Spoken Word

A Simpler Life

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Is it possible to go backwards in time to when life was simpler?

A time when people communicated in person rather than through a phone, tablet or social media.

When babies and toddlers were stimulated rather than sat in front a screen to occupy them whilst their carers do something ‘more important’.

A time when a food chain would never have to consider giving incentives to families to put away their devices and actually talk to each other.

Is that what it’s come to now? We will talk to each other in exchange for free food?

Children and young people are increasingly living with massive amounts of stress these days.

Why is that? What’s changed?

There are a lot of possible reasons of course: school is more challenging, jobs are not as readily available, family and community breakdown are all real causes of stress.

But, so is social media.

The young people are never at rest.  They are never fully alone; a parallel world is playing out from their devices, filling their space and brain at all times, stopping them from simply being who they are.

They exist in this constant, un-sleeping, fake world full of fake photographs and fake lives that are only really snap shots of what people want us to see.

The life people want to project to others.

And they believe it’s real.

It’s not just children and young people.  It’s adults too.

Play dates, evenings out, and family holidays hijacked in order to capture the most exciting updates and perfect photos so we can prove what a fantastic existence we have.

But, they are in fact the edited highlights….highlights which have often taken two or three attempts to capture – which makes them not so real after all.

Is it possible to go back? Could we just switch off a little bit more?  Give ourselves a break?

What about a time when people didn’t have everything they wanted the minute they wanted it?

A time before we had limitless credit cards, store cards, instant online shopping?

A time before entitlement had crept in?

A time when people actually waited, for a while, before they bought something?

When they contemplated whether they actually need it and if they could afford it?

Now, it doesn’t seem to matter either way.  It’s purchased before a thought has had chance to form in the mind.

People are working harder and harder in order to live a life that often doesn’t make them happy; which they can’t sustain and which they can’t afford.

To fill their lives with things that don’t satisfy.

They stagger from holiday to holiday.

So exhausted that it takes the first week  to wind down enough to enjoy the second week.

They work harder and harder and see each other less and less.

What if we just had a bit less stuff and spent a bit more time connecting?

Connecting with others, connecting with nature, connecting with ourselves.

Are we so deeply reliant on our appearance (enhanced and costly as the upkeep is) that we too have indeed forgotten how to love ourselves…just as we are?

Could we exist in a simpler world without all of the extras that we believe we need to make us look and feel ‘enough’?

Do you spend too much?

Do you work too much?

Do you care too much about (and therefore spend too much time and money on) your appearance?

Do you spend too much time on your devices instead of being present with loved ones?

Do you spend too many hours on social media?

Do you spend too little time on just ‘being’…..in nature, with those you love, having a rest?

Are we just simply too busy?

Life throws all sorts of demands our way.

Some are real and some are perceived.

We are in a position, with some time and reflection, to discern which are which.

And once we have done that, we are then in a position to change our lives.

We can create boundaries that protect our mental and physical health and well being.

We are not victims of this age.

We are free to live counter cultural lives that model a different way of being who we are meant to be.

Our inheritance on earth, amongst other things, is to live lives of peace.

Peace is not just the absence of war.

Peace is the absence of conflict.

The conflict of “Am I good enough? Do I do enough? Do I earn enough? Do I look good enough? Am I clever and successful enough? Am I thin enough? Am I happy enough? Do I have enough?”

Let me tell you something….you ARE enough without any of those things.

Why not try to find ways of simplifying life?

I promise you that every step you take will be a weight off your shoulders.

I promise you that by creating boundaries in your life you will in fact find more freedom than you thought possible.

How can that be?

Why not try it and see.

5 Comments

  • Rachael

    Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed it. What particularly did you find convicting, if you don’t mind me asking? I’m always interested to see how what I write impacts people.

  • Lou

    Modern day life! It has its pros and cons. It’s good to set boundaries of course and you raise some good points — credit cards, budgeting, not switching off, spending too much time on electronic devices, appearance – all really good points raised. Got me thinking!!

  • Rebecca Eaton

    Well written Rachael, and very true. People are so very busy cramming new hobbies, interest and information into their daily lives it becomes a chore rather than a pleasure.
    The simplest and most rewarding things in life are being neglected and forgotten almost.
    I visit a family who have so little and yet give out the most love and happiness it is possible to give.
    I spend time with others who are just so happy to talk to one another. Talk costs absolutely nothing but can be so fulfilling to all parties concerned.
    Sadly as you suggested in your poem, more and more personal things are getting “put off” now, for vain and false images of a good life. One day , maybe when it is too late, people will wake up to the fact of what they have been missing while they have been “doing the in thing”
    Life is about quality, not quantity. Slow down a little, wait a bit longer before you buy the latest thing you “need”. Chances are you wont even remember you wanted it anyway in a week or so. Try writing or sending a card or making a call or visit, it is so much more fulfilling than reading about other peoples days.

    • Rebecca Flory

      What a truely thought provoking piece Rachael, as a mother to two small children I am so conscious of screen time. Trying to live simplistic in a world that places more pressure on parents for their children to have more things and more stuff, that pushes too much on our children too early doesn’t prove easy! Thank you for reminding us of the beauty of boundaries! Oh how I wish the simpler life for my children.

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