Right before starting my GSV year, I could not tell you what simplicity meant, much less how I could apply it to my life. All I could do was imagine the two words scrawled in cursive across a Hobby Lobby decor sign, “live simply”. It reminded me of the phrase “less is more,” but I realized I didn't know what that really meant either.
At first, I assumed simplicity was in reference to being a minimalist. I stressed about packing for my service year, thinking underpacking could be my first way to live out simplicity. I stressed if I should bring two pairs of jeans instead of four and whether I really needed to bring three different kinds of water bottles. I even tried to hide an extra tote bag I packed, embarrassed on the first day of orientation that I was starting the year off already not living simply.
It is funny because, upon entering the New Jersey apartment for the first time, I was surprised by the amount of space and things left there for us. We had everything we needed and more. Many different bed sheets in many different colors, pots and pans galore, and three different bedrooms for my roommate and I to choose from. We had plenty of space and more things than we had expected. We wondered how we were supposed to live simply with our more than furnished apartment. This is when I challenged myself to look at simplicity as more than just material minimalism.
I love the tenet simplicity because it is so widely applicable. It doesn’t need to mean material items. It can be applied to your time, budget, or just your overall way of living. I find simplicity at my placement, Collier High School. It could be the way that a simple conversation, greeting, or helpful hand can make a difference in someone’s day. Simplicity could be the way that I feel fulfilled at the end of the day because I was able to assist a student with their English homework or a teacher told me they were thankful for my help.
Last year, I would often work twelve hour days and still try to squeeze in time for friends and family in the evenings. I was constantly going and the few moments I did have to relax, I was just too burned out. The biggest impact simplicity has had on me this year is slowing down and not being as busy. I have been able to make much needed time for myself, process emotions, form some hobbies, and cook food that I am actually looking forward to eating instead of a quick microwavable meal. Less is more has a whole new meaning to me.
To live simply is to make conscious decisions in your everyday life and to set your own expectations of what simplicity means to you. It can be as difficult or simple as you want it to be. I feel that this is a tenet that can come naturally and doesn’t need to be complicated. Simplicity is doing more of what brings you joy and less of what doesn't. To live simply is to simply…. Live!
Wickatunk Community '21-'22