“Stop at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.”
~ The Biblical Prophet Jeremiah
Generation Z, Generation AO (aka…”Always On”), or Net Generation.
These are terms that define the current generation.
They’re always “on.” They are hyper-connected…most don’t even remember a time without advanced communication and media technology. Texting, googling, YouTube’ing it’s what they know — it’s what they do.
What happened to a simple time and place?
How did we become so at risk for losing the life and skills of sustainability?
A Simple Time and Place
Can we go back?
I believe the answer is yes! But in order for this to happen I agree with what Shannon Hayes says in her life-changing book, Radical Homemakers, that we must realize…
“Home is where the great change will begin. It is not where it ends.”
So what does that look like practically in our daily lives…in each of our homes? Here are a few tips that have helped me:
1. De-clutter. A clean, organized, and well-managed home brings peace. But it’s not just about keeping the “stuff” clean and organized. No! It’s about simplifying…reducing the amount of stuff we have in our homes and reducing the amount of stuff that we buy to fill our homes. Clutter breeds chaos.
2. Spend less. The first step toward spending less is learning to re-define our understanding of the word “enough.” We must re-define what is and is not a necessity. In fact, did you know that if we have $20 in our pocket, food in the refrigerator, clothes on our back, a roof overhead, and place to sleep, we are richer than 75% of the people in the world!
3. Save More. Just as re-defining our necessities will help us to spend less…naturally we see that this principle will also help us to save more. Don’t live within your means…live below them. And by that I mean, save more than you spend. Cut up the credit cards, start living with a budget, move into a smaller home (or rent something smaller and cheaper), sell a car,…
4. Un-Plug. Now…you all know that I am a huge fan of the Internet — through it I earn my livelihood. However, I’m continuously working toward a healthier relationship with technology. I want to see it as a tool, not a master. Choosing a day — or even specific times during my day — to disconnect and un-plug has helped significantly. I love the heart behind the author of Unplugged Sunday and if you ever get the itch to read more on the subject…I highly recommended reading: The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale.
5. Get outdoors. This one comes easy for me! You see…I was raised with a deep respect for the creation surrounding us and have therefore always loved nature. In fact, some of my closest friends may even consider me an overly enthusiastic outdoors person. I believe the Earth is our playground — containing the entirety of items necessary for our existence and entertainment. We’re not a family that spends time or money on super expensive entertainment, travel, and/or recreational activities. Why should anyone!?! It’s simply a matter of getting outdoors and enjoying what has been freely given to us!
6. Keep it small and local. I’ve developed a saying for myself when it comes to earning an income, “I want to make a living, not a killing.” Repeating this to myself daily helps to keep me sane! So many burdens of our daily lives are lifted as we seek to lead simpler lives. Please don’t miss understand, I strive to do everything with excellence and to do it well. But whether it be through friendships, church, neighbors, activities for the children, my business, or our food that comes from local farm co-ops…I find freedom in keeping it small and local.
7. Live in community. Having a close group of family and friends almost seems foreign for a lot of us. But those who experience the benefits of living in community with others understand the support that comes from having each other. You see, we were never intended to live this life alone. In fact, fierce independence often comes with a pretty high price tag and requires so much of our time. Bring back a simple time and place by:
- supporting your friends
- getting to know your neighbors
- passing on your knowledge of the “old ways” to the younger generation
- organizing a carpool with other parent’s to-and-from school
- sharing a meal with family and/or friends
8. Identify true security. As I understand it, security is an illusion…but it feels real only because so many people agree to abide by its terms. Perhaps it has been the mere pursuit of security — whether it be physical, emotional, or financial — that has led us so far away from a life of simplicity. Believe me when I say that no amount of food storage, no level of higher education, and certainly no amount of income can provide security. True security isn’t something you have, it’s something you are. Who you are is the only thing that can’t be taken away. The real issue of security comes down to what we put our faith and trust in — and once that has been identified, the road to simple living becomes a bit clearer.
What are some of the ways you are trying to return to simple time and place?