A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Scooping Up a Plateful of Life

Life is a buffet. It is full of the delicious, the disgusting, and everything in between. Life is also full of choices. I watched in wonder on Thanksgiving Day how everyone was presented with the same food selections, yet no two plates looked exactly the same.

1. We all start with the same empty plate.

We all begin with a life full of possibilities. Married or single? Kids or no kids? Desk job or entrepreneur? Cozy at home or traveling abroad? Hectic and crazy or calm and content? Cluttered or uncluttered? Happy or unhappy? It’s up to us to figure out how we want to fill it up.

2. We are presented with the same choices.

Essentially we are all presented with the same basic choices in life. Regardless of being born into tragedy or with any manner of handicap (social, physical, or emotional) we have the opportunity to rise above them. We have the choice to settle for the easy choices or dig in our heels and make choices that take us a step closer to where we want to be.

3. Coming back for seconds is optional.

We always have the chance to start over. Many people have reinvented themselves and basically started their lives over. If you aren’t happy with where you are in life, take a step back, evaluate where you really want to be, and take a scoop of something different.

4. If we wait too long, we miss out.

Unfortunately, time waits for no one. Time is in limited supply and it quickly slips away as we search for more of it. Just like Grandma’s yummy sweet potato casserole, if we wait too long we’ll miss our chance to taste it. Take your chances now and make your choices without sitting around and regretting what you missed.

Minimalism has caused me to examine life’s buffet with new eyes. I realize now that I don’t have an endless supply of time to spend, money to burn, or space in my home. I’m working hard to declutter our family’s schedules, finances, and every room that we live in. I didn’t start out with choices that satisfied me, but I’m going back for seconds. Are you?


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photo by januszek

Article originally published on 11/30/2010

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  1. Oh yes, I am definitely going back for seconds and maybe thirds! I came from major dysfunction but have decided it does not have to make me! I DO have a choice of what I make with this life I have been given! Oh, and I have to say, I don’t have much compassion for those who whine and complain about their situation, yet they will not do anything differently!
    BTW, very good way of pulling the story of thanksgiving dinner in your post!

  2. It was only when I had my own children that I looked at the choices I had made and questioned them. At that point I was into my Thirties, and it was by chance I picked up a book at my local library called ‘simplify your life’ by Naomi Saunders on an afternoon out with my 9-month-old second born. It’s never too late to try harder and to live smarter. Life isn’t a rehearsal and there’s no finish line – in my opinion it should be an experience not an existence, with quality over-riding quantity. Happy Belated Thanksgiving! Jo (simplybeingmum – “family life simply done”)

  3. abracadabra says

    I really don’t want to quibble or be unnecessarily contrary but we don’t all start with the same choices in life. We can all strive to succeed despite our circumstances but some of us are definitely “more equal than others” and have to strive less in order to just get by.

    I make that point because it is definitely a motivation behind our attempts at minimalism… live simply so that others may simply live.

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