ eat like millionaires, they don’t act like millionaires – they don’t even have millionaire names. Where are the millionaires who look like millionaires?” The person who said this was a vice president of a trust department. He made these comments following a focus group interview and dinner that we hosted for ten first-generation millionaires. His view of millionaires is shared by most people who are not wealthy. They think millionaires own expensive clothes, watches, and other status artifacts. We have found this is not the case… Looks can be deceiving.”

(From “The millionaire next door:
t
he surprising secrets of America’s wealthy”
by Thomans Stanley and William Danko)

From Startups: 7 Tips on Being Frugal From Millionaire Entrepreneurs

BOOTikova

(Russia 1990s)

(Photo by Igor Oussenko)

I met Bootikova at Uni. Boots were everything in her life. Failed exam – get a new pair of boots. Had an argument with parents – another pair will do the trick. Even her surname had a boot in it. She married her first pair by the end of the first year at Uni. By the end of the second year they got divorced.

“Too tight,” – she said.

A few months later she had another pair. She kept changing her boots annually, somehow managing to stay on friendly terms with all of them.

“How do you manage that?” – we asked.

“Just make sure you leave each pair in good condition – that will do the trick,” she laughed.

“Do you have another pair on the horizon?” we asked by the end of the 5th year. “No one goes barefoot to the shop looking for boots after all.”

“No, I’m a girl of strict principles – one pair at a time,” she chuckled.

After graduation she moved to Italy with her Italian pair. I met her on facebook the other day.

“Are you still looking for boots?” I asked.

“No. Why would I when the whole country is like a big boot? Besides, I’m not BOOTikova anymore, I’m Signora SLIPPERStina now”.

(Photo by DANIS)