June 4, 2023

Why I choose to live a simple life

Many of us have this idyllic dream of living in the countryside and being self-sufficient, but for most of us that is not achievable.  I know that even if I won the lottery now that I would be too old to sustain that life any more, as it is hard work.  That does not mean that I can not still live a simple life, and that is what I have tried to do for over 8 years.

Yes, I do grow my own food as I want to eat organically and it saves me money, but that isn’t really what simple life is all about.  Simple living is about getting rid of all the things in your life that are no longer essential, and concentrating on the things that are the most important to you.  This isn’t just material possessions.  It is hard as it totally goes against consumerism and all the values that we have been taught in school, and have probably lived by for most of our lives.   It is a mindset and a way of life, and you become very selective about who and what you allow into your world.  This gives you space to be who you want to be, or who you really are.

Living intentionally and rejecting the competitive culture is not the norm, and many do not understand it.  My mother was mortified when I gave up my good job and started living this way to improve my health.  She thought it meant that I was a failure.  In contrast I feel like a winner as I feel like I have beaten the system, as living simply has made me more independent and self-reliant, and I don’t want the things that society dangles and tries to entice me with anymore.  I have stopped being money or status orientated. I am not in competition with any one, and that feels so good.

I no longer feel overwhelmed and stressed as I did when I was part of the rat race.  I choose how I want to spend my day, and can change my plans if I feel like it.  I also don’t have to mix with toxic people who gossip and stab each other in the back as they either want status themselves, or are jealous, or unhappy in their own lives. I am selective who I let into my life and only allow kind people into my personal space.

I get to spend so much time in nature and now feel more like our ancestors must have done.  I am understanding mother nature more, can tell by the smell on the wind if it is going to rain, recognise the seasons, recognise the plants and food that are good for me, and don’t need a watch to tell what time it is. I can breathe easily and deeply. I feel whole and like I am ‘home’ when I am actually outside.

I am so much happier, and I definitely needed to be.  I don’t think I really knew what happiness was before.  I also feel in control of my own life and so have to take responsibility myself if things go wrong, and I can’t blame anyone else.  I love that feeling of independence.  I am healthier, both mentally and physically.  Stress has a massive impact on every part of our body, and not just the mind.  It literally nearly killed me.  I feel younger now than I did when I was 48.  I forget sometimes that I am in my sixties, until my aching body reminds me later.

I always had to feel in control before I retired, but living simply is helping me to let go, and not be attached to the outcomes that I think that I want.  I am more flexible and therefore I find I have more opportunities as I am more open to changes in plans, and seeing what happens, rather than forcing things to happen.  I used to be so anxious if plans were changed at the last minute, or if someone turned up late, or if someone surprised me, even if it was a good surprise.  It has taken a while, but that is slowly changing.

I am more grateful now and jealously barely lingers.  I might wish I was on a beach like some one that I know is, but it is a passing thought that does not impact my feelings, and I will feel glad that they have that opportunity.  I can remember in my past watching people and wishing that my life was different, and I could swap with the people that I could see.  Now I know that we don’t know what is happening in other people’s lives, and that they are not often what they seem like on the surface. I am building my life to be one that I don’t wish to change.  It is not perfect, but it is up to me to make it one that I want to hang around in.  A good life doesn’t just happen, we have to work at it and be aware of how we respond to it.

I feel like I have got more to give now as I am no longer in survival mode.  I am actually thriving, though many will think that I am poorer and my life is going backwards.  It is not, as I keep growing, learning new skills, and changing so that I am not stagnant and stuck.  I have to show up each day and make it the best I can, for I do not know if this will be my last.  I have learned to listen to my heart rather than listen to the opinions of other people.  Impressing other people does not lead to happiness inside.  I learned that lesson the hard way.

