A Slower and Simpler Life (?)

We had an adult education class at our church this year called Living Simply and Sustainably. It was a big hit because everyone seemed to need to find ways to live simply and sustainably, while at the same time not be so preoccupied and overwhelmed with it all. You want to live simply, so you wash and dry clothes rather than let them hang dry. Faster, simpler, yet less sustainable. You want to get back in touch with slow eating and simple foods, so you try cooking, which ends up taking 2 hours a night to make, eat, cleanup. More simple in a way. More complex in a way. So many trade-offs. I feel like “I’m really quite busy” is the mantra of my life and I hate it. I get sooo annoyed with those people that run around “Oh, I’m so busy! Oh! I have so much to do.” Yet, when I make my lists (I love making lists) of everything I would like to get to, it seems like if I only do the starred things on my list (that is the MOST important) I never really get to the other stuff like finishing painting the living room (it is half-green, half-dirty-white), selling books I no longer want, knitting, writing for fun (not for class), or things like getting my lost credit card replaced or cooking (instead of eating out or getting pre-made stuff…). And, I might note, I do not have children. I really don’t see how anyone finds time to take care of children AND work AND have a life. Granted, I think a lot of parents might say that the children are their lives, but geesh — you have to have time to at least clean, which I really struggle with even with our four kitties. I’m not complaining, but rather just thinking about how this happens. I don’t do lots of extra curricular stuff. I do not have lots of hobbies or friends to keep me busy. We take care of foster kittens which is the only “optional” thing that I think we could cut. Other stuff — work, minimal reading, keeping up with email, cleaning at least sometimes before it gets utterly gross, eating — can really not go. W. and I sometimes wonder if we are doing something wrong. I don’t want an immaculate house, or lots of stuff or money. Just a minimally clean house, things that don’t fall apart, decent food (a can of soup will not cut it for me like it will for W.) Others struggle with this? Do you have ideas about how to deal with this? How can we make our lives slower, simpler, richer, less rushed? I feel like it is almost a cliched question, but still quite pertinent. A seminarian friend of mine started taking a day of rest, a real Sabbath, last year and she spoke very highly of it. That could be a possibility. W. told me today to just get used to it, be at peace with it, go one step at a time and accept it as a part of life. True to some extent, but to another, I just don’t like it that this happens. There must be a way to stop it. Or not…..

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