Complicated Simplicity

Choosing simplicity is still complicated.

There are too many days I’d rather have more money. It seems as if the idea of living simply and sustainably is inextricably intertwined with, for lack of a better word, poverty. I’d like to say there’s a way to have plenty of disposable income and still live simply, but I have yet to come up with a method of accomplishing both. That’s not to say there’s not a way, just that I haven’t come up with one. Yet.

Not that we’re impoverished. We’re not. In fact we’re very comfortable. But we’d like to travel. We’d like to see and do things we’ve never done before. We’d like to have extra money. So far though, I haven’t found a way to maintain my current lifestyle and make more money. Yet.

Making money is inherently complicated. In order to have more money I’d have to relinquish a certain degree of freedom. I’d have to have a full-time job doing work I find neither satisfying nor fulfilling. I don’t want a job.

I thought I’d follow the advice and example of so many others, countless others who blog, write books, create websites; internet entrepreneurs, carving out a virtual niche and profiting from it, realizing their dreams of financial freedom. Work from home. Set your own hours. Be your own boss.

For those who’ve tried it and failed, I feel your pain. Too many days I’ve got nothing to say. Some days, even if I do have something to say, I don’t feel like saying it. Some days I wish the Internet had never been invented so I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about not having profited from it. I don’t envy the zit-faced billionaire creators of social media apps. A billion’s a little more than I need. I just wanted to earn a living and some days, I regret my inability to do even that.

So I thought, screw it. I won’t write anything. This blog was a stupid idea anyway. And the website. And the book.

But after my one year hiatus, I’m thinking I might revisit the blog and just write for fun again. I still live simply. I still (try to) live sustainably. Nothing’s changed. OK, that’s untrue, plenty has changed in the last year, but I’m still as passionate and enthusiastic about living a simple, sustainable lifestyle; that part hasn’t changed. So, if I feel like writing and sharing on occasion, why not?

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  1. Nice post…for me the important thing about money is not how much I make, but how much I spend. For us, the shift to simpler living came with a method of tracking how we spend money in detail and using that knowledge to make changes. I’ve written about this at my blog

    What’s the book you mention? I’d be interested in hearing about it.

    Do you know any other blogs like your’s, please?


    Chris (, @ChrisLampard on Twitter)

    • Thank you!

      We started implementing principles from Your Money or Your Life years ago, which allowed us, over the course of time, to drastically simplify while still maintaining an excellent (by my standards,) quality of life. It’s second nature to us now; we don’t even have to think about it.

      The book I started is an autobiographical, chronological account of our family’s journey toward simplicity and sustainability. Eight years into our journey, I’m still just as passionate about living simply as I was eight years ago, so I don’t know how I’d ever finish the book.

      I’m not aware of any other blogs like mine. I’ve been away from my desk for a while.


      • “Your Money or Your Life”…it’s THE book isn’t it! I know what you mean about it becoming second nature. I find I look at something, think to myself “Value? Values?…Nah” and move on. And, I love the way it works over such long time frames…I think that one of the most satisfying aspects of it, so much stuff is “Top 10 this” or “Change your life in 30 seconds” stuff, but it just doesn’t seem to be like that for real change…YMOYL is such an “organic” system.

        The unfinished book sounds interesting…do you find that writing clarifies the mind and focusses your thinking? I find it useful to imagine an audience, but know inside that I’m really writing for my own…whatever, improvement, edification? Have you considered inserting bits of the books as posts on your blog? Or is that already happening? Questions, questions…thanks for blogging, it’s nice to know there are “others” out there.

  2. For me, the act of writing changes by the day. Sometimes by the moment. It does clarify except when it confuses. It also helps me focus except when it causes me to get sidetracked.

    I started journaling daily after reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. No matter what, I make an effort to write at least one hand-written page a day, usually at the beginning of the day. It makes a huge difference, although the difference it makes changes all the time.

    My original idea for this blog included excerpting my book and using the material for blog posts, but it’s hard to remove a concept from a flowing narrative and condense it into 300-500 words without losing its context. Some of my first posts did come from the book, although somewhere along the line I deleted them for some reason. I’ll try to find them and post them again, just for fun.


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