I’ve become a little cautious lately. A little too safe. There’s too much egg-shell-walking happening, and I don’t like it.
You see, so often I go to insert an extra little piece of my life into my writing – just a glimpse or a tidbit – only to stop and overthink it.
“Hang on,” says the little voice in my head, “you’re supposed to be into simple living. You shouldn’t care what jeans you buy. You can’t go telling everyone your daughter has 13 stuffed animals on her bed. You aren’t allowed to talk about the 5:2 Diet or juicing or stand-up paddleboarding. You’re supposed to be…well…”
Just what am I supposed to be if not the person who loves a clutter-free room, money in the bank, quesadillas, Indigenous art, travelling to far-off places, a gutsy shiraz and Friday Night Lights?
Should I pretend that I am disinterested in my appearance? Should I avoid laughing too heartily at old Chevy Chase movies? Should I feign indifference to good design? The Walking Dead? My Nespresso machine?
All because they don’t fit under the big umbrella that is ‘simple living’?
More and more I think the answer is no.
Honestly, there are many things I avoid, simply because they bring nothing positive to my life:
- gossip magazines
- reality TV
- aimless channel surfing
- more than occasional junk food
- fashion magazines
- junk news
- mean-spirited or bigoted humour
- soft drink
And there are many other things I want to improve on. (My patience, aerobic fitness, and not reading emails in bed.)
But failing to mention any interesting parts of my life, any challenges, any shortcomings or obstacles, simply to avoid the appearance of ‘doing it wrong’? Well, that’s just ridiculous. If not fitting in a box is ‘doing it wrong’, then we’re all in trouble, don’t you think?
We don’t fit a mold. We can’t squish into a box. We are unique and interesting. So let’s embrace the quirks and the bumps and the bruises. Let’s be who we are, and be open to who others are.
And maybe, just maybe, the energy we gain when we stop pretending will be enough to help us improve what we want to improve. That’s one of the ultimate goals in simplifying life, if you ask me.