What Do We Mean By Simplify? Part 2
This article is a continuation of What Do We Mean By Simplify? Part 1.
Jackson, Mississippi residents, know firsthand what life is like being dependent on failing infrastructure. Can you imagine how much misery could have been prevented if these folks had rainwater catchment connected to their houses and outbuildings? They could have still been hooked up to a public water supply, but the backup would have been a tremendous help when that system broke. Alas, people wanted short-term convenience over long-term stability. Don't be like them. Choose to simplify.
Rainwater catchment is one of the easiest ways to simplify your water supply. Plus, installing rain tanks does not make you look weird to neighbors, so your frail ego isn't damaged. I know the data is conflicting, but personally, I would be much more comfortable drinking rainwater collected from a metal roof instead of an asphalt roof. Depending on your location, it may be cost-effective to replace that 20-year life expectancy asphalt roof with a 50-year metal roof so you can avoid any heavy metals in your catchment system.
For us, drinking water comes from a hand-dug well 30' from our front door. If need be, and barring a drought, we could collect stream water as backup and filter it in our Berkey water filter. The point is our source of water, which is the most important resource to sustain life, is not pumped in from somewhere else using fossil fuels. We still collect rainwater to water the animals and garden when needed, but those are backups to our main water supply—well water.
Other Areas To simplify
Some things are not easily simplified, such as gasoline, but there are steps that can be taken to reduce the need for them. Down-sizing your lawn to a more manageable size is a great way to reduce gasoline consumption. Converting the rest of the yard to food-producing gardens, berries, fruit, or nut trees helps reduce fuel needs plus generates food on site. An added benefit is just walking around your plants in the evening. What beauty and joy they can bring.
Consider growing medicinal plants that are hardy to your climate. CM grew cannabis this summer, and it performed really well. I grow astragalus which is an adaptogenic herb for whole-body health. Other easy-to-grow and beneficial medical herbs include nettle, oregano, native passionflower, purple coneflower, ginger, lemon balm, marshmallow, elderberry, and many more. Obviously, these herbs will not eliminate cancer, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Stop health problems in their tracts by consuming homegrown foods and medicine. Check out these books for excellent herbal medicine guides.
Simplify Your Mind
There is so much noise coming from every avenue of life here in the West. The Ukraine "crisis," Trump, FBI, government overreach, "vaccine" murder, failing supply lines, stock market gyrations, and so much more. All of this is just noise. Of course, they are horrible, but how much of your worrying will change these things? No amount of fretting will reverse mentally challenged policies, government corruption, or course correct the decline of industrial civilization. At this point, all of these issues are predicaments. You cannot fix them, you are only left with the ability to roll with the punches—i.e., adapt.
I am currently learning to simplify my mind with everything happening in the world. Yes, it's good to be informed, but truthfully, we are overinformed about many of these topics while neglecting the actual things we can control. Writing to your county commissioner on their job performance brings priorities back home to the local level, where real change can occur. Attending community meetings and expressing your thoughts gives you a voice where it matters and could encourage you to be a positive force for good locally. Is there a local group you are a part of that would benefit from learning about limits to growth and the results of overconsumption of resources? My Treatise To The Church explored the significant issue of modern Christianity turning its back on helping people and the lack of connecting with younger generations. Perhaps your church could start a community garden to help support those in the community who need food. Who knows, you may be dependent on that food supply yourself one day.
Who in your life is dragging you down? Are you dragging yourself down by people pleasing and being over-responsible at work or with your family? Reducing your stress and increasing your emotional intelligence helps to reorient your mind. CM has written many great articles on the topic, and I encourage you to read them. For continued podcasts and articles on the subject, check out The Baggage Reclaim Sessions.
What Simplifying is Not
I'm not sure why this concept is so foreign to many Americans, but it is. When you are living below your means, you are consuming less, which means you are not spending more. You may have noticed that in the above examples, all of them mean you were in control of your needs, so you did not outsource them to others (which drives up cost and fragility). You no longer have multiple cars to pay taxes on or loans; you do not own an RV, a boat, ATV, or any other energy-consuming entitlement that is not directly providing a service to your resilience. Good riddance!
Instead of your needs being outsourced to faraway lands, you have much more control in meeting your needs from local or regional sources. Who cares if manufacturing is shut down in China? Your needs are met locally, where there is much more stability. Instead of fiddling with poorly made washer machines from Asia, you wash clothes by hand at home in a system that you built. No more impossible-to-replace components if something breaks. You can easily get it fixed. Your power is locally produced, meaning if ice storms or forced power cuts leave others in the dark, you keep humming along.
This one strikes at the heart of America's entitlement. Suffice it to say, we worry way too much about what other people will think or say about our adaptive living. They may be nasty about it but people are nasty anyway. Better to embrace reality—resources are getting more expensive, and harder to source, and not fight this development. We had a good run with cheap-convenient energy, and now it's time to move on and live within our means. We all have a responsibility to change course and live more within our planet's ability. For folks like CM and me who spread the message of simplifying, it's important to practice what we preach and what we do every day. Frankly, the weird people are residing in privileged denial that excessive resource consumption doesn't have its limits.
4). About Making Excuses
Although there is no "one" way to simplify, there is one destination, no matter how many excuses people make, for keeping the status quo going. We have heard so many excuses as to why people cannot simplify— "CM and you have it easy," "That's nice for you but we can't do that," "You got lucky," "I can't live like that because it's too much work," on and on. Give me a break.
These cop-outs avoid the simple truth that they enjoy raping the planet too much. They do not want to be inconvenienced by taking responsibility for their lives. CM and I were not lucky. We did not have parents, friends, or neighbors helping us build this life. We got here because we saved, we postponed instant gratification, we got back up every time we were knocked down, and boy, have we suffered some tremendous failures. No one was there to encourage us or fund our "dreams." Neither of us comes from wealthy families. They wouldn't even help if they knew what we do anyway. There was no hand-out keeping us going. Everything that we do is accomplished by our epic willpower to live the life we encourage others to live. We practice on a daily basis the message that we preach.
Keep It Simple Stupid
The KISS principle has been used for decades to great success. None of what I wrote above is a comprehensive outline for what you should do, but I hope they are launching points for you to brainstorm and then take action. There are at least 10 items in your home that you could throw out that are unnecessary to your existence. Give it a go; toss them. Learn how to modify your daily tasks so that you are more resilient in case those things are harder to find or afford. Simplifying is much easier when it's done at a comfortable pace. Let me warn you, however, that reality is not waiting around for you to get with the program. It's time to start your engines in reducing your supply lines. Thanks for taking the time to read this important article.