Sunday, August 16, 2015

Simplify your life

I had an astonishing number of views yesterday - did you all tell your friends? In honour of that I thought I'd better write a post today before I start working on the second book in Zora.

I'm developing something of a theme, or a lifestyle choice perhaps is a better way of saying it. Living here I've learned a great deal about myself and what is important in life, and I want to try to explain in a way that may make you rethink your own lifestyle choices.

Simplicity is the key to a good life. I've read multi-millionaires say that and snorted in disbelief. After all, it's easy to live a simple life when you can afford to have people do everything for you and you can buy whatever you want right? Hop on your boat, board your plane, smuggle your dogs into Australia (sorry Johnny), it's all simple when you have the money. Of course that's not the type of simplicity I'm talking about and I'm sure not what those people mean either.

I love shoes, adore them. I love nice clothes. There was a time in my life when I owned almost 100 pairs of shoes. I'd buy shoes for no other reason than that they looked amazing in the shop window. Some of those shoes I wore only once, some I never wore, they just cluttered up my wardrobe. I had clothes I had never worn, impulse buys that made me feel great at the time, but that type of pleasure only lasts a short while.

I know I've written about this before, but the longer I live here, the more I see of unhappy dissatisfied people cluttering up their lives with stuff, the deeper my belief entrenches itself. You don't need stuff, you don't need to fill your home and your life with things. Simplicity is the key. When I have the funds I will buy the things that I need and I will choose things that are visually appealing. But I will not buy just for the sake of buying. If I need a new outdoor table so that I can fully appreciate and enjoy my balcony I will do so. I will buy something well made and attractive, but I will not go and buy the most expensive table I can find.

I will never again be that person who goes shopping just for something to do, who fills her house with things in an attempt to fill an empty soul. This is exaggerating I know, but I do believe that if we all stopped being materialistic and instead became more spiritual, and looked for ways to help others, we would be happier and the world would be better balanced.

Materialism is out of control, running rampant and fueled by a media that encourages it. Materialism runs the world, big business depends on consumers who believe that they must upgrade their televisions, cars, phones and wardrobe yearly. The world's resources are being used up and huge quantities of non-recyclable garbage is being produced in their place. We are making ourselves a rubbish dump to live in and for no real reason.

One person won't make much of a difference, but you have to start somewhere. So, when I am once more financially viable I will for sure be improving my standard of living. However I will also be doing whatever I can to help those in need. There is a charity here that donates clothing and supplies to the poverty stricken locals - I will donate clothing and cash to that charity. I will donate what I can to the BlueMoon Animal Shelter, which is always in need of funds to help the animals. I will do more for my outdoor street cats - move somewhere that has a walled garden and put them to live in there. I will look for ways to help others.

And I will live simply. You don't need gadgets, not in any part of your life. It's important not to confuse want with need. You may want that flash new television with all the bells and whistles (that you will probably not use once the novelty wears off) but you don't really need it. You might think you need that fancy whizz-bang kitchen gadget (I'm a basic cook, I couldn't think of an example!) but unless you are a chef or your passion is cooking - and perhaps even then - you don't need it. If it's going to spend most of its life sitting in a cupboard you probably don't need it.

As a writer I see a lot of advertising for all sorts of things that apparently writers need. Of course you don't. There are gadgets galore that all purport to make the writer's life easier. They probably do, but most of them have been developed because the savvy and the unscrupulous have noticed a market and have rushed to fill it. Writers, especially new and indie writers, are being wooed by all kinds of ways to streamline their writing and note-taking. Things that cost a substantial amount of money, and which will change the way we write - apparently. I haven't tried any of them so I can't say how effective they are. The more popular of them I am sure are very useful, but the most important thing a writer needs is his or her own head. It doesn't matter how many gadgets you have, if you don't hone your craft you will not be a good writer.

Get rid of your clutter, think before you buy any more. Clean out your belongings, re-use, re-purpose, recycle. Don't throw it away because you don't want it any more, find it a new home or a new use. It can be painful to declutter, I know, I've done it in a big way. Those of you who have followed me for a while know that I lost everything. I took all that I owned to an opportunity shop, an embarrassing amount of stuff that I was emotionally attached to. It broke my heart to lose my things and to lose my home. I won't lie about that, I thought it would kill me. But it didn't, and a year later do you know what I miss the most (apart from my books)? I miss the planter pots that I made with broken pots. I miss the little bit of creativity that my old life allowed me. Or that I allowed myself in that life.

In this new life, unconcerned as I am about possessions, an up-to-date wardrobe, how I look to other people, I am more creative than I have been since I was a child. And what about childhood is similar to how things are now? As a child I didn't care about possessions, clothes, or how I appeared to others, and I was always making up stories in my head, drawing pictures and making things. I was creative as a child, we all are. The creativity gets sucked out of us by adult responsibilities.

We all have adult responsibilities and sometimes those can be overwhelming. Been there, done that, will undoubtedly do it again. So why make your life more complicated than it has to be? I was forced to declutter and I did it to an extent that I don't recommend. But, having done it, I realised that none of it was important. Family is important, and friends, and being kind is important. We should all endeavour to be kind to each other. Everyone has a story to tell - it's a trite cliche but it's true. Nobody is as together as they may appear. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I can't stress enough how important I believe this to be.

This world is full of hate, frighteningly so. People are offended by everything it seems, and are so full of hate and anger. Be kind - kindness spreads just like anger does. Spread kindness, declutter your life, focus on helping others, and watch your life become rich in all the ways that matter.

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