I have been thinking about voluntary simplicity and what it means for me and our family.
For some, voluntary simplicity means eschewing all of the material trappings of life, getting back to the land and living super frugally. For others, voluntary simplicity means getting closer to the earth, reducing your footprint. For others, it is a practice of spirituality, perhaps Christian perhaps Buddhism. For a different group it means frugal behavior or spartan homes. I guess for everyone who thinks of Voluntary Simplicity as a way of living your life, it is different.
So, what does it mean for us? I am not sure anymore, I used to think it was a way of being more frugal, of using and consuming less. But as our lives have changed, I notice the creep of possessions. We sold it all and moved to Asia with 6 suitcases. We now have a container full of stuff. Does that mean we are no longer interested in simplicity?
It boils down to this, a re-evaluation of things that are important to me. The joy that I have found working from home (although not without complications). Working from has been an unexpected joy. The constant monitoring of what we purchase and why, in fact, it is time for some re-evaluation of my personal shopping habits again. It is looking at the things I do, the places I travel, the path I walk. It is slowing down again to look at what I enjoy- a good book, or movie, good food-well cooked, but not pretentious-, good wine and good company. While I often look at those better dressed, driving a car rather than sitting in a taxi or on the bus, I think again about the costs (and not just that of the money). Do I want to have to keep up, to buy the newest bag...to have the newest designer shoes? Does that make me a better person?
Simple living for me is about my choices, they are not right or wrong, they are constantly being re-worked and sometimes thrown away all together. But as I think about it again, I think about why it made sense to study simplicity 12 years ago when I was a new lawyer struggling to find my place in the world. It makes more sense now.