Simplicity as the New American Dream?

I began to simplify my life when I realized that I wasn’t happy with the way things were any longer.

I recently read that a down-shifter, or one who embraces voluntary simplicity is a person who has been questioning life for a while or suffered a life event.

In a way I guess I would fit in that profile, but I began to wonder why others have embraced a simpler lifestyle.

What was the defining moment that made you decide to change the way you live?

My decision came after my youngest had been out on his own for five years, so it wasn’t really an empty-nest event. I really didn’t know where I was going with what I was doing, I just knew I had out grown my home and belongings.  Soon, I was living  simply in a much smaller, studio apartment.  I realize I’m not the only one to embrace living in a small home, want to read about others who have moved to small or tiny, tiny apartments, click here.

I am noticing more and more young people, those in their early 20s,  embracing a simpler life, even so far as to not own a car, or even having a drivers license, for my generation getting our driver’s license was a dream come true that we had waited for with bated breath for months. Are they smarter than I was at that age, or is it something else? I keep hearing about a New American Dream, and it seems the younger generation is embracing this.

When I was in my 20s I was still trying to fit into the mold formed for me by my family which entailed the career, home ownership, and most of all to out earn the previous generation, you know the American Dream.  My home was much larger than anything I needed at the time as well, because the size  proved I was succeeding.

For me, embracing simplicity and down-sizing, it wasn’t about the money, it was about having the time to pursue whatever interest might come up. Of course the chance to clean less  was something I looked forward to.  But an unexpected perk of embracing simplicity has been the amount of free time I now have.

Today is a perfect example, I took a good part of the day to do nothing, nothing of importance that is.   I took a book out into the sun, yes, it finally warmed back up.  When a neighbor joined me we sat around catching up, then played in and around the gardens, checking and watering them, and talking about what other plans we wanted to see come to fruition this summer in our community outdoor spaces. It was relaxing, and enjoyable, better than rushing around.  So why are you embracing  a simpler life?



  1. Congratulations on choosing simplicity!

    I think I’ve sort of done things backwards to how most people have. I was the type-A over achiever all through school – class valedictorian, Phi Beta Kappa, the whole nine yards. And it made me utterly miserable. So I basically decided to punt, and jumped ship just as the train was leaving the station (how many metaphors can she mix?)

    I’ve stuck my toe in the “real world” a few times, but just long enough to remind myself why I hate this treadmill culture of achieve, earn, spend… faster faster faster! So I’ve just followed my own quirky little path on the fringes of society for pretty much my entire adult life.

    When people ask me what I “do” I generally respond “as little as possible!”


    • I’ve had spurts of both. I left high school and headed right to the work force, then in my mid-20s went to college hoping it would give me the stability in the workforce to raise two young boys on my own. I never lived in a very big home, raising my boys in a 840 sq feet, I never felt comfortable with large homes. Luckily for me my boys have always been supportive of me setting out to find my own path. Little late to find simplicity suits me best, but like they say better late than never.


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