Simplify

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When I was at school, we learned that by the year 2000 we would all have much more free time on our hands. Advances in science would mean that robots would do most of the work, leaving you and me to enjoy a life of leisure.

So much for free time

What happened to that idea? We have washing machines to clean our clothes while we sleep and dryers to dry them while we take the children to school. And we have clothes that do not need ironing. No more wash and dry days, no more ironing days. It can all be done while we are out of the house.

I had to walk to the junior school and walk twice as far to get the bus to the senior school. Today, we have places where cars seem to outnumber people. And children today panic at the thought of walking half as far as I had to.

I remember clearing the frost from the inside of the bedroom windows, and even from the living room windows, whilst one of my parents lit the fire. Now, with central heating, it’s warm before we even wake up.

And as for the robots, it’s true that they have taken over much of the work in some industries. But they have also taken the jobs, leaving many people unemployed.

Yet do you feel you have more free time than you had when you were a young person? Do you have more free time than your parents had? Do you spend more time with your children or grandchildren than your parents or grandparents spent with you?

Do you feel that you are working to live, rather than living to work?

I doubt it.

Where has all the time gone?

Why do we have so  little time available, these days? Where does it all go? Where has it all gone?

One thing that strikes me is that there are lots of people who own big houses, but they are never at home;  if you can call it a home when there is hardly ever anyone in. Why? Is it possible that they are so busy working to pay for the luxurious lifestyle that they have no time to enjoy it?

How many people do you know who own motor homes that spend fifty weeks of the year sitting on the driveway? Where are the owners? Are they at work trying to pay for the luxury?
Where do most boats spend most of their time? Why?

Even the unemployed seem to be hardly ever at home. Why?

It’s complicated

Is it possible that life has become too complicated? Or have we complicated life? After all, there are still twenty four hours in each day, seven days in each week, and fifty two weeks in each year, just as there were when we were children.

Isn’t it a fact that in trying to simplify our lives we may well have complicated them?

Simplify

So what is the answer?

We have to simplify our lives. And that means simplifying our expectations.

Before making each purchase we need to ask ourselves how much of our time is it going to cost us? And that time includes, not only the time to earn enough money to pay for the item, but also the time to learn how to use and maintain it.

We also need to consider whether it really is a labour-saving device. Will it justify its existence? If it’s only going to gather dust that we will have to remove, then do we need it?

I’m not suggesting a spartan, ascetic lifestyle. But we can be surprised at the extra time that becomes available to us when we cut down on the clutter around us. I will discuss different types of clutter in a future article.

I have to admit that I am as guilty as anyone else in terms of clutter. I confess to being a bit of a hoarder. But I am trying to practice a suggestion that I read, recently: For every item that you bring into your home, remove one item from the house.

Another good suggestion is to remove one item from your home every day until you are happy with the result.

These suggestions, I admit, are easier said than done. And, even though I made a good start, maintaining the momentum is not easy. So I would be happy to hear your thoughts on how to de-clutter.

How do you go about it? Please, either leave a comment, or better still write your own article on the subject and link back to this one so that I will know about your post and read it. I will read and comment on all linked posts apart from the flagrant spam selling a luxurious lifestyle for a “minimun” expenditure. (Spam will be deleted and, possibly, reported.)

Meanwhile, I am going to look at ways to simplify my life. What about you?

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18 thoughts on “Simplify

  1. I’m not a hoarder. As an example, I have one modest rail of clothes, two drawers of jumpers and t-shirts, and a few coats and some footwear suited to various weather conditions. Two pairs of my shoes are about 15 years old. If I buy anything new, which isn’t often, I usually have a clear out of the drawers and clothes rail and send a bag of stuff to the charity shop.

    I do agree wholeheartedly with what you’re saying about increasing busy-ness. Of course, part of it is related to all the hours people spend on their PCs playing games, social networking and, of course, blogging πŸ˜‰

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  2. i have been reflecting and working on this for a while now, michael. it is an ongoing challenge, but even with small changes, you begin to feel tremendous freedom. interesting that the robots were looked at a positive that would bring us all additional time in our lives, when many of us find ourselves slaves to them, when we allow them to take command of our time and space.

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  3. Nice, yes. May I add an idea?

    How about simplifying our mind, neuroscientifically, by vacating as many judgments we carry with us everywhere, ready to defend them if necessary.

    I think these judgments occupy more than all the Worley, physical possessions that we own.

    Our time would be filled with empty space if we stopped judging life, us, others.

    Not so easy to simplify this cluttered mind.

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    • Nice point, Marty. This question of judging vs non-judging seems to have been rolling around over the last few weeks. I am looking at an article on the subject, but, for now, suffice it to say that I believe that we cannot be totally non-judgemental. For example, is this vegetable safe to eat, or not? Getting that wrong, simply in the name of being non-judgemental, could be fatal! Having said that, we also have to accept that people are entitled to their own opinions. To eat, or not to eat; that is the question. And the answer is up to each individual.

      Thank you for the comment. I think it has clarified my thinking and I may now be ready to write my article. πŸ™‚

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      • Good points, What I write or any of us is understood differently, sometimes totally different. Yes, we can not be always non judgmental and that gets me thinking about how any statement has exceptions.

        Please let me insert this requirement. Let us vacate every judgment we can, which is 99% of them. Few are life threatening in modern society. We have groceries and anti biotics, cars, homes, etc.

        In America we shop at groceries and need not decide whether food is safe, well in some places, junk food would be considered poison, meat, sacrilegious to Vegans.

        Once you pick a food, eat a meal, let judgment go and know that this is the best meal prepared with what we have now. New just like this moment, that is all.

        If I judge a cheeseburger after a bite in a restaurant as the worst I ever had, look I have sentenced my current meal to worse than terrible.

        Now, I. Am hungry.

        Excellent to share with a curious mind like yours.

        Marty

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      • This is true. That is why we have to make some judgements. We have to determine whether things need to change and how to go about changing. We really need to judge whether our viewpoint as to how things should be is correct. Then we can change those things over which we have control and change our viewpoint of the rest.

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      • Re: “We really need to judge whether our viewpoint as to how things should be is correct.”

        And how do we verify that judgment? “We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.”

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      • That’s why we need to simplify our lives. The less cluttered we are, the more resources we can bring to bear on getting the bigger picture. When we are cluttered, we often find time for only our viewpoint. When we make time to see ourselves as others see us, we are better able to judge our own views rather than simply accepting them.

        It’s one of the reasons that detox works. It takes away everything else so that the addict can focus on getting the big picture of his addiction. Hopefully, he then lesrns how much damage he is doing to other people and learns that his viewpoint needs adjustment.

        Hmm. That gives me an idea for another article. Thank you. πŸ™‚

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