“Be as simple as you can be; you will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life can become.” Yogananda Paramahansa
I’m a true believer that we need to change our way of living. Our attitude towards achieving things and consumerism has to change. We have to definitely start asking ourselves the question: DO I REALLY NEED THIS? And I know for some of us, if we see a nice pair of shoes, although we have 5 or 10 others similar to the one that we are admiring, we would still think..yes I need that! But do we really?
Why do we need to have so much? Why do we always need to upgrade things or have the latest of everything? I know sometimes we feel pressured by society. I’ve often been in situations where I’ve been questioned about getting a new phone or a new computer because it’s already a few years old. For me, if something it’s still good and working, why do I need to change it?
Our resources are ending, we are making too much of everything and that is showing in the rubbish we produce. Electronic waste, plastic waste, it’s everywhere. There’s no where to put it and rubbish does not magically disappear; it’s now becoming a big issue, like ending in our oceans and becoming part of our food chain. The oceans are a plastic soup that we have yet to figure out how to clean.
Some people may ask, but why should I care about the oceans being polluted, that doesn’t affect me, but it does! Oceans provide so many benefits to humans, including essential nutrition, climate regulation, oxygen generation and the provision of food. We are all linked and interconnected, if the oceans are sick, we are sick as well.
It’s time for us to be the change. We are the ones who can make the right decisions towards a better world. Of course, we would hope that the leaders from all the countries in the world could take a part in this change and focus on what’s important and necessary: saving the Earth; but until they do, we can all make small changes that would create a big difference.
Let’s think before we buy. Let’s reuse, repurpose things, fix things, use them until they completely die; let’s make our lives simpler. I know, I’m talking here to a part of society that has the choice to make choices. I know there’s another part that can’t afford to make these choices, the part of society who is just surviving, day to day, figuring out what they’re going to eat, how they are going to make ends meet. But they are not really the problem, because they’re already reusing, fixing, and utilizing their resources the best way they can. It’s the other people, the people who have money to spend as they please; this is the part of society who needs to change and make more conscious choices.
This is one of the reasons why we have chosen to live on a boat. We have chosen “voluntary simplicity” (I’ve just learned that new expression from listening the other day to Teresa Carey’s TED talk, very inspiring writer and sailor) “Voluntary simplicity, or simple living, is a way of life that rejects the high-consumption, materialistic lifestyles of consumer cultures and affirms what is often just called ‘the simple life’ or ‘downshifting”. (www.simplicity collective.com)
Living simply doesn’t mean being poor, it just means living with what’s necessary, using resources wisely, desiring less. I found a quote the other day that I really believe in “the less you own, the less that owns you”. It’s just easier to have less and by wanting less or acquiring less you stop desiring. Desiring things can be tiring and I really think that the more you get the more you are going to want. Humans, we are never completely satisfied.
Before making the move, we were living in a flat, waking up, going to work, coming home, cooking, going to sleep, and starting all over again the next day. We found ourselves being richer in our bank accounts but poorer with our time. That’s not the life we wanted to live for the rest of our lives; we needed to make a change so that we could still be productive, but have more time to do the things that we enjoy the most, to concentrate on things that we really care about.
Living on a boat makes this concept of simplicity simpler. We’re going to be living closer to nature, watching our water and electricity use closely and stocking ahead our food supply and resources. It’s a confined space, we won’t have many places to put things into, and that means having less things. It will mean being frugal, learning to fix things and do things for ourselves as sometimes we will be in the middle of the ocean far from anyone to give us a hand. But you don’t have to go live on a boat like us to achieve this kind of life or try to simplify yours. Small steps towards change, conscious choices, asking questions, seeing the bigger picture, this should be our goal.
We can all make a difference thinking about what our environmental footprint is; how much rubbish are we producing a day, how much stuff (that we really don’t need) are we buying each month, how much single use plastic are we buying each week? How much food are we wasting? We need to start thinking about these things, is our human responsibility and as Mother Teresa said it: “Live simply so that others may simply live”.