It’s National Simplicity Day, in honor of Henry David Thoreau’s birthday—perhaps the original minimalist.
I wasn’t previously aware of the holiday, but it’s resonating with me in this season of life, as our family and household struggles to find balance across summertime, sparse childcare, a new business, additional jobs, reconnecting with friends and family after two years of limited travel; it’s a lot. And I say this from a place of substantial privilege.
Regardless of where life circumstances stand, many of us seem to be juggling too much. And in that, it is so easy to lose sight of the simple joys, and the simple ways to find them.
I didn’t realize how wrapped up we had become in planning things and overpacking schedules and hustle until Reese and I sat down a few weeks ago to draft our traditional Summer Bucket List. I was brainstorming items to add when she stopped me and said: “Mom, this is supposed to be fun, and we’re turning it into more work. What if we don’t do a Bucket List this summer? What if we just have fun when we feel like it?”
Reader, I was stopped in my tracks. She was right, as she so often is, and I was taken aback by something I hadn’t even realized was happening. What started a few years ago as a means to protect space for joy had devolved into another task list.
Kids are much better equipped than we adults are at being present and celebrating simple joys. They apply fewer false labels of morality to their decisions, which is beautifully liberating in the way that childhood can be. Children are makers of spontaneous fun.
I love the practice of holding space to seize moments of joy when they present themselves. And one of the better ways to do that is to start saying no to things that don’t spark joy for you. You do not owe everyone your time. You do not owe traditions the sake of keeping if they no longer serve you. You do not need to plan every minute of your day. Perhaps, like me, you just need to change the lens through which you’ve been seeing the day.
Here are a few simple joys from my past few days that I took a moment to consciously notice. And here are a few Simple Summer Joy suggestions from Reese. I doubt any of these would have made our traditional Summer Bucket List, and I am grateful for each one. We would love to hear some of yours.
Patricia’s Simple Joys
- Reading in the hammock (coincidentally, a fantastic book on doing less: How To Keep House While Drowning)
- Finding a hidden container of baby frogs and flowers and twigs that the kids had caught for pets (safely returned to the wild)
- Going for a sunrise walk to start Monday
- Finding a new (to me) fantastic coffee shop
- Watching a bedtime episode of The Babysitters Club with the kids (snuggled up in bed)
- Noticing that my coffee this morning was extra smooth and delicious today
- Meditating outside before my family was awake
- Writing out The No List (it’s like a reverse to do list, and it feels amazing!)
Reese’s Simple Joys
- Go to the library as often as you can
- Go swimming
- Eat popcorn for dinner
- Draw something
- Make popsicles
- Listen to your favorite music
- Schedule play dates with friends
- Watch a good show with someone you love
#NationalSimplicityDay #SimplicityDay #TheSimpleLife #Minimalism #MinimalismLifestyle