Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Living the Simple Life?

My bloggie friend Ricë has been writing in her blog, mentioning the simple life. She gets an idea in her head and she likes to chew on it a while. Her thinking has got me thinking, you know how it goes.

I have read a little about the slow food movement, slow travel, and I very much like the idea of slow art. I don't know if I read anything about that or if I just made it up (note to myself: that would be a fun blog post to write.) Is the slow movement connected to simple living or is that a thought that Ricë put in my head?

I think I must live a simple life. It wasn't something I set out to do, at least not like a conscious choice of "I must simplify my life." I don't think I had a terribly complicated life to begin with. I have never had a mortgage, it has been a long time since I had a regular job. I have always lived on the cheap because I have never had much money. And I have never had much money because I wanted to be an artist.

My husband and I live on a large property in the rainforest with five other families. We bought the land together about 14 years ago. Our house is small and simple with a single outdoor toilet, rainwater and solar hot water. We do have electricity and a gas stove, but our heating is from a wood stove. We recycle most of our waste as we take our own garbage to the dump - a trip of several garbage bags every few months.

I buy few things, pretty much only what we need. It is a fairly long drive to the shops (30 minutes) and I don't like shopping malls or shopping. The only things I buy that really excite me are stuff to make stuff with.

We don't have a veggie garden and I don't bake bread. But we do shop at the local farmer's market. I do refashion and I would like to make more of my own clothes.

Our house is kind of strange in that it looks bigger than it is. The upstairs is a single room, downstairs is a tiny kitchen, a small living room and my husband's study. The building on the left is our outdoor dunny and a tool shed. The roof behind that is my studio.

I have a feeling that most westerners live very differently. I get this feeling because bloggers speak a lot about getting rid of stuff, simplifying their lives and buying less. Which is great. But if I did that I would probably be in an empty house wearing rags. I do actually wear rags, but only for working in the studio, haha. Just today I realised that my 'new' jeans are over a year old.

I like my simple life. The advantages are pretty obvious. I like how I spend my time and the work I do. I love living in the rainforest with the animals. I live in such a way that has less impact on the earth (although because of how far out we live, we do have two cars.) The disadvantages are that I can get a bit insecure that my house looks poor to other people or that I don't dress well enough. It is a kind of social shame that can come up when I imagine that others are judging me.

What is your life like? Simple or complex? Do you like it that way?


Bren said...

What I hear is a woman who has found a way to live the life she most values, doing what she loves, in an environment that supports all of that. I appreciate the integrity of your life choices, they truly reflect what you most value, something not many of us actually achieve. I like to think I live a simpler life, but I've a ways to go before it truly reflect what I value most. Great post!

Jeni Gray said...

Thanks for sharing your lifestyle Zom. I agree with it and blog about it myself. Like you, it's my preferred lifestyle. I choose it because it allows me time to be creative.
I think there's something spiritual about living closely with the land and wildlife - not to mention peace of mind!! :)

susan christensen said...

I guess I live the simple life, too, in some ways, although i don't often think about it that way. Like you, our water is from rainwater collection in a big cistern tank; we have a septic tank and live on 4 acres of woods in the Tongass rainforest. I don't have a garden, but i do bake my own bread... maybe what makes me more complicated is the extreme climate of Alaska... I love seeing your house, Zom. Happy solstice! -sus

Zom said...

Thanks Bren for such an affirming comment. It means a lot.

Jeni, I just went over to your blog and joined. It looks very interesting.

Sus, It would be more complicated in such cold. We also live in an extreme climate in terms of fires, floods and storms. But heating is much simpler.

Dotti said...

This is an amazing testament to a life well lived. I have to say, having lived in tropical climates, I do admire your tenacity in living so far from the nearest town...I know about the size of bugs, snakes, etc that are a part of this particular landscape and can present some real and present dangers.

Zom said...

Hi Dotti
we live in the subtropics which is marginally better than in the tropics in Australia. It is all relative as apparently Australia has the most varieties of poisonous snakes of any continent - or something like that. There are real and present dangers, but when I lived in the city there were other dangers! I have gotten used to it, and love having all the critters (most of the time.) Leeches and ticks, though not life-threatening, might be exceptions. And funnel web spiders. Centipedes. Red-backed spiders... I guess there are a few.

plumbing said...

Living a simple life is really delicate. It is priceless and wonderful.

Sophie said...

Wie bin ich bloss auf diese Seite gekommen?
Ich weiß es nicht, aber Zufälle gibt es nicht :-)

Du schreibst und beschreibst wunderschön. Es gefällt mir.

Und glaube mir, du bist reicher, als viele andere.
Reichtum ist Glück und Zufriedenheit im Herzen.
Denn das kann man nicht kaufen.

Ich werde mir diesen Blog merken und wiederkommen.

Liebe Grüße aus der Ferne...

Zom said...

Danke Sophie, ich bin von Ihren Kommentar berührt.