Clothes on a clothes line out back. Few ingredients slowly cooked on a stovetop. Picnics in the park for the day's big outing.
One of my bigger surprises in growing up has been the continued draw toward less. I don't think I'm alone in this. Many of my peers seem to be catering toward simple palettes, a return to whole living, minimalist spaces. The idea of simplifying is a constant topic of conversation. We crave fewer things of truer value. There is peacefulness in this material simplicity. I'd love to have few well- and ethically-made pieces hanging in my closet and splurge on the best quality foods and home goods to eliminate clutter and worry.
But I think we all expect to have nicer things as we grow older. That's one of the perks, right? This growing up into a life. What I've noticed more is the shift in my thinking. Oh, but I used to be so complicated! Everything was a drama even when I liked to pretend that I wasn't "like that." Everything required noise and discussion and too much thought. Everything had a million jigsaw pieces I had to put into place.
Of course it's not completely reasonable that life becomes black and white as we get older; but as I've come to admit that black and white are what I love to wear most, I've also learned it's how I like to think most?
Now hear me out. This particular post isn't about morality, and I'm certainly not enforcing my black-and-white on you. It's more about coming into my own enough to decide what my personal blacks and whites are, and not really being deterred from that no matter what. The reason this is simplifying is that I'm reducing the influencers. And I'm reducing numerous strivings. And I'm reducing the need to fill space all the time so that I can have it all/find it all/do it all/see it all/be it all.
For me, this process of reduction has been like discovering that fudge recipe. Four ingredients, all pure and whole and relatively healthy in their own rite. It takes a little work on the front end, but the end result is something so sweet and rich, it's better than that fake stuff loaded up with multiple forms of sugar and words I can't pronounce. Make sense?
And so as my mind has started working this way, it's been spilling into my lifestyle. It's choosing the white t-shirt even though I already have three (and my mom says "A girl can never have too many white t-shirts" anyway). It's loving the fact that I haven't had a microwave for years and that we prepare our food slowly. It's the real and true root behind all of my natural posts and making a journey back to the heart of things. It's a solid belief in the idea that God probably never intended for us to make things so, so hard and realizing that He gave us everything we need when He made this earth. It's a process I'll probably never perfect; but it is something much more fulfilling to work toward than to head for the other end.
I'm so thankful my heart was changed in this way before we left for New York. We're in a booming city where you decide from the beginning, "I won't even try to keep up with the Jonses," because you can't. And I realized before we arrived, that's not what I want anyway. I want to keep my eyes on what is pure and whole and simple. I want to be simple.