I have chosen Awareness as the perfect starting point in my Simple Living A-Z series. Perfect, because in order to start living simply, or at least making changes towards that lifestyle, you first need to be aware that what you are currently doing could do with some improvement. For me, I always knew that I could be doing things better for my home, my lifestyle, the planet, and my family....I just didn't know where to start, and lacked the motivation. Working full-time and raising a family makes for chaotic times, but with planning and organisation, I have found that I have created more time to work towards this goal of living simply.
I was aware that I could make changes, but I did not have the knowledge, nor had I even heard of the concept of simple living...until a chance meeting occured. I attended a blogging workshop at the Reality Bites Literary Festival last year presented by Rhonda Hetzel from Down To Earth and this meeting was exactly what I needed to become aware that I could make simple changes to my life, to make it better...and to ultimately make me happier. This journey has been nothing short of amazing, and the quality of my life has improved immensely. Before adopting this lifestyle choice, I was at a loss with my flood-prone property, but it now has a purpose, and despite its flaws, has become more than just a home...it is also my haven.
Through Rhonda's book and her website I have taught myself so many skills that were not passed down to my generation. I bake bread, make my own cleaning products, grow my own vegetables, make preserves, make cheese, make yoghurt, recycle and re-purpose everything I can...and these are just a few of the many things I can now do that have added so much value to my life. I am proud of the fact that my carbon footprint is smaller than what it used to be, proud of the fact that my children have home-made treats in their lunchboxes, proud that I use less chemicals and know where most of my ingredients come from...and that pride shines through to my family, who have a happier Mum who is more accepting of her flooding property.
All of that started with awareness. Awareness of what I wanted to change about my lifestyle, and awareness of what those changes could do for me. My most popular post was written in the first month of my blog and also describes my early foray into Simple Living. How to Start Living Simply describes the baby steps I first took, and how to sort through the mass of information on this topic. Start with the simple changes first, and it will snowball from there.
I am still learning about this concept of simple living and can only embrace it part-time, but I eventually hope to clear my debt, work from home and be fully self-sufficient. It's nice to dream isn't it? Do you strive to live a more simple life, or are you happy with things just the way they are?