Reflections from the Director – Simplicity


Austin Applebach, Director of Good Shepherd Volunteers

My life is full. Most of the things it is full of are great things: family, friends, meaningful hobbies and interests, work I care deeply about. But it’s also full of stuff. I once thought that living in New York City might help cure that, but alas, I find my desire for things as robust as ever.


When I was exploring the possibility of taking on leadership of GSV I knew it would encourage and require me to revaluate big parts of who I am and how I live. The most frightening part of this is that GSV's commitment to Simplicity would ask me to reflect on and adjust my relationship to the stuff in my life. Living simply is not just about possessions. It also encompasses a commitment to careful consideration around time, relationships, and energy. But I know myself to be a person who has developed an attachment to stuff that is visceral. I am comforted by having just the right tool for the job, just the right piece of clothing, and purchasing objects can be soothing. Often this connection is emotional in nature. This month I will be exploring simplicity by embracing a No Buy November. This means I’ll be refraining from making any purchases on discretionary items that are solely for personal consumption. My goal is to reset the way I spend money around the goal of building community and relationships. I’m saying goodbye to buying myself a cup of coffee, new clothing, or convenient food and instead choosing to find alternatives that connect me closer to others and to my environment.


This month, I encourage you to take time to reflect on simplicity. Whether is it around money, time, energy, or another precious resource – take a moment to consider how you might pull back to focus on what matters most to you. And of course, and perhaps above all, how living simply might encourage you to continue to Just Love.


- Austin