Simpler Life: Appreciate Your Imperfect World
Our homes don’t need to be places that burden us. If we love our homes and the people that we are when we call these places home, they are a joy.
So when Martin and I were out hiking over the weekend and stopped to chat with some other hikers, our conversation naturally flowed to the question, “Where are you from?” Martin and I have a bank of stored answers. We do not have to pause, despite the fact that our answers vary so often. We’re not lying when we answer. It’s just not easy to explain that in the last year, we’ve called three drastically different places home (here, here, and now here).
It isn’t just my surroundings that keep changing, though. I imagine your life, your community, and certainly our economy are frequently changing, too. How can we create a simpler life and appreciate our world when it’s always changing? One way or another, we must learn to lower the standards we create for ourselves. Life can be fabulous without everything being perfect.
Stop apologizing for who you are. I always hear people apologizing for everything in the United States. We don’t even realize we’re doing it. We apologize that the dinners we make aren’t perfect; we apologize for dirt and clutter in our houses. Then we apologize for walking past someone in the store when they’re looking at the merchandise. Sometimes we’ll apologize just for walking by or not being completely perfect around other people. All of our apologies draw attention to our faults when the truth is that most people don’t even notice our imperfections until we bring them up.
Try for a day or two to notice every time you say you’re sorry. I started noticing how much I had the habit of apologizing when I would shop in Germany. Every time I said excuse me or apologized in German for things like paying with a card instead of cash, people started speaking English to me. It was a dead giveaway as to how often I apologized when truly, I didn’t do anything at all. I know that some apologies are important. But you shouldn’t apologize for who you are or the minor imperfections you might have.
The same goes for our homes. I would love to stay in one place for more than six months. But since I can’t change the situation that I need to be in, and if you can’t either, the least we can do is enjoy what we have. Finding pleasure in simple moments (such as with this photo-a-day project) focuses your energy on the positive things you have in your life. We have the power to create so much in our lives. Hobbies and simple pleasures you enjoy (like making homemade chocolate chip cookies perhaps) can establish that joy. Focusing on our faults cannot.
How have you come to recognize your imperfections?