“Simplicity is the peak of civilization.” – Jessie Sampter

A ‘happy’ life has a different meaning and a different value for every person – over recent years I’ve reassessed what matters to me and maybe it’s my age, or what’s happened in my past but I’m at a point where I need to make some readjustments and look for an even more authentic way of living.

For me, it means eliminating the non-essential, trading chaos for peace, and spending time doing what’s important to me. Too many people buy things they really do not need, seek out ‘drama’ in their lives and spend too much time either doing a job that they do not like or trying to appease others.

In short, it comes down to two very simple principles….

Identify what’s most important to you.

Eliminate everything else.

Ah, if only life were so simple! But, actually it is and it can be.

There’s loads of information about simplifying your life on the internet, in fact, one entitled “Simple Living Manifesto: 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Life” offers a helpful blueprint to adapt over the coming weeks.

So, my first step is to make a list of my top 5 ‘important’ things – What’s most important to me? What do I value most? What 5 things do I most want to do in my life? Apparently simplifying starts with these priorities.

I’m going to take my family out of the equation – my father sadly won’t be here forever, so does not really figure in my long term plans, and my sister is happily married so I’m assuming that her husband will continue to look after her into their old age. Plus my social interaction with them is limited – they have their own lives to live, which are the polar opposite to me.

It’s actually quite hard to pinpoint 5 factors that you want to feature in your life, as there are so many, so instead, I’ll ask myself ‘what could I not live without’?

The first one is obvious to me, it’s my saviour when times get tough, it makes me feel alive and I cannot imagine ever having to do without ‘nature’ and I yearn to be outdoors. Whether it’s the forest, fields, a river or the sea, being at one with the wonder of nature is what it’s all about as far as I am concerned.

Secondly ‘peace’, stillness and quiet – I really dislike noise, crowds and people in general, which is why, one of the things I need to change in my life, is to relocate away from the city. I’m not sure if I could do this while my father is still alive and I know there’s no way he’d ever want to leave Southampton, but it is something that I desperately need to do, so it stays on the list.

Thirdly – Yoga & meditation, actually the whole holistic way of living, including my spiritual beliefs. Sadly my Yoga seems to have been very much sidelined recently due to an injury last year and I am also without a Yoga teacher to guide me. I actually have no excuse as I could home practice and I need to get my act together and get back onto my mat!

Fourth – I’m vegetarian (lapsed vegan) and I know I could never eat meat again! Also, as I write, it’s been 1,145 days since I touched alcohol, something I’m proud of and I think I can honestly say, I have no desire to ever touch the stuff again. So what’s important to me here is nutritious, clean eating and having a healthy body.

Lastly, the planet and the environment. I am passionate about wanting to do all I can to live in harmony with the world, my fellow human beings & all living creatures. So that means not just recycling, living a greener life but also being compassionate, empathic and to cultivate a better way of living generally. So many people are self-absorbed these days, there is too much hatred in the world and I need to eliminate that toxicity from my life.

So there we have it, my five ‘Importants’ in life, surprisingly my studies do not feature on my list, and I think it would be fair to say that if I won the lottery tomorrow that I’d swap my law textbooks for a life of travelling in an instance. Travel, though also didn’t feature, although it is something that I adore doing – sadly my budget doesn’t! However, travel can be included as an “N.B” as it fits nicely alongside all of the above if executed with an ecological consciousness in mind.


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