When you look at someone living a simple life, it really seems ‘easy’. Reading a book, engaging in thoughtful conversation, cooking fresh food, feeling grateful, and collecting meaningful experiences all seem pretty straightforward. Calling it ‘simple’ makes it seem even easier. But the reality is that personal transformation is hard work. True change doesn’t happen overnight, and transition periods are usually fraught with insecurities and hidden obstacles.
Simple living is a complete upheaval of our current lifestyle. For many people, transitioning from model American consumerist party-goer to simple living expert is next to impossible. We aren’t blank slates, like young children ready to learn the way of the world. Most of us intrigued by this lifestyle are adults who grew up in a material world, holding deeply engrained lifestyle habits that are difficult to change. We were taught to believe in things that we later realized are harmful to the earth, and to our personal health. Paper is cheap, so use it freely. Eating should be fast and convenient, to make time for more fun or productivity. Making and spending more money means I am a more intelligent, capable person. For some, there are even more deep-seated beliefs to uproot, and it will take longer to fully exorcise them to make room for a new and healthier way of living. Undoing well-known habits is one of the greatest challenges of all.
Beyond the personal, there’s also society to face. Simplicity is not a popular lifestyle choice in the mainstream world, for which many people encounter severe tension with close family and friends. Living simply is a test to your confidence and commitment to conscious values.
Despite these difficulties, many people still choose to pursue this lifestyle. They may fail frequently, but they won’t stop trying. When you experience the joy and meaning that comes from simplifying, it’s tough to go back to a consumerist lifestyle. Because in the end, it will always be worth it to let go of perfection and popular acceptance, to make room for what you truly love.