Monday, June 26, 2017

The simple life

"It is clear that life does not get simpler. I learn it over and over, always with the same reluctance and regret. The notion that life could somehow be simplified has been powerful with me. I still yearn toward it."
--Wendell Berry, in Distant Neighbors: The Selected Letters of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder, ed. by Chad Wriglesworth

Me, too, Mr. Berry. I have been trying to simplify my life for a decade.

I suppose I have made progress. I have cut back on my commitments, decluttered a couple of rooms in my living space. But I still yearn toward it.

So do a lot of other people. There are entire books and magazines devoted to the idea of simplicity.

A certain amount of complication is necessary, even fun. Trying new things and going new places means uncertainty and adventure, and in my experience, that's not simple. Those are the welcome complications. My biggest difficulty is embracing, or even just tolerating, the dreaded complications: the delays, breakages, failures, etc.

Maybe I wouldn't even want a truly simple life if I had it. But I keep reaching for it anyway.

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