Simplicity = Freedom

Dear Reader:

“When you are most simple is when you feel really free.” Why has it taken me a lifetime to learn this lesson? Slow learner, I reckon.

It is not as if I have ever had the extravagant means to live a completely luxurious life…but not-with-standing… I have certainly acquired more “stuff” in my lifetime than my meager presence in the world required. It has taken me the last few years of retirement to  literally ‘un-rid’ myself of “stuff” that was simply taking up room and gathering dust.

As I started this massive overhaul I remember staring at certain objects, in my hands, wondering why in the world I ever thought I needed any of ‘this or that’ or even should have desired it?

The one thing, I do know for certain, is that with each trip to Goodwill or other charitable organizations…I have felt lighter and freer than ever before in my life. One drawer cleaned out and my day shines brighter for it. I have gotten to the point now that I am becoming actually claustrophobic when there is too much of my “stuff” lying around the house.

I look in the mirror and think…“Who is this gal staring back at me that once surrounded herself with stuff and thought nothing about it at all?”

I have even gotten to the point where I don’t want to win a million dollars..that scenario would just create a lot of worrisome decisions to be made and probably hurt feelings. I would like to win just enough to pay off any loans so I would be entirely debt-free with an adequate emergency fund to prevent sleep-less nights worrying about what next might break around the house? That’s it…anything else would just be needless baggage.

I don’t know about you but the old axiom  “An idle mind is the devil’s playground” was dispersed verbally (a lot) in my family growing up. I am sure it was wise advice when meted out but unfortunately it has been a hard custom to break. I still feel guilty when I find myself, some days, just really not wanting to do anything…even, perhaps, dare I say it?…taking a nap in the middle of the day!

This excerpt from an article I just read has reassured me that I am not alone in trying to throw off the shackles of guilt when I want to spend time with “nada” (nothingness)… and still feel good about it!

“I am just as guilty as the next person, but I am doing my best to change it. I am trying harder to live in the moment, to not think the house has to be cleaned every day, to be OK with taking a nap in the middle of the day.  Sometimes, there really isn’t anywhere or anything that we should be doing. It’s a hard feeling to accept, as we are bred to always be looking to the next thing that needs to be done…but if we are always too busy getting ready to live, we might be missing out on actually living.”

Source: Home: Simple Life: “Too Busy Getting Ready To Live, But Never Living.”

So until tomorrow…

*Just got this picture from Mollie…I think our gal, Eloise, is telling her Boo Boo  that I can simplify all I want…but she still wants two fingers to suck on and  two poodles to cuddle with. 🙂

P.S. It is 2:45, a thunderstorm has just rolled through dropping the temperatures to the cool mid-seventies; the ceiling fans are on…the skies are overcast and guess what…I am going to take a nap….I am finally free to take a nap and not feel one iota of guilt…(well maybe half an “iota” …but I will get over it! 🙂

I had lunch with my niece, Bekah, today. She had just come back from Sires Elementary School where her daughter Ady attends. For their annual school fundraiser the children ran laps while adults got to “spray paint” them as they went around. Lots of fun and for a good cause.  Ady was loving it.

* Some of you might have seen this on the news last night but every time I see a story like the one I saw…it renews my spirit in the American Dream. It is still alive…harder to find…but still alive.

(ABC Nightly News)

A Philadelphia teen by the name of Richard Jenkins used to sleep in a homeless shelter and was nicknamed “Harvard” by bullies for being a bookworm. Now he is going to the same Ivy League School, as his taunts, on a full scholarship.

“I view it as like, a symbol that hard work does pay off, and also that faith pays off as well because I had faith in myself that I could do something like this, just not that I could go to Harvard but that life would work out for me… things would get better,” said Richard “Tre” Jenkins.

After being homeless from fourth grade to sixth grade and suffering from migraines, Jenkins said he had a realization.

“I was walking home with friends, and he [Jenkins’ friend] knows where his house is and pointed to his house, and he’s like ‘Hey, where you live?’, and I lived in a shelter at that time, but my shelter looked like it could’ve been a huge house. I said ‘That’s my place over there,’” said Jenkins.

He said he was “embarrassed” to have to lie about something like that. He says that’s when he decided his life had to change for the better.

Jenkins gives a large part of his academic success to Mighty Writers...an education  non-profit that provides free writing classes to over 3,000 inner-city Philly kids a year. While his friends were playing sports after school and on weekends, he read and learned to write essays which went far into getting him into Harvard…his entrance essay, “The Boy Who Slayed Dragons.” 

For all the Richard Jenkins in the world…

Cause faith will hold you closer
Faith will keep you safer
Faith will take you farther than you dream’

 

 

 

 

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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