The Simple Life: Adapt. Like a Frog. Or a Finch.

If you’re going to fuss about something, make it your hair, as opposed to the rigidity of your schedule. Figurative, Licensed open edition print by Steve Henderson.

I’m really not supposed to be chatting with you right now.

If my schedule, the one I set up last night before the snowstorm, were in place, I would be 70 miles away at Costco, shopping. The monthly hunt and gather of food at the grocery store is one I plan with anticipation, not the least because Costco always features an array of samples. One week they had two kinds of chicken and chocolate chip cookies.

But, because there is fresh snow on the highways (I’m not going to say how much, or how little, because all of the people in Buffalo, New York will snort at my driving timidity), I am adjusting my schedule to accommodate life’s little inconveniences. That’s why I’m sitting here with you, talking about two kinds of chicken and chocolate chip cookies.

(I’m out of both, incidentally, which would have been taken care of if there were not an undisclosed amount of fresh snow on the highways. We will have to get by on salmon fillets and Snickerdoodles.)

A Life of Stress

One aspect of living in a highly materialistic, stress-inducing, performance-requiring culture is that we make lists, adhere to schedules, and run our life with a rigid efficiency that shows the world how organized and productive we are, as if we manufactured widgets or something.

The work world is not a kind, gentle place, and it is easy to let its attitude of rigidity and conformity spill out into our lives at home. Field of Dreams, original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

We’re not called an Industrial Society for nothing (and even though we’re technically post-Industrial, the lessons learned — that we run our lives like machines, not humans — are deeply ingrained), and many of us approach each day with the goal that we’re going to get things done, by golly, and a lot of them. We’ve got a list to check off.

But once you start down the road of the simple life, you quickly learn that life is not predictable, and you are not a machine. Snowstorms happen. People wander in and out of your existence, needing things. You wake up tired and lethargic. Costco becomes an errand for another day.

Life Happens

Within the world of work, rigidity is a way of life, and when the boss is a butt, there’s not much that we can do about it. But even within the confines of the cubicle, humanity happens, and while a manager may berate us for a lapse in perfection, we don’t have to accept their words, or their attitude, into our hearts.

We are not failures because of the unexpected turns and twists of life. We are human beings, living the life that we have been given, and when circumstances are different than what we thought they would be, the smartest thing to do — and as post-Industrialists we pride ourselves on being smart — is to stop, review the situation, and be willing to make changes that make sense for us and our day.

Adapt, or Find Another Pond

When you can, where you can, take time to smell the blossoms of spring. Blossom, original oil painting by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

The animal world does this all the time, and you don’t have to believe in Evolution (I don’t) to see that the creatures that adapt, are the creatures that survive. If you’re a frog in a pond and the pond dries up, you either find another pond or learn how to live with less water, that is, if you want to remain alive. If you’re a human being and the electricity is out for God knows how long and your only means of cooking is an electric range, you’ll probably have sandwiches tonight as opposed to steaks. But it will still seem romantic because you’ll be eating by candlelight.

Living the simple life is a process, and part of the process is approaching each day with a creative, open attitude, treating problems like challenges and disappointments like puzzles. Once you recognize, and accept, that life down here isn’t perfect and changes to our schedule are going to happen, you can smile, even if you’re doing it through pain.

Thank You

Thank you for joining me at This Woman Writes, where I address financial health and simple living on Fridays. If you are seeking the simple life, I encourage you to look at my book, Live Happily on Less: 52 Ways to Renovate Your Life and Lifestyle.

If you’re a Christian, or interested in Christianity, please join me at my BeliefNet blog, Commonsense Christianity. Recent posts there include

God. God? GOD! Are You There?

Salvation Is Free. Our Time Is Not.

“God Helps Those Who Help Themselves.” Yuck.

Is It Okay to Talk to the Grave of Your Loved One?

About these ads

About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. In addition to her This Woman Writes blog, Carolyn writes a regular art column for FineArtNews, an online newsletter for artists and art collectors.
This entry was posted in Art, blogging, Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Economy, Encouragement, Family, finances, home, inspirational, Life, Lifestyle, News, saving money, self-improvement, shopping, simple living and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s