National Simplicity Day, July 12, honors transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, author, naturalist, philosopher, and historian. His book, Walden, is a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings. The day advocates a life of simplicity.
In our fast, ever-increasingly busy lifestyles, the observance encourages stepping back and looking at ways to simplify our lives. It’s an opportunity to declutter and eliminate the unnecessary burdens that weigh us down. Even taking a few moments to tune into nature helps us to refocus and find balance.
“Simplicity is the essence of happiness.”
– Cedric Bledsoe
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
– Robert Brault
Seek a leisurely pace that doesn’t include the accumulation of things. That’s the easiest explanation of the day. Look to nature or companionship, perhaps to a few passages from a book or the wisdom of a child. We all need the nourishment of food and rest and satisfaction of a job well done. These simple things collected together fulfill our greatest needs. All that remains falls away.
However, living simply doesn’t mean living without. It means living with only what we need. Look around you throughout the day and consider the excesses. The next time something breaks ask whether it can be repaired instead of replacing it.
Besides, when our lives are simpler, our stress decreases. We no longer feel the pressure to acquire more things. We have time to pursue adventures and spend time with people we enjoy.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL SIMPLICITY DAY
Tips to Simplifying Life
- Identify what’s important to you. This list will include things, goals, and activities. While we don’t all have the ultimate goal of reaching Mars, don’t dismiss the small achievements. Those don’t necessarily equate clutter. They’re stepping stones. However, if they aren’t a part of the bigger picture, consider slashing them.
- When it comes to things, you have to admit, we hold on to some things for sentimental reasons. On the other hand, we buy too much junk for all the wrong reasons. Identify the ones that are the most important and get rid of the rest.
- Put a ban on impulse buying. Make a list for any shopping trip. If it’s not on the list, it can’t be bought (unless it’s toilet paper, that’s the one exception.) Otherwise, you will get by until the next trip. You will also see an improvement in your bank account.
- When it comes to activities, consider the ones that are time wasters and have no value. Again, which ones are important to you? Do they bring you joy? Do they improve you or the world around you? If the answer is no to any of these questions, why is this activity still in your life?
Post on social media using #NationalSimplicityDay to encourage others to join in paying it forward.