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It may sound odd to think you could get engaged to a Simple Life. But you actually can. Life in general can be very similar to marriage. Compare your life to the dating process. You ‘meet’ something you are interested in. There is a ‘first date’, when you look it over. If you have decided you like it, then you begin a relationship with it.
Up until now, you may have been in the dating process of living a Simple Life. You have danced around the edges, still trying to decide if it is the best thing for you. Your commitment has been low, mainly because it is such a drastic change. Before you get engaged to a Simple Life, you want to be absolutely sure before you take the plunge.
Why You May Not Want to Get Engaged to a Simple Life
There could be several reasons you haven’t committed. You may not be completely certain you are ready to walk away from the fast-paced life. There can be some fear, thinking you can’t afford it. There is a possibility that somewhere deep down, you are afraid of what others will think.
The smart side of you understands that making a lifestyle change can be a big step. When you accept the ring, you know you are making a commitment to the one who offers it. The same thing happens when you get engaged to a Simple Life. There will be changes.
And change can be difficult. We are shifting away from a life we have grown used to. It may not be the best life, but it is still familiar. To make changes is to step away from what has grown comfortable into the Great Unknown. Will it work? Is it really all it is made up to be? It sounds good now, but will I still love it years from now?
It’s Time to Get Engaged to a Simple Life!
Still, living a Simple Life has its appeal. The changes haven’t been bad at all. You have enjoyed slowing down and living with purpose. You were concerned when faced with difficult times, including a health crisis, food shortages, and rising prices.
You may have even faced a job loss or a reduction in income. But you discovered the few tips you learned and applied actually worked and eased some of the stress. You look back on harvesting your first tomato and relive the joy you felt with your accomplishment. And you love the fact that spending more time with your family has brought you closer to each other.
Like Mikey in the old Life Cereal commercial, you tried it, and you like it! And you decide it’s time to be fully committed and get engaged to a Simple Life. But what happens next?
It’s simple. You use what you have learned up to this point and dig in a little deeper. And you start by making a few vows.
From Engagement to the Marriage
With any marriage, it means you have committed wholeheartedly to the relationship. Most ceremonies begin with ‘With this ring, I thee wed’. When you think about what it means to get engaged to a Simple Life, you also think about what will happen after the ‘wedding’ ceremony.
You are proudly wearing your ring. But with that ring comes the promises you make to yourself in your new relationship with living a Simple Life.
These are just some of the things you are saying ‘I Do’ to:
- I Do – promise to find ways to eliminate the busyness in my life. I will step aside from those things that no longer interest me, or I no longer have time to do. This will allow me to free up my schedule for my new priorities.
- I DO – promise to be smart with my finances. I will focus on making sure the bills are paid, yet not hold on so tightly that there isn’t a bit of room for some fun and extras.
- I DO – promise to spend more time with my family.
- I DO – promise to revive the dreams I once had to see if they still fit with my goals.
- I DO – promise to pursue my passions.
- I DO – promise to encourage my creative nature.
- I DO – promise to take time for myself, from quiet time to spending time with friends.
Take It One Step at A Time
When you get engaged to a Simple Life, you will have some decisions to make. Some will be easy. Others may take a bit of thought and time. Here are a few of the decisions you need to make:
- Define What a Simple Life Means to You – It’s all fine and good to say you want to live a Simple Life, but until you have a definition of what exactly that is, you really won’t know where you need to start. Think about what you want in your new lifestyle.
- Clear Your Calendar – Even in a Simple Life, your calendar can get full very quickly. Be wise about what you add to it. Some things, such as medical appointments and school activities are necessary items. Others, such as joining too many clubs and committees aren’t. Only commit to those things that are necessary and which you truly want to do and learn how to say a firm ‘No’ to the others.
- Be Selective – When you begin adding activities to your Simple Life, at first choose only those things you know you truly want to do. Make a list of everything if it makes it easier for you. But then, prioritize that list. If you try to do everything at once, you will only find yourself back in the frustrated busyness stage from which you were trying to escape.
- Choose One – From your list of priorities, choose one. Try it out. Practice. Get good at it. And then add the next one. This gives you an opportunity to be comfortable with what you are doing.
- Accept the Necessities – There are some things you just have no choice but to do, whether you enjoy them or not. Housekeeping, laundry, and errands are just three. Learn to accept these things as a part of life and find ways to enjoy them. For me, I don’t mind housework anymore. I just put on a Tractors CD and turn the volume up. Mr. Clean and I have a great time dancing through the cleaning process! (And yes, this ‘Baby’ does like to rock it!)
If you are new to living a Simple Life, there are a few posts you can read to get started:
Actively Pursuing a Simple Life
How to Start Setting Priorities for a Simple Life
If you already took the step to get engaged to a Simple Life and are ready to move forward, then it’s time to get your shovel and dig in deeper!
From Basic to Shovel Work
You have been fully committed to living a Simple Life but have only touched the surface. Your calendar is cleared, you have your financial records set up, and you even have a meal plan on your refrigerator. In other words, you’ve done the surface work. Now it’s time to see how we can dig deeper into what we have accomplished so far.
One of the first things you may have done is to thoroughly clean your house. Some of you may have gone so far as to organize closets and wash the windows. But there is more to a home than just cleaning and organizing.
A home is the very heartbeat of who you are. It reflects what you hold most important. To dig deeper within your home is to find ways to show others what you love. And one way to do that is to offer hospitality.
