The Simple Life

The simple life…

“The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.”

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

So many people dream of a simple life, or at least that’s what they say. In fact I haven’t met a person yet who doesn’t seem to have this sense of nostalgia for the good old days when life was simple and beautiful, even if they never actually witnessed those days.

But in most people’s cases it’s just talk… They finish the passionate discussion and then they go back to their ever-so-complicated lives, doing their inexplicable detailed jobs, piling up ever more gadgets that are supposed to simplify their lives by complicating them even more, building more stress upon stress from their fast paced lives.

If we just think about it a little bit, we’d see that if a person really wanted to, a switch to a really simple life would be pretty easy. Moving to some place out of the city, and nearer to the country-side, brings a lot of advantages with it: cheaper property prices/rent, cleaner air, calmer environs, beautiful relaxing scenery…etc. And it’s pretty easy to find a good place and move there.
Now for work, it depends what a person is more inclined to do, and what they enjoy the most, it could be fishing, farming, carpentry, or any other activity; they could open up a small shop/atelier for their work in their garage or rent a small place in the town center.
I could go on with more details, but my point is that it’s possible and easy to make such a move if a person really wanted to.

But why don’t we see much people making such moves?
Is it that all the talk about how they would love a simple life and how life was much more beautiful in the old days is nothing but just that: talk?
Or is it that they’ve gotten too used to their hectic everyday lifestyles they don’t think they’ll be able to live a simpler life away from all the rotating bits and pieces around them?
Is it that they feel like the simple life is too hard for them and that they wouldn’t be able to make a living leading a simple life and going back to the basics?
Is it that they have higher standards of living in mind now that living in the country-side wouldn’t give them?

I think it’s a combination of all the above and more, with the complex paradoxal human psyche playing a role in it, having contradictory inclinations towards both sides of the spectrum: the simple basic life and the hectic complicated counterpart; wanting one without having to give up on the other.

I too am guilty of the same contradiction; I believe that simple is beautiful, and that it’s the simpler, more basic things in life that really count and make a life worth living, but I’m still too involved with life in the city and all that revolves around it to disengage and move away. Eventually, one day, I hope I will get to take such a step, but I like to believe that for the time being I still have some personally set objectives to realize in the hectic sphere we live in, and that once I’m done with them, I’ll be free to disappear into a calm relaxed life away from all the hustle and bustle of the city.

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Mohamed Marwen Meddah is a web development director, amateur photographer and web enthusiast from Tunisia, currently living in Canada.

One thought on “The Simple Life”

  1. No matter how much we long for a simpler life, we often fall into a web of duty and filial obligation that only the income from a complex and hectic life can provide. But we can dream. 🙂

    Then there are those who’d find such a simple existence absurd, who compete to pile up money and stuff, as though whoever dies with most toys, wins. Apparently they’re a constant throughout human history. In 700 BCE, the father of didactic poetry, Hesiod, said of them:

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