by Chiot's Run
"Our life experience is based more on our individual level of awareness than on any particular external experience. Our enjoyment of life is profoundly enhanced by the knowledge that we don't need much in order to be happy. By consciously adopting a simple lifestyle, we give ourselves the opportunity the be satisfied and happy, whether or not we strike it rich or not."
Mother Earth News in article about Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin
As I was reading this article, I started thinking about all the things that Mr Chiots and I have given up over the past couple years while working to simplify our lives. The more we give up, the less we find that we need and the happier we find ourselves. One of the best examples of this simplifying was in giving up cable TV. I think when we were paying for cable, we thought we had to watch a lot of TV to get our money's worth. We found ourselves spending way too much time in front of our television wasting valuable time watching things we didn't really want to watch. When we finally pulled the plug, we found ourselves free from that need. We started spending more time reading, working outside, pursuing our hobbies, and getting projects done that we'd been putting off for a long time for lack of "time".
It's not that we don't watch TV at all any more, we still watch some, but we no longer pay a fortune for it and we no longer watch things just to watch them. Since we work in the visual arts (video production) by trade, we watch films and some shows for inspiration. We have one of the cheapest Netflix subscriptions (which is fantastic when you live in the country) so we watch movies or TV shows on DVD or instant streaming from their website.
I'm happy that we took this one simple step at it seemed to be a turning point for us. After we quit cable, we started finding more places to cut back and more ways to simplify our lives. As a result we're much more content, we have much more time and we've saved tons of money, which we used to pay off our mortgage many years ahead of schedule. It's amazing how all the little things in life add up to a great deal.
In what ways have you simplified your life in the past couple years? Any great suggestions for the rest of us that are searching for the simple life?