Simple is as simple does

9:30PM on a Tuesday night. I assume most people are watching television, getting the kids ready for bed, or maybe even already sleeping. Us? We were taking turns kneading a particularly stubborn batch of sourdough bread. As my arms began to transform into a wobbly sort of rubber, it occurred to me that the term ‘simple life’ is the most inaccurate way to describe this way of living. How is it simple to cook from scratch all the time, forgoing the blissful convenience of processed and pre-packaged food? Where is the nostalgic ease in the endless backbreaking tasks, like building chicken coops, garden beds, and hauling around hundreds of pounds of dirt? What about rising at dawn to let out the chickens so that the new rooster doesn’t get attacked, or spending weeks tending to an injured hen in your bathroom? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE all of it. I may sound bitter, but really, I’m just tired. All this simple, old-fashioned living occasionally wears you down a bit.
Is there a point? Not really, at least nothing ground-breaking. I guess it bothers me that some people think this way of life is simple, as though eating from a box and paying other people to do things for you is difficult. I’m not getting on any high horses here, we all do what we can, but I mean, really. Picking up a loaf of bread and a carton of eggs at the store is far‘simpler’ than baking at home and keeping chickens.
We don’t have cable or a real phone line. We don’t go out to eat, go on vacations or to the movies. I can’t remember the last time I bought shoes. A good time for us usually involves lively discussions over a bottle of cheap wine while cooking dinner, maybe even an episode of Star Trek on Netflix if we’re feeling crazy. So I guess, in that regard, we do live a simple life. We enjoy simple pleasures, and do not require expensive things or stimuli to feel satisfied. But pleasure is not the purpose of life. (I think I just stumbled onto my point…)To label a life as simple because the pleasure therein is simple negates the importance of everything else, of the real reasons we do it, of the hard work and the Faith it requires and enhances. It places a frivolously hedonistic spin on this way of living that is unfair, and entirely untrue. This way of life cannot be categorized, as everyone’s version of it is different (how large of a garden must one have, how many animals must they keep, to be considered a farmer?), but we should all take immense pride in it. Anything done within the home by our own hands is a step in the right direction, but it is anything but simple.

This post is linked up to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways

One thought on “Simple is as simple does

  1. Simple is often seen as a synonym for easy, but they can be truly different! A washing machine is easy to use; a washboard is simple, but certainly not easy! Similarly, a dryer is easy; line drying is simple. In both cases the “easy” way is certainly the hardest on both the environment and our pocketbooks. Convenience does have its place – I certainly appreciate the washing machine! – but I agree with you that there are complexities to “simple” that are not “easily” understood.

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