To Simplify One’s Life

As I typed a comment to a post on Facebook, the Opera browser went into full screen mode. I was not able to exit the resized display. The palm of a hand or a thumb must have accidentally contacted the touchpad on my Lenovo laptop. I restarted the computer then tried every other technique I could remember. The squirrely touchpad that Lenovo equipped the laptop with, has frustrated me to no end. I suppose I’ll have to reinstall my favorite browser later today. For the moment, I’m using the dreaded Microsoft Edge that I don’t like.

Technology is meant to ease our burdens and simplify our lives. However, too often it complicates and confounds us. This morning’s touchpad incident is a perfect illustration of this problem. The irony is that I was about to begin writing about “Simplify Your Life Day”. This is a worthy unofficial holiday because harmony and simplicity in one’s affairs makes for a more pleasant, effective life. The technological snafu complicated my serene, happy morning in a split second. My agenda for the day became more complicated with a problem that should not exist.

I can complicate my life easily enough without the help of my computer. I make commitments at the drop of a hat. I buy things I don’t need. I tend to overthink. I suppose everyone complicates their own lives in certain ways.

Our society has become so complex that we’re told that we need sophisticated essays and books about how to attain a simple lifestyle. They recommend we take a stroll through the woods in order to clear the mind. When we finally decide to spend more time outdoors, the marketplace discovers our desire via the almighty algorithm and custom places advertising in our Internet feeds for field watches, tactical gear, binoculars, workout computers, special shoes, dedicated clothing, and custom sunglasses.

I remember that back in the day, my dad hiked in the outdoors equipped only with a cheap Timex watch, while dressed in everyday twill slacks, a simple flannel shirt, and standard lace-up oxford shoes. If it was cold and wet, he also wore a regular coat and cap. Dad did not need special technology because he learned basic outdoors survival during his stint in the Army.

Meditation is often suggested as the ultimate way to simplify one’s life. It behooves us to be careful when exploring this cultural practice. We are urged to take special courses, read certain authors, buy specialized paraphernalia, and listen to particular sound effects with music. We are also advised to install apps on our phones to help us meditate more effectively. Many of these things can be helpful if not taken to the extreme.

Meditation and contemplation do not require anything besides our minds and attention. What is simple for the experts might not be simple for you and me and our particular requirements and tastes. Spending time to ponder the Universe and our places in it are personal questions. There are no standardized checklists that fit everyone’s situations.

Many people relax by working on complicated hobbies. My retired friend Charlie loves to service and clean clocks and wristwatches. He says that tearing down, repairing, and reassembling a mechanical watch is relaxing and rewarding for him. Meantime, if I attempted to service a watch, I’d be at my wit’s end. I’d rather create a floral arrangement or assemble a scale model. The times may call for a casual stroll on the city’s hiking path with an inexpensive camera. Sometimes I remember to shoot a few photos along the way.

Simplicity is not necessarily what we might believe it is. Simplicity is not the same as spartan bareness, minimalism, poverty, nor deprivation. Simplicity is finding one’s mental “center” and accepting who one is. Simplicity requires a certain amount of effort and work, but struggle is not part of the equation.

If your life consists mainly of grace and joy, you’re simply living your good life as you see fit.


The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Bonham.
“I’m just a simple guy
I live from day to day
A ray of sunshine melts my frown
And blows my blues away….” (from Led Zeppelin III)

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, cultural highlights, philosophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to To Simplify One’s Life

  1. Jim Wingrove says:

    good 🌞

  2. bloom|time says:

    Love this, especially your dad’s hiking gear. My dad confounded his good friend back in the early 80s by continually beating him at tennis wearing shredded converse and wielding a racket from goodwill. The friend was bedecked in glorious gear.

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