What exactly does a simple life look like?
Here in Lancaster County, I have the opportunity to watch the Amish with their black buggies, admire their laundry—hung in straight rows on the front porch—in the traditional Amish colors of purple, black and blue; watch siblings play in the yard with wooden toys made by hand, and frequent their fruit and vegetable stands (in the summer!). There is an abundance of Amish farms within a five-mile radius of our home, so I don’t have to venture too far to get a slice of the simple life.
On Saturday, I went away to write my chapter on simplicity. After driving past several Amish farms, I realized just how far from “simple” my life has gotten. I went away to write (to get away from the chaos of my office), but unfortunately I wasn’t alone.
First stop was Starbucks at Barnes & Noble because I had a coupon for a free cookie (how simple is that?). Not really, because everyone had the same coupon and they ran out of cookies just as I got to the cash register, so I ordered a drink (not free!).
I slumped down in a chair (still thinking about the cookie that I didn’t get), and started writing (I work better if there is a little distraction). But soon the “little” distraction became huge. The two women next to me were talking about “writing.” Not just writing, but writing for money. My ears perked up! They were professional bloggers and they were using words like SEO (search engine optimization), wordtracker.com, texalyser, and how to write “keyword” articles that sell. Now some of this information I knew because I write articles for the Web (under a pen name), and do fairly well. But then one of them blurted out how much money she made last month and my green tea latte spewed out of my mouth!
Suddenly, I found myself in the Web optimization section of the bookstore looking for more information that I scribbled down on a brown paper napkin. After perusing the “Idiot” and “Dummy” books, I spent the next two hours reading on a subject I had little interest in and accomplished “zero” writing.
Suddenly my life became much more complicated and all the energy I could have poured into writing dissolved into a blur of terms and phrases that I didn’t even care about (or maybe I should as a writer?).
The chapter on “simplicity” is being tabled right now, but I did make some progress in making my life much more simple. I emptied all the junk drawers in the house (without looking at their contents), and placed them in boxes with the date: 12/6/08. In two years (if I’m still alive), I will throw them away without peeking inside.
Because if I haven’t needed something in two years’ time, then I probably didn’t need it in the first place.
How simple is that?
Simplicity, Amish, writer's life