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The Pursuit of Simplicity

January 2, 2010

I’m not very big on New Year’s resolutions. I can’t remember ever resolving to change an aspect of my life at 12:00am on January 1. The whole concept just seems incredibly artificial to me. I mean, if you’re someone who looks ahead each year to New Year’s Day as a springboard for commencing a new and improved life, are you really concerned with change? Or, could it be that this annual ritual amounts to nothing more than a veiled attempt to validate your failure, a way to tell yourself “I attempted that,” “I gave it the old college try” and it’s just not realistic or possible.

By forcing us to take on a semi-spartan existence for a few days or weeks (or, if you’re really committed/desperate, months), resolutions of this sort actually serve, it seems to me, as a subconscious method to reaffirm our present lifestyles.

I’m well aware of how cynical this theory may sound, but understand that I’m writing this post with the crazy assumption that the need for analyzing and adjusting our lifestyles is a daily, even an hourly one—if you’re truly committed to change, that is.

“Simplicity” is probably the best word to describe the change I’ve been trying embody for the past year (especially the past several months), and over the next week or so I’ll be posting some of the practical steps I’m currently taking to simplify my life. My hope is that the suggestions will help you to pursue simplicity in your own life. (I’m not trying to sound superior, I promise.)

The suggestions are not dependent upon complete adherence. To the contrary, each suggestion stems from my own experience and, accordingly, leaves room for frequent missteps. The pursuit of real change must accept the inevitability of failure, for change is always gradual, an ongoing process. (I’m reminded of Gandhi’s language of “experimentation” here.) Those committed to change, I’m convinced, must begin the pursuit anew with each new day, each new hour, each new minute…

NB: I’m not perfect (far from it, in fact), but, like Wesley, I’m trying to be.

To be continued…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kay Owen permalink
    January 22, 2010 7:52 am

    I know YOU know this…not a crazy assumption “the need for analyzing and adjusting our lifestyles is a daily, even an hourly

  2. January 22, 2010 6:31 pm

    Nice post!

    I’d like to make a comment regarding your employment of the term “missteps” (“…leaves room for frequent missteps”). Though my perspective may reduce to nothing more than semantics, I prefer to acknowledge the need or desire to “adjust” oneself as a simple signature of personal growth and being dynamic. I’m not opposed to acknowledging mistakes or even recognizing that one may have done the “wrong” thing, but in my own experience, I don’t intentionally do the “wrong” thing… hindsight provides me with a perspective that enables me to see how I could have done “better,” hence enables me to invoke a change. So in my brain, “misstep” equals “living” (with cognizance), where as a misstep would be repeating a particular behavior, all the while knowing that the outcome of said behavior will cause grief or be viewed as a mistake.

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