Living simply has helped me find my authentic self again.  I remember who I am and what I stand for and I won’t be compromised.  I won’t be a watered-down version of myself any more.  I am no longer a frustrated, angry version of myself and I won’t be bent to fit in one of society’s boxes.  I am awake.  I can see the corruption.  I can anticipate the games and the dialogue used to influence our thoughts, and corral us all into behaving in a way that profits some, and controls others.  Living simply has allowed me to step away from this, as much as is possible, and make decisions based on what is best for me, rather than what is best for our constructed society.  My life now has purpose and meaning based on the things that are important to my values, which is basically why I chose to live this simple life.  What are your reasons for wanting to simplify your lives?


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  1. Sarahmarie Steer-thorpe June 4, 2023 at 9:16 am - Reply

    I’m a married homeschooler mother of 5, we live simply and as frugally as we can not only through necessity but through choice. We don’t have any family members or external help as both my parents passed in 2015. We love being outside in the woods nearby or a gorgeous picnic on the beach, enjoying what nature has created. We teach our children how to sew, to garden and woodwork along with all the traditional school subjects. We have an amazing life together and we wouldn’t swap it for all the money in the world

    • ToniG June 4, 2023 at 12:52 pm - Reply

      Brilliant. I am so pleased for you. I wish I had done this when I was younger but I was sucked in by the system. Your children are very lucky. x

  2. Pauline Mackay-Danton June 4, 2023 at 9:23 am - Reply

    I am moved to tears by this. ‘I won’t be a watered down version of myself anymore’ is what I need to hear and make a mantra of my own. There is so much here in your writing that helps me see myself and heal myself. Thank you so much 🙂

    • ToniG June 4, 2023 at 12:49 pm - Reply

      Aww bless you. I do think that this realisation comes to a lot of us as we age. Sometimes we just need to have a nudge from some one, and I am so glad that I was able to do that for you. Sending hugs x

      • Pauline Mackay-Danton June 4, 2023 at 3:56 pm - Reply

        I am glad too, Toni. Hugs back x

  3. Lynda June 4, 2023 at 9:36 am - Reply

    So, so true, I took early retirement as the negative, toxic vibes were literally killing me. I love my life now, we survive on pensions from hubbies jobs and have a wonderful place in France that we are slowly renovating, when in the UK we live on a narrowboat on an old canal arm. Simple really is better x

    • ToniG June 4, 2023 at 12:48 pm - Reply

      Oh wow fantastic. I am so pleased for you, that sounds like a lovely life. Yes it definitely is. I think that there are so many people in jobs that are literally killing them, unfortunately, and so many feel trapped. I believe there is always a way out. You just have to think outside of the box, not be afraid and believe that it will all be ok x

  4. Lynda J June 4, 2023 at 9:59 am - Reply

    I agree totally with every single thing you have written. This is a very difficult choice to make, “society” in the form of friends, acquaintances, employers, manufacturers, the government etc all fight against this concept. You have to forge your own path. I see my own daughter and son-in-law, both in very well paid but high pressure jobs, struggling with anxiety, panic attacks and depression. They live up to their incomes and yet chase their tails trying to find happiness from spending money.
    For various reasons we can’t follow this path as rigorously as you do but we don’t embrace the whole concept of consumerism like we used to do and are much much happier for it.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • ToniG June 4, 2023 at 12:44 pm - Reply

      I am glad that you are finding happiness, and like you are worry about my children too. I don’t have much choice about the path I have taken as it is what I needed to do financially and for my mental health but I believe even a few small tweaks towards a simpler life can benefit people. Thanks x

  5. Lynne E Alexander June 4, 2023 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Toni, that is so perfectly put and I’m one hundred percent with you…my new ‘anarchic’ self at this later stage of my life, has completely changed my perspective and values. The authentic me, how I always felt it really was, was still deep inside.
    I’ve let it out! No going back!
    Although now rather impaired due to a very serious spinal op in December, which has left me so weak, no transport (in rural highlands) and no income apart from state pension…but I will battle to get back into life as I’m youthful in every other way and have much to do!
    I love your daily posts and website. Down with the system! ✌️
    Thank you for that.
    Very best to you both…Lynne

    • ToniG June 4, 2023 at 12:38 pm - Reply

      Absolutely. I have to keep it none political on FB but I am definitely becoming more of a rebel in my later years! Thank you x

