Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!

Posted On: 02.18.14

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Thoreau said, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.”

I read his words and I nod. I have been feeling an intense urge to (try to) simplify things in my own life, to slow down, to step back. And that’s just what I’m going to do. For the next stretch of time, I will focus on my family and my friends, on the novel I’m writing, on the good books I’m reading, on the vast questions that buzz beautifully in my head, my heart, my home.

The cool thing? The thing that makes me smile as I type these words? That I know you, you, will understand and respect me more for doing this, for pressing pause, for finding focus, for simplifying.

And maybe you, you, will do the same in your own way, in your own time? Maybe you too will make a little more space for deep breaths and good stories and real people and Life beyond buttons and screens?

I will be back soon – whatever that means. And I will still be in the ether – on Instagram, on Facebook, on Twitter – just less so. Baby steps, right?

I’m excited about this. I take that as a very good sign.

Do you ever have the urge to slow down, to step back, to simplify? Are you immersed in social media, in the blogging world? Do you think these things distract you from other things, things that matter?

Oh, and...

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17 Comments for: "Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!"
  1. Lisa

    Yes. I’ve felt the need recently to simplify too and I think you are setting an important example here. Look forward to reading what you have to say when you are back! Good for you!

  2. Yes. I definitely know this feeling. In the last few years I have quite dramatically simplified my life, paring away at commitments, events, people that don’t serve me and what I know my priorities and values to be. And it has made such a huge difference.

  3. Z

    I don’t know how u do it anyway… 3 kids, a husband and a full family life, school commitments, blog, novel, book readings and always trying to be there for your friends… I wouldn’t be able to do it all. I do half as much as u and I even feel like I need to simplify!! I applaud you for being able to do it all so well for so long but completely understand your need to simplify. Enjoy the moment. Our kids r little for such a short time and I really can’t wait to read the new novel!! I will miss your words daily.

  4. Aidan, I understand this need. There is joy in focusing on what truly matters to you.
    I look forward to your words when you decide to return.

  5. Dear Aidan

    Feeling exactly the same way and about to make similar changes to my life. I have been thinking about this for a long time and the time has come for me to focus.I sense you feel the same way. All the best. I hope to “see” you on instagram now and again, I really enjoy reading your words.

    Mariana

  6. Sue LeBreton

    Good for you. A person can only do so much and it’s the wise one who knows what is important. I want to thank you so much for your writing. Your blog inspired me to stop drinking and it has really helped my anxiety. My year is up the end of April- and it is surprisingly anxiety provoking thinking about what will do. So far when people ask I say I do not know.

    • Kathy

      Good for you Sue! I have been thinking about giving up wine for the past year or so, but have not been able to follow through with it! My group of friends and I are very social, and alcohol has become such a big part of it. It almost feels like adult peer pressure to drink since everyone is drinking so often! Inside I truly worry that have I become a social alcoholic, because I cannot seem to not drink! ( Sometimes it’s just 1 glass of wine and never more then 3 over the course of an evening). This is especially funny because when I was a teenager I never drank! I admire your strength!

  7. Kathy

    I sold my 4000 square foot home in June and downsized to a 1700 square foot condo! Talk about simplifying! It also was a lesson in letting go of things that we attach ourselves to over our lifetime that once we release we don’t know why we ever needed it. I can breathe easier now that the weight of it all has been removed.
    I am at a different phase than you are right now, my children are 21 and 23, and I have a lot of time while at work to peruse the internet. I enjoy reading the blogs and facebook musings of many authors. I find them often intelligent and insightful, as well as inspirational. I will miss your words as well, but imagine like your decision to give up drinking wine for a year, that “giving up” social media for a while is something you need to do right now. It feels good when we make a decision to try something differently and we follow through! Enjoy the extra time you have being unplugged!

    • I am at the same place you are Kathy. I sold my 280 year old farmhouse in NH and moved with my husband to a 2 bedroom apartment in Florida. We are both still working but I am temping and writing. I’ve started a third novel, manage my blog and writing for Huffington occassionally. My daughters are 19 and 22 and go to school in Colorado. I don’t miss anything material I gave away. It’s all just stuff. What I have more of is time to write and time to travel to Colorado.

