As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness….Henry David Thoreau
A little over a year ago I thought I had simplified my life as much as I could. How wrong I was.
I read an article around the time I was getting rid of all my stuff trying to figure out where I was going in this phase of my life. The story was about a woman who gave up her home, career, and material belongings to live a simpler life. What struck me was how happy she was. The title of the story was something about having only two keys. It made an impression on me and made me realize all the things I owned that needed my attention to keep them clean and in order.
Last week I transferred my car over to my son and daughter-in-law. This allowed me to drop my own car insurance, eliminate needing to pay for inspections, gas, and repair and maintenance issues (like oil changes and tires).
It took me until now to realize the extent that giving up this one material item would change in my life. Yes, there is definitely the money issue, but more importantly, at least to me, are the other intangibles.
- No more having to dig out the car from snow and ice to move it
- No longer needing to watch for the plow to move my car so the parking lot can be properly cleaned up.
- No big material responsibilities
That’s the big one. Did I remember to lock the doors at the store? What is that sound? How do I get this inspection sticker to stay in place so I don’t get in trouble? When was the last oil change? Do I have my registration and insurance with me in case I need to show it?
By giving up the car, I have no major item that calls for my attention.
- If the washer or dryer acts up, I call management
- When the screen door lost the bottom panel, I called management
- When the hot water went out, I called management
Sure I take care of the little things.
- I added caulking around the window
- I added weather stripping around the door
- I keep the carpet shampooed
- I change the washers on the faucets
As for what I own that may need my attention
- My dorm-sized fridge needs defrosting from time to time
- The computer needs scanned for problems.
- Lightbulbs need changed from time to time
- Laundry needs done
And what surprised me is that I now have three keys, one for the mailbox, one for my apartment and one for a firebox I keep my important papers in. I was shocked. You should have seen my keyring when I was younger, but right now I can’t remember what all those keys on my keyring were for. Guess they were never important.
But then I took a look at my budget. My debts are cleared and I have no credit cards. I pay cash for anything I need, so that leaves me with two bills. Here’s what I have left that I pay each month:
- rent (which includes my utilities)
- Phone (I pay once a year)
The simplicity of it all makes me smile. I don’t regret giving up my car one bit. When talking about simplicity, I have a couple things that are special to me from my travels. One is a piece of petrified wood from Arizona.
My grand-children are now adding to this collection. The colors don’t show well, but there is a white rock, one with orange tints through it, another with red tones, and finally a baby pine cone.
We have begun to assemble a small display of what we find on our walks that catches our eyes. You know those little things that make you smile when you notice them? What do you hold on to that makes you smile?