  6. Sasha Longworth June 4, 2023 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    I also live a simpler life now…I’ve always bought second hand stuff etc but the last 7 years I have gradually changed my choices to more planet focussed, and living frugally/simply is more in line with who I am. Unfortunately some of my old school friends are still all about spending money, beauty treatments etc and I can’t identify with that. People are quick to judge when you don’t fit the old you… It says more about them… Living your authentic self leads to contentment…and yes some people struggle with that! A great post Toni..x

    • ToniG June 4, 2023 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      Thank you. Yes I have become more conscious about our impact on the plant as well. I think that it naturally happens as your life becomes more simple. I have lost loads of friends as well as my life is too different, but that is fine as I am gradually finding my own tribe. I am glad that you have found your authentic self as well x

  7. Georgie Peters June 4, 2023 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    Giving up work was the best thing we ever did, starting sometimes at 06:00 and working many a night ’till midnight and beyond, being at the beck and call of others, always striving to reach targets it was soul destroying, we were Publicans and although hubby enjoyed most of the job l grew to hate it. We struggled at first, rented a house that took most of our pension but eventually managed after a time to rent our lovely HA bungalow at half the rent of the bigger house, it took a few years to settle but we are totally debt free, l work to a strict budget which has led to a nice savings account and we can afford to go away and do things without worrying about the cost any more, l enjoy sitting in my Yarden, we bought a hot tub just before lockdown and now it’s like being constantly on holiday, sunshine, water and flowers, just me and hubby 99% of the time, pottering around, life is simple, life is good.

  8. Karan Fowler June 4, 2023 at 5:13 pm - Reply

    A great read Toni, simple/frugal is different for many people, for me it is more to do with the planet and my own mental health and simple for me means no stress, I’m so glad I have found my tribe, thank you

  9. Keris June 4, 2023 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    I agree with every word you say and live my life too as simply as possible. Embracing nature, peace, walking my dog, reading, eating simple healthy food, only buying what I need and treading as lightly as possible on this beautiful planet. My rebellious streak comes in the form of refusing to support companies like Amazon, and instead supporting small independent businesses. Thank you for this group. I love reading everyone’s stories.

    • ToniG June 5, 2023 at 5:02 am - Reply

      Brilliant. I am glad that you are enjoying the FB group. We certainly have a lovely bunch of people there. Thanks for sharing x

  10. Patricia R June 5, 2023 at 7:16 am - Reply

    This really rings a bell with me Toni, over the years I have I think , lived through some similar times and experiences that you have . An extremely tough stressful job with long hours and a toxic atmosphere but I had to stay ( or I thought I did ) because of our financial situation .
    Also personal living arrangements weren’t always the best either .
    In my late 40s I changed that, left the person & job that caused me the most stress in my life and began a new one.
    My journey to a simple peaceful life has been long and I’m not finished yet. I have over the years realised that most people dont understand the way we want to live, they cannot imagine /or dare not imagine a life without the need to buy/have huge amounts of material possessions, with out credit cards & overdrafts and the daily hamster wheel of life that they need to pay for it all.
    The last two years has been really tough emotionally through a terrible bereavement and I have found that withdrawing further into our simple life has helped us through and helps us find peace at the worst moments , spending time in nature and our garden, working & growing our veggies not having to worry about money because we are frugal takes off so much strain .
    We work on the “ enough “ principal . We dont need any more than enough, I have enough to pay my rent n bills, I grow enough food to feed us , enough is enough for us … never striving for more …

  11. Eve June 5, 2023 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Toni, I have read many blogs over the years on living simply and why people choose this life.Also why many more are finally finding this path.I must say this is the best description I have ever read. You have explained your reasons beautifully. You sum up perfectly what it means to live a simple life that no other person has done so for me. I love your sentence ” I feel whole and like I am “home” when I am actually outside “. I shall be saving this post and regularly re-reading it. Thank you so much.