      I have been cutting back on my drinking although do not want to give it up entirely. It is a big part of so much of our social life. I touched upon this topic in my newest novel Take Me Home. But if I’m not socializing, I try not to have that nightly glass of wine or two. Most nights it seems to be working.

      Social media is an indie author’s best friend. Without the help of a publisher and an agent, it is the best form of advertising and marketing. I am trying to grow my fan base and sell more books. So for now FB, Twitter et all are my best tools.

      So come on over and visit my site. You sound like my perfect fan base. http://www.sheilablanchette.wordpress.com

      And thank you Aidan, for all your thoughtful posts and making so many of us re-evaluate our drinking. I enjoyed your musings on the writer’s life too. How difficult it is to confront the blank page. I look forward to hearing from you in the not too distant future. You have a lovely community here and manage to get everyone engaged in thoughtful conversations.

      Enjoy those little girls of yours. Time passes much too quickly.

  8. Jenny B

    Congrats! Keep us posted and tell us how it goes! Simplify, simplify, simplify is my mantra. Sometimes it feels like life doesn’t want to cooperate. Full-time job, two young kids with lots of homework, ailing father and a shoe-string budget keep me stressing. But in essence, if you can find a way to not waste time worrying (if I’m honest, I spend WAY too much time doing that), then life could become somewhat simpler, or so I imagine. I very much look forward to hearing how you manage your quest. Like someone posted earlier, your giving up drinking has been an inspiration to me. I only, now, drink on special occasions (Saturday night counts as special, right?) and I feel much better. THANK YOU, ADR!

  9. Angela

    We all need to pause sometimes just to look around and take in more. The ones we love, the things we enjoy. It makes life so much more fun. I know that when you return you will do so with renewed energy. You always inspire with your words, so thank you!

  10. Meg

    I am all about simplifying this year — in so many ways — and definitely understand where you’re coming from. We’ll look forward to your return, whenever that may be! (No pressure, of course. No pressure!)

  11. When I started blogging, I had no readers and I was searching to ease the grief I was feeling after losing my parents. I was writing several posts a week, I even reached out to you and you were supportive which I was grateful for. I began writing poetry again which I had started at the age of eight but I had to stop while raising my son as a single mom. Finding my voice again had opened up a new world. I was writing for myself and all of a sudden other poets and writers that shared the same passion found me and supported me. I’ve cut down to only posting once or twice a week. The reward is great. I have a community that extends all over the world. They urged me to post whenever I can. It’s hard to believe how blogging changed my life. I feel that you are doing the right thing for yourself. You have a lot on your plate right now, raising three beautiful girls, creating a life and writing a book. You will find the balance and you will feel peace with yourself. Your readers will remain faithful and return to read your words when you are ready.

  12. We own a huge sign (it is sitting on the shelf to my right as I type) that simply reads: “Simplify.” With a big house on a corner lot and all that comes with daily life, we have not followed our own advice. Until now. It’s been nagging at me/us for a while now. So we put our house up on the market and are downsizing so we can have less “stuff” and less house and more of Life. I can’t lie: I am apprehensive. But I am proud of us. And relieved.

  13. I explained to Briar the other day that no one helps me know when to slow down or move faster. As she listened I realized that it’s really a problem if we don’t have some sort of mechanism for regulating our pace or redirecting us to peace and simplicity. Posts like this one and the introspection that something as simple and spontaneous as a gust of window swirling a pile of leaves can bring are so very precious.

    I hope you are enjoying your time.

  14. I love this. Simplification has become an art in today’s day and age, since so many of us apparently don’t know how to do it, or aren’t very good at it. I’m a chronic over-thinker, and some simplifying would really do me good.

    I wrote a post with simplifying life tidbits a bit ago that you might like!
    http://cominguprosestheblog.com/2013/11/13/gilt-ceo-on-having-grace-facing-911-and-simplifying-life/

    Erica

  15. Yes. Oh yes. How I know and I do the same. Good for you for honoring YOU. xoxo

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