When I was knee deep in mommyhood with a one year old and twin babies I craved simplicity. I constantly felt like I was one hour away from falling apart. The counters were always covered in dirty dishes. The floors were covered in toys. My coffee was forever cold. And I swear, one of my kid’s was always unhappy. I could never catch up, let alone get ahead. And FYI, before babies, I was the queen of planning and getting ahead. The days would end in tears, usually my own, with a candy bar in hand, and watching The Bachelorette before falling asleep.
I say I craved simplicity, but what did that look like? To be honest, simplicity sounded like a full time nanny, chef, and housekeeper. But we were (and still are) a typical middle class family; not a rich one with money to throw around. Because we couldn’t afford all that luxurious help, I had to think deeper about what I wanted. I came to realize that simplicity meant two different things to me.
Ease + Time
I wanted my home to be easy to maintain. I was tired of the constant mess. If we had fewer dishes, clothes, toys, and holiday decorations would it be easier to maintain our home? The answer was yes. I traded our 600 square foot playroom for 130 square feet. It was definitely easier (and faster) to clean up. Spending less time cleaning up our home meant that I had more time for family outings and relaxing activities. We took the girls to state parks and on road trips. I even rediscovered my love of reading. When our days included these things my heart was always happy.
Making space in our life for these activities helped me realize what my ideal day looked like - slow mornings with coffee, an active afternoon out in nature, and a relaxing evening. Especially in the Summer. There’s nothing better than taking an early shower and relaxing on the couch with a good book after a day out in the sun. This is what a blissful simple life looked like to me.
Creating My Ideal Life
I spent years trying to simplify our life. With half the possessions and a smaller home, life definitely became easier. But one thing continued to be out of reach for me - the sun. Summers in Wisconsin were amazing, but short. The rest of the year I struggled with my ongoing depression with the cold gloomy days. In order to make winters manageable, we started traveling so I could get some sunshine. Then Covid hit, travel stopped, and I hit a new low. But there was a blessing in this new situation. My husband agreed to moving south (a long time dream of mine).
Winter of 2021 we sold our house and moved down to Florida. We knew this transition would be chaotic. We are living in hotels while house hunting. Our girls attend virtual school from Wisconsin. But we've already started to enjoy the benefits of moving south.
We can step outside into sunshine every day. The daily sun is invigorating and my energy levels have been to soar. I'm even starting to create a daily routine I love. Most days start with a quick walk with our dog Jake, then off to yoga before I settle down at my favorite coffee shop across the street from the beach. And while dinners used to be a source of frustration, I’ve found a way to make dinner time simple and healthy.
The Key To Simple Living
Slowly but surely, I'm learning what makes my days enjoyable. I'm intentionally making space for these things. And in doing so, my life is simplifying. That's the key. It’s not about how many possessions you do or don’t have. It’s not about how much you work or relax. It’s about knowing what makes your days fulfilling and happy. Then, making those things a priority.
While working at an outdoor table under the shade of a coffee shop near the beach and reading before falling asleep are my bliss, yours may be completely different. You may love skiing, spending your days in a museum, gardening, or working on an old car. Whatever it is that you love, when you focus your life on these things, you’ll find that you are simply living your best life.
So what does your ideal day look like? What do you love to do?