Ever since Thoreau planted himself for a time by Walden Pond many of we humans have sought to emulate his search for simplicity in our own lives. Needless to say, few have succeeded. Even in his days of simple living by the water of Concord, MASS the New England of the 1850's was bustling with industrial activity, business opportunity, and the riches of monetary success to the hardiest and craftiest. Henry D. needed to find a simpler, less hectic life and he finally did. Thoreau died about 10 years later, in 1862, as his beloved country was split in two with the infernal bloodshed of civil war. His Aunt Louisa, at his bed side, asked him if he had made his peace with God. In almost his final words he said, "I did not know we had ever quarreled."
Simplicity is an acquired taste. Mankind, left free, instinctively complicates life. Katherine F. Gerould
Simplicity is not something we come to naturally. We look back at the agricultural America of the earlier 20th and 19th centuries and say, "Ah! If only we could live in those more simple days!" But who among us, as my dear old dad used to say, would wish to pee outdoors in -20 again, or chop wood to keep from freezing indoors. Of course, some would. My cousin Richard Devett, pastor to hundreds in rural Union County PA, loves to cut and split his winter's heat supply... with a chain saw and a gas powered splitter.
The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn't simple. Doris Janzen Longacre
We have taken almost two years of time to research the concept of simplifying our lives from a 1,500 square foot home to 400. And that work only really began six months before we finally bought our motor coach. As we began to home in on the style we felt we would be most comfortable in, and could afford over the long haul; a haul which may actually never end till death do us part, much more study time was required. None of our search for simplification has been simple, least of all the painful learning curves of crashes, broken water lines, levelers, etc. The result, Mona and I agree, is so far very rewarding. But the effort to get to where we are today, a week from our departure date, is what, I believe, keeps many from simplifying at all.The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. Hans Hofmann
There is no one set of 'Necessary'. John Wesley, the founder of my chosen faith tribe once said, as I paraphrase, "In essentials unity, and in non-essentials discussion". And then fought a half life battle with a dear friend, George Whitefield, over Calvinism (predestination) versus Armenianism (Free Will). It's amazing that either of them ever had time to start a new church. God will make a way, in spite of His pastors.
I find that as you get older, you start to simplify things in general. George Clooney
Age does seem to clarify the need for simplification. Some forty years ago a dear elder woman, who owned a lovely rancher on Blossom Hill, overlooking Lancaster City, PA, was caught from behind by a Lancaster Newspaper photographer as she sat in an old kitchen chair in her front yard watching fireman play streams of water on what was left of her home. All of her personal possessions and at least a million in 1970 dollars worth of rare and lovely antiques collected by she and her husband for all of their 60 years was ash and smoke. Asked by the photographer the ever present press question of those immersed in tragedy, "how does it feel..." she answered something like, "Peaceful. I don't have to worry about any of it anymore." Note: I believe she was also well insured.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Leonardo da Vinci
Ah, Leonardo, you've hit the nail squarely upon its noggin! I spent much of my formative decades believing that sophistication was all about the 'right' clothes, car, school, job, social club, etc. What I've learned is that the person with the most money, who can buy all the 'right' stuff is often the least sophisticated of all. In 1983 Eric Hoffer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for writing ten books on life as he understood it. True Believer and Ordeal of Change are considered his best. Self educated and, sadly, a self proclaimed atheist till he died, he refused to allow anyone to call him an intellectual. "I'm a longshoreman." he would declare. And so he was, on the Embarcadero of San Francisco. He thought as he worked, and wrote his thoughts in simplicity so that he could think simply on the job. That's sophistication at its best.
Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough. Charles Warner
Mona and I have owned stuff. Still have the basement of our coach fairly stuffed. At one time a much more of it. I had purchased what ended up being over 4,000 Beta and then VHS tapes on which I recorded religiously every TV show and movie I enjoyed from the end of the seventies through the beginning of the 90's. "For posterity", as my dear old dad would have said. I kept them too long after the advent of the DVD though. The Beta versions went to trash and the VHS sold at 50 cents per by the time I realized my hobby, while interesting to make, was a waste as a collection of anything but recyclable plastic. I laugh today every time I rent a DVD from Redbox for $1.20 or stream it live from Netflix, in unlimited quantity, for under $10.00 a month.
Our Alpine motor coach, QUO, has so many thousands of electrical, hydraulic, pipe, wire, tubing and hose connections, PLUS the entire drive train, that I cannot be surprised anymore when something needs repaired or I need to learn a new procedure for using it so I don't break it again.
But with all of this 'baggage', we are far from living burdened, and we are being blessed by it. We walk a couple of steps from bed to refrigerator to Surround Sound TV and any man worth his salt cannot argue with that kind of simplicity!
Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion. The Talmud
The Holy Bible is full of such advice and I have taught, preached, and believed it all of my true adult life (from age 26 on). Perhaps now, after all these years, Mona and I will successfully live it. We will be receiving less income in our retirement than we have earned since I was made a buyer of Craft Supplies for Stauffer's of Kissel Hill's original four stores in Lancaster County, PA (as figured at inflation adjusted dollars). We will be living in the smallest quarters we have ever lived in since renting our 1 1/2 room honeymoon apartment in Cape May, NJ in 1969. But we will be living our lives on wheels, with a 400 horse Cummins diesel to push them, and, we think, sufficient funds to pay our way annually with a bit to spare, and enough to TITHE back to God. Who cannot rejoice when freedom of travel beckons, and your portion is enough to cover the fuel?!
That's SIMPLY wonderful
PS: For those following our adventures, mis or otherwise, regularly:
-We have had to order four new HWH levelers from the plant in Iowa. They are coming east via UPS with an expected arrival date of Tuesday next. I didn't think UPS would deliver 400 lbs. of freight like this. I don't think Mona wants to know what the cost of our 3 day shipment guarantee will be.
-Tom Riggs of Tom's TV in Baumstown has completely reworked the audio/video system of the coach so everything works satisfactorily and he even installed a switch to shut off the rather noisy cooling fans above the cab control section when the weather doesn't require them. And his re-decor of the in house TV cabinet surrounds is... simply sophisticated!
-But then, to remind both of us that life in an RV, as in a marriage and a brick and mortar house, is always in need of proper maintenance, Just a minute ago I heard Mona entering the screen door, followed by a metallic clatter, a long silence ensued and I found her with the 'look' below. Fortunately a SIMPLE Allen Wrench was all that was needed to reattach the door handle, but for a moment we both thought, simultaneously, "Just what will this simple life really cost?"
The answer... always ENOUGH. :)