  12. Clare Lamberti June 5, 2023 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    I love this article Toni, I can certainly relate . I am most happy pottering in the garden or making things ( crafts , candles , creams , jam, soap ). I love the forest too, the sea . I used to post on fb what I’d been doing but suddenly thought it’s like a competition who’s doing what and I don’t like peoples comments at times so I stopped and I feel much better for it , the friends who know me and see me ,so know what I’ve been doing . Everyone else is just nosey and competing and judging .

    • ToniG June 12, 2023 at 3:58 pm - Reply

      Yes I don’t post on my profile much any more. I need to learn to make creams. It sounds like you have some great skills. I am sorry I have just seen your comment as they are usually highlighted for me to answer, but this one wasn’t. I have found that a lot of people have related to this post. I just wrote it off the top of my head. Sometimes those kind of posts are the best. Thanks for commenting x

  13. Katie Naden June 11, 2023 at 9:25 am - Reply

    I love reading your story & how driven you are to share all you have learnt . Thank you I am so grateful .
    My journey to today came from hitting the wall in my career I don’t tend to look back but thinking about it I was probably dealing with the effects of post menopause . So struggled as I still do with pressures .
    Life sends you in the directions you need to go I believe .
    My plans each day take a similar direction I am grateful I can be there to help my family with time & some skills bringing twins up looking after my brother having a full time senior career in social care meant at times I had to put my career first .
    Now I don’t feel guilty about the past I celebrate that those choices helped me have a small personal pension to pay for this early retirement & be able to help the people I love . Your daily support is like a friend dropping I’ve always been different happy to reuse & but second hand now I feel proud to be the person I have become & don’t care about others . Thank you for being the authentic person you are & a special mentor . X

    • ToniG June 11, 2023 at 12:13 pm - Reply

      Aww that is lovely, thank you. I learn from you too and think of you as a friend now. Your journey is similar to mine and I too love that I have the time to put my family first now x

  14. Jane Cartmale July 4, 2023 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    I only came across your blog tonight and it’s so refreshing to be reading about a life similar to my own! I live a frugal and simple life, like you I was a single mum bringing three girls up and it was difficult in a low paid job, mortgage, debt and trying to hide money worries from everyone, but I managed it mainly helped by my eldest daughter who has more common sense than me! Anyway I’m now all things frugal and simple I have a comfortable life on my state pension and a bit of pension credit, although some people wouldn’t say it was ‘comfortable’ lol. But I’ve found my home and never been happier or more settled into myself. Jane

    • ToniG July 5, 2023 at 5:48 pm - Reply

      It is hard bringing children up by yourself, and if you are like me you put them first and missed out on things yourself, like a social life. It made us resilient, though. I had a sensible oldest child as well and it helped a lot. I am so glad Jane that you are settled and happy and are enjoying a comfortable life through your frugal habits. Thanks for sharing and commenting x

  15. Karen July 23, 2023 at 5:18 am - Reply

    Hi Toni,thank you for such a beautiful post,I want to make my life more simple ,I live alone I cared for both parents until they passed away ,then I lost my brother also,I then started working nights for a few years which has taken its toll on me,iv recently changed jobs on days five days a week,it’s a nice job but think I need to cut out one day a week,as a just don’t seem to have time to myself I need I feel like I’m on a merry go round,I have two dogs which I love to walk and spend time with ,my garden is neglected at the minute ,I iv got to stage in life time is so precious,I have to work but want to keep it to what’s necessary

    • ToniG July 23, 2023 at 10:26 am - Reply

      Hi Karen. I think that a lot of us get to that stage as we get older. I am glad that you managed to get a day job as shifts can play havoc with your health. Have you done a budget so that you can see if you can reduce your outgoing so that you can drop a day a week? it is amazing how little money you can live on and how you don’t miss things that you once thought that you could not live without. I hope that you get to find a way to drop a day and thanks for commenting x

  16. Karen price July 23, 2023 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    Hi Toni yes iv done a budget,it will be a little tight but have option of extra hours on a as And when,I don’t have rent or mortgage so that’s a good plus,,I don’ drive I was paying for taxis in previous employment so that’s a plus as well,I live a fairly simple life but always room to improve,I’m very much enjoying reading your posts to give me ideas

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