simplicity doesn’t necessarily mean simple

I started with the best of intentions. I’d bet that most people do.

The idea was to spend the morning working and the afternoon in reflection about simplicity. I need a place to start on this journey and I want to get cracking. I thought I would be in bed by 8:30 and rise the next morning with a clear head and an understanding of which foot was the best to put forward.

But it doesn’t work like that, does it?

While finishing off an article, I took a frantic phone call from my assistant (who should be relaxing on the beach somewhere). Her brother has been dog sitting for our mutual bestie. Something had happened to one of the four (yes, believe it) Dobermans on the property. The brother wasn’t sure what needed to happen.

The something was that one of the dogs had unexpectedly passed away while the brother was out for the morning. And, the solution involved transporting him to the vet.

Yes. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. Nor would I try. It’s not easy to call your best friend to tell her that one of her pets has passed away on the very last day of her holiday.

So, my afternoon didn’t go as planned. I did try to make a space to think while soaking in the bathtub that evening. But, I hardly achieved the clarity I thought I would.

The next day, I was no closer to a starting point.

I was, however, filled with an unmistakable urge to complete the quilt I had started 18 months ago. I’m being kind to myself with that statement. Started is misleading. I suppose it’s true, but it feels like a big stretch. I had cut a few squares (from the pre-cut pack) into smaller squares and had stitched a few of them together by hand while nursing some notion about hand-crafted home goods.

That’s what I did yesterday… I completed the front of that quilt. I didn’t do it by hand, mind you. I pulled out the machine along with the iron and got practical about it.

Then, the bestie and the Swedes arrived for a braai, bringing plenty of wine and a gorgeous piece of fillet, plus potatoes and salad. My focus was on not making a fuss and not trying to make anything perfect as if that is somehow the heart of simplicity. (It might be; I don’t know.)

As I laid out the front pieces for my second quilt, I wondered whether cleaning out all the projects sitting in the back of my mind is the first step to something more simple. I mean, it’s not as if I have a closet bursting with clothes or a basement brimming with unused items. It’s also not as if sewing together the fabric gifted from my sister on the 4th of July last year was unusually high on my to-do list for the last several months.

And then I read this blog post on Practising Simplicity. As it turns out simplicity is more of a process than a state of being. Simplicity isn’t necessarily simple. And that makes finishing old projects perhaps the best place to start a journey towards a simpler life.