Hanna's simple and sunny home.
As I've been making my way through this Cure —falling behind, catching up again!— I find myself thinking more and more about simple living. What does it mean? What is the value of it? How can I do it in New York? While it's great to clear out my home so that it looks nice, and while I do love thinking about ways I can "improve" the apartment, the greatest part about doing the Cure, in my experience, has been discovering a newfound appreciation for the things I have and love, and realizing that I just don't need nearly as much as I sometimes think I do...So what does it mean to live simply nowadays? (I'm supposed to buy things this week, you say. It says so right in the book. Pg 174!) It doesn't mean moving out to the country with no running water or electricity. It doesn't mean being a hermit and abstaining from anything and everything. It doesn't mean having a life with no complications and problems, desires or disatisfactions. It doesn't even mean not buying anything.
My thoughts on the subject became a little clearer with this week's assignments: cook and eat at least three meals at home, take a media fast, go to bed early and read before sleep. What do all these things have in common? They're all ways to step back from a busy life that favors convenience over quality. They're all ways to simplify your life so that you can learn to enjoy it fully.
So,in preparation for Thanksgiving right around the corner and in the spirit of the Green Cure, here are my thoughts on how one can live simply:
1. Remember to be thankful: When you're grumbling about your upstairs neighbors making so much noise, remember that she did help push your 7-foot couch through the 2nd floor window when it wouldn't fit up the stairs. And when you're frustrated with how small your space is, remember that you love your location, and you have a great landlord. You've cleared out a lot of stuff that you don't want or love, and that should hopefully have made you more aware of the things you kept and the reasons why. Sure, you might not have the ideal apartment, but you love that antique chair you splurged on and sit in all the time, you love the cozy rug in your bedroom, you love the piece of artwork your friend made just for you. Be thankful for what you have.
2. Remember to be mindful: Our Simple Green posts are meant to help people make small steps towards living lighter and greener. Not everyone can be No Impact Man, but we can all try to be mindful that everything we do has an impact somewhere: on the environment, on our home, on other people. And the more we can learn to make decisions not only with our own interests at heart, but also with the interests of others, the better off we'll be.
Simple and frugal flowers like carnations can still be beautiful and special.
3. Remember to take time for yourself: If you've ever read the book The Artist's Way by Julie Cameron, you'll know how much importance she sets by The Artist's Date. She says you should set aside time every week to do one thing by yourself, for yourself. It doesn't have to cost money. Go for a long walk. Take a dance class. Go to that thrift store you've been meaning to check out. Write. Listen to music. Cook. Take a bath. Have a great cup of coffee or a soothing cup of tea. Read before bed. Don't let the day go by without giving yourself a chance to be yourself.
4. Remember your family traditions, or start new ones: Whether or not you grew up in a home that had regular family dinners, you can keep the tradition or form the habit. If it's just you, you can still make your dinner hour count. Light a candle. Pour a glass of wine. Use a cloth napkin. If you have a significant other, cook a meal together and then sit and talk about your day. Don't let yourself be distracted by your phone or computer. Try to honor your favorite family traditions — particularly around holidays — even if you're not at home.
Showcasing special family dishes over at The Kitchn
TODAY'S COMMENT QUESTION
What are some of your family traditions? What traditions and habits - daily or seasonal - have you started of your own?
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