Hospitality is a gift from the heart. It isn’t fancy or expensive, nor is it confining. Rather than an elaborate meal, it is a simple bowl of soup. It is a genuine expression of welcome. When we offer hospitality, we share what we have to offer – a meal, a heart that hears, encouragement and support. We are handing others a piece of ourselves.
These posts on Hospitality can help you dig deeper:
How to Make a Home Comfortable and Welcoming
At this point, you may have gotten in the kitchen and started cooking more of your meals at home. You may even have a weekly or monthly menu plan on the refrigerator. If so, good for you! You are well on your way!
But to dig even deeper, it may be time to get creative. Instead of just making lasagna, learn how to make your own pasta. Find recipes which require a new technique. Rather than buy it in pieces, learn to cut up your own chicken.
If you haven’t learned to bake your own breads yet, this is a perfect place to begin. Start small with biscuits or sweet breads, such as a Strawberry Nut Bread. From there, start your yeast breads simple with Hot Rolls.
Once you have learned the easier versions, dig in deeper with yeast breads. The varieties you can make are almost endless – from a basic white bread to French, Focaccia, and Cheese Breads. You can also create delicious cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, and other delicious breakfast treats.
As you progress with your bread making, you can dig in even deeper and learn the art of baking Sourdough Bread. A starter is the easiest thing in the world to make. The key is to keep it fed and happy!
If you grew your first garden this year, congratulations! Growing at least some of your own food is one of the very foundation pieces to living a Simple Life. But you don’t have to stop with a tomato plant or two.
Some ways you can dig deeper into gardening is to create Theme Gardens. And no matter what vegetable you grow, there are seasonings involved when you cook them. Try your hand at growing an herb garden. Start with the basic herbs you use frequently. Once you are comfortable with growing those, add the ones you don’t use as often. Herbs can be dried or frozen for easy storage.
You may also want to consider growing a few edible flowers. Nasturtium blossoms add a bit of peppery flavor to your salad, and Squash Blossoms are delicious fried.
No matter what you grow, one of the best money-saving tips for your garden is to learn how to save seeds. The easiest seeds to start saving are Cucumbers, Squash, Beans, and Peas. Once you are successful with those seeds, then work your way up to others.
The cost of a packet of seeds is roughly $3.00. If you grow five different vegetables, you will spend $15.00. Saving your own seeds can drastically reduce the gardening budget! My go-to book on saving seeds is Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners, by Suzanne Ashworth.
And if you want to truly get ambitious, you can dig in really deep and start a Food Forest! Annie over at Road to Reliance can show you how to get started!
Your Family & Friends
When it came time to get engaged to a Simple Life, one of your first goals was to spend more time with friends and family. So far, you feel you have done a good job.
But maybe it’s time to take it a step further. Even when living a Simple Life, our days get busy. The plans we had for the weekend fall through. We worked so hard during the day we are too tired to do much in the evening.
Maybe it’s time to pull your calendar out. Did you know that it is okay to ‘make an appointment’ with your family and friends? Yep. Considering these people are one of the biggest reasons we chose this lifestyle, it stands to reason they should get top priority.
Rather than allow busyness to override spending time with them, pull your calendar out and make a few ‘appointments’. Write it in red, to signify its importance. And don’t allow anything short of a catastrophe change those dates!
If you aren’t sure exactly what to do, here are a few ideas:
Stay-Cation: Loving the Best of Both Worlds
If you still have some time on your hands, or want to spend more time around people, consider helping out within your Community.
As much as we sometimes would like to withdraw 100% from society, in reality it isn’t practical or probable. As humans, one of our basic needs is to have contact with others – even if it is only one or two people at a time.
Having neighbors and a community fill that need. It doesn’t mean we have to be surrounded by people every single day. A little aloneness is also good for the soul. But when times get tough or we just need a helping hand, it is nice to have someone who can help.
These posts can help you learn more about becoming active within your neighborhood and community:
How to Get Involved: 6 Ways to Become Active in Your Community
Join the Club: How to Start a Social Group
Social Obligations for the Homemaker
How to Successfully Become a Part of Your Village
How to Host a Progressive Dinner
Let’s face it. We work hard every day. Our list of things to do can sometimes be longer than our arms. The old adage ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ is true. We often get so caught up in ourselves we lose sight of who we are.
But all work and no play can also be detrimental to our health. We become exhausted, which can lead to colds and more serious illnesses. It also affects our mental and emotional health, through depression, stress, and more.
Being tired can also lead to making more mistakes, which in turn creates a frustration level that can be difficult to handle. And that can lead to a serious case of burn out.
Instead of letting it get that far, be sure to find time for yourself. This may be by scheduling a regular Afternoon Tea break, or a weekly coffee with a friend.
When you get engaged to a Simple Life, you can also set aside time to do something you love. That may be working on a craft project or learning a new one. It could be giving yourself an hour a day to read a favorite book. And if it is a serious case, see if you can finagle a day trip or weekend getaway. Just do whatever it takes to get some rest!
Get Engaged to a Simple Life
If you love the progress you have made so far with your lifestyle change, consider what it will mean to truly get engage to Simple Life.
With each step you take, you will find a stronger sense of purpose, a better understanding of who you are meant to be and find even a deeper contentment than you ever believed possible.
If you haven’t taken the plunge yet, maybe it’s time you do. Get engaged to a Simple Life and discover the wonder that is just waiting for you around the corner!