31 Days of Finding Freedom in Simplicity - Encouragement Going Forward

It has been an eventful few days here at Townsend House.  I expected to have my final 31 Days posts up on the actual days in October, however, life has a way of changing things.

We had a bit of a power outage here for the past few days.

It was definitely unexpected to have hurricane force winds come through our part of the country, and lose power for 3 days, but honestly, it was kind of nice to lose power for a few days at the end of this series.  It put a lot of things in perspective for me, thus you are receiving a bit of a different conclusion than what I had originally planned.

It gave me quite a bit of time to reflect, to slow down and to focus on the bare essentials.  Making sure that our basic needs were met, making sure all the kids wore enough clothes so they would be too cold in our 55 degree house. 

The reflection was the most significant though.  Our days slowed way down.

We had no commitments because most places didn’t have power.  There was no TV or internet, so the kids (and I) didn’t have screen time.  I did have access to the internet through my phone, but my main concern was trying to find out when power would be restored, not following the news or what one of my Facebook friends was doing. 

It was nice.

It was something that was needed.

Something I have been thinking about for a long time.

To just unplug for a while.

What were some of the things that I did during our forced sabbatical from the digital world, and the busyness of the normal day to day activities?  Well, there was a different sort of busyness.  Making sure I had boiled water so that I could do the dishes, and make sure everyone was clean.  Figuring out creative ways to make meals, and realizing that I need to make sure that I have some sort of way to make coffee with cream when we have no power.

I spent a lot of time reading.  The kids each read a couple of books.  They played together.  The older two started NaNoWriMo on paper, filled with fun ideas.  I pulled out my knitting (partly because working with wool helps keep my hands warm!), and remember how much I miss doing this in my daily life.

It made me consider what mattered most.  What were the things that I could let fall to the wayside, and what were the things that I wanted to make sure I did if I possibly could.  Things like my morning quiet time, still up before the sun, but instead of writing by lamp light, I was writing by candlelight.  Taking the time to sit and drink my coffee.  Talking to my kids.  Reading to my kids. 

Now, these are things we all do most days, but looking at them in a new light was interesting.  I wasn’t concerned with making sure we got x, y, and z done so we could move to the next item on our list.  Instead, we were able to sit back and enjoy the time together more.  Perhaps because we all were cold and wanted to stay under the blankets for a little bit longer, or maybe having that forced respite from social media and all the other outside requirements, we were able to enjoy the small moments more, not thinking about what was next.

So what is next?

Well, we have power back, and obviously I am posting to my blog, so we haven’t completely given up the internet.  But, I think that I personally need to be more aware of my time, and make sure that my kids are as well.  It is amazing how resilient they are.  They are able to move ahead and adjust. 

Do we need to adjust?  Do we need to make decisions that are less about keeping up with everything around us, and instead more centrally focused on our small families and communities around us?

It is amazing what happens when your world suddenly becomes so much smaller because of the lack of social media and the internet.  It reminds me of how my childhood was; less about the stress and big world problems, and more about community, and making connections locally.

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I’m not saying that we should ignore the big world problems – because there are many, and they are stressful – but what if we were all trying to make our local communities a little bit better.  What if we start there, and see what kind of change that can make.

It is about remembering and clinging to those small moments, those small accomplishments working towards your goals, making those small connections with your kids that they will remember into adulthood rather than the newest present at Christmas that lays forgotten by the end of January.

Finding real freedom in simplicity means enjoying those small things that we often give no time to, and making sure we make the time for those small moments. 

When your kids ask you to read them one more story, when you teach them a new skill, when you take the time to read and have time for self-care in the evening instead of rushing out to do more errands.

We all can let that weight go.  You don’t have to feel like you are drowning, that you aren’t sure what is next, and you don’t know the steps you need to take.  In the words of Elsa, you can let it go.

What do you need to let go of in order to find that inner peace and tranquility that you and your family desire?

Find the entire 31 Days of Finding Freedom in Simplicity series here.

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