Friday, 10 February 2017

Perfect simple: in praise of a simple life

Do you have a word or a philosophy that guides you?

After the comfort and solace I have found this winter in the concept of hygge (I have progressed from being somewhere close to dreading it to actually seeing value and richness in these slower months of hibernation, which is no small feat), I've been looking for something more – something that embraces the things I hold dear and that nurtures the instinct I feel for what is good, simple and authentic.

Maybe it's because I'm currently in the process of re-branding my business, which means that I have to focus both inward – what are my values? my strengths? my weaknesses? my ideals? – and outward – what do I have to offer that is unique? how can I bring my skills to bear in a way that offers value to others? Whatever it is, I've arrived at what I call ‘perfect simple’, and I'm curious about what it might mean for our lives, our homes and our wellbeing.

It would be wonderful, wouldn’t it, if we could move with the flow of our life rather than trying to control it? ‘Perfect simple’ is an approach that feels right to me, in part, because simplicity is what I aspire to, but also because even that word, ‘simple’, represents a subjective ideal. My perfect simple won’t be the same as yours, but that’s ok.

And this is not about acquiring things; if anything, it's the opposite. Maybe it's my age, but I'm starting to feel uncomfortable with this thing of acquiring more in order to have less. We buy things so that we feel we’re moving with the zeitgeist; we seek simple while spending our evenings glued to our screens. I seek a balanced approach to life with longevity that will outlast a trend.

My ‘perfect simple’, therefore, is a move away from this, and it’s a work in progress; it’s about approaching life as a harmonious balance. Putting digital life aside for conversations with children and partners (I am as guilty as anyone of not doing this enough); planning what I want to achieve, however small, so that it is a series of small steps instead of a mountain to be climbed; moving towards my goals with intention, learning from my mistakes and trying to make each project better than the last; making small, sustainable changes that benefit me and those around me; forging genuine, supportive connections with friends, whether old or new; appreciating the opinions of others, though they may be different to mine, in order to nurture balance in my own outlook.

It’s simply this: letting go a little, living contentedly with the day to day and feeling good about it. It’s harder than it sounds – so hard, sometimes – but I’m working on it.

My perfect simple goes a little like this:
// speak authentically
// move away from self-criticism
// stress less; slow down
// keep it simple
// seek balance in my home and my work

I would love to hear your thoughts about what it might mean for you…