buying into the lie of simplicity

About a year ago, I found myself embarking on a new way of life. A more simple life. A “Simple + Good” life, if I may.

It was the perfect storm. I was leaving behind “A Necessary Rebrand” to rebrand myself, which was very exciting and would, of course, require a lot of research. And I had plenty of resources at my digital fingertips. So, over the course of just a few simple Google searches, I knew that if I was to believe anything about embracing this new lifestyle, it would most certainly look like:

Smell like:

And, ultimately, feel like:

But the problem with this was that, again, if I was to believe anything about embracing and enacting this new lifestyle, I would need to buy:

and

and

to hopefully, maybe, probably feel like

You see where I’m going here?

Simplicity, Minimalism, Sustainability – rooted as they are in the best of intentions – all have a certain pleasurable “look” to them; a je nais se quois, a marketable set of traits. And me? Well, being a Libra, being a lover of beauty and balance, being a shopaholic, I was more than happy to take on the challenge of accumulating all the tiny little perfect succinct details that would make me feel like that girl running through the field up there. ⬆

But you know what?

It didn’t work.

Because what I was looking for was a feeling, not a thing. I would read books or browse through Instagram accounts, swept away by the pleasing filters alongside the captions detailing a quiet morning or the end of a months-long renovation project, believing that what I was seeking could be found by having “that bag” in the corner or “this oversized sweater” being worn after a hard days’ work. But that wasn’t what it was about, y’all.

The look of simplicity? The minimalist trend? That’s all they are. Looks and trends. We’ll never find what they’re talking about in those captions if we keep trying to buy our way into it rather than (simply) living our lives with intention. And that can be hard to do when the job of many minimalists and simplists and sustainable living advocates is to sell us what they have so they can fulfill their end of a hefty brand endorsement.

Which brings us back to the question that began it all: How do we find it? Where is intention amidst the daily hustles, the never-ending amalgamation of life struggles and worldwide pandemics, and – worst of all – wedding planning? (I kid, I kid – WEAR YOUR MASKS, yo)

Well, what I found is that the answer tends to find us when (and where) we least expect it:

The other day, I had to shovel over a foots’ worth of compacted hay and goat shit out of a broken-down shed. I say “had to” because I did actually have to, but also because in the moment, it was the last thing I wanted to be doing. And it ended up being way more grueling and painful and smelly than I initially intended.

But once it was done, I was tired. A good kind of tired. And, shockingly, I was satisfied. I felt empowered, too – like I was actually living. And there was nothing pretty or pleasing or perfect about it. Yet, it was simple. It was the simplest aspect of living on a farm, of living in the country, and of having the luxury of having a load full of goats to post cute pictures of on social media. It was real. And it brought me into the moment better than any pleasing home decor layout or sweet-smelling lavender essential oil ever could.

When we live fully in our lives? That is when we find simplicity. That is how we discover the joy of living – the joie de vivre. It can be hard to capture. It can be hard to sell. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about feeling at home in ourselves, whether anyone else can see it or not.