Simplicity is an elusive thing. I look for it, day after day, in my home, in my town, in my country, in the media, in my friends’ eyes as we discuss life, on Facebook, in the day-to-day rush of teaching, feeding, cleaning up after, and loving on four kids in this home of mine… but simplicity keeps its distance. I talk about living a simple life all the time. I aspire to it. But, night after night, the uncomfortable thought blossoms in my brain that today has been just as complex as any other day of my life.
I’m a stay-at-home mom, a homeschooling mom. I’m a writer. An introvert. I dislike shopping, so I save my big outings for times I really need something. I can’t say I have much on my schedule, really, at least not as much as many other people I know who not only juggle family and home but also work and have extensive social lives. So why do I always feel so busy? So why do I always feel so overwhelmed?
Every decade has its buzz words and the buzz words of the 2010s seem to be RUSH, STUFF, and ME. I think the culture of this decade is seeping into my life. No matter how hard I try to resist, the negative values of this culture bleed over into my life and my kids’ lives, although I in no way overtly invited them. And it takes a real test of character and a decisive and controlling iron fist to say NO to mind viruses trying to infect me.
Thinking back, I can see what I’ve been doing. I escaped to Belize for six months to get away from said culture. I pulled my kids from the traditional schooling system to escape said culture. I stopped any kind of shopping therapy to escape said culture. I even have dreams of one day owning a farm in the country to escape said culture.
I look around at the hustle, the hassles, the stress, and the worries. I look at the people standing in lines, all staring numbly down at their iPhones and feverishly pressing the little buttons. I hear people talking about all they have to do for their kids’ sports and activities. I watch the rushing traffic and the piled-high shopping carts rushing by me. I listen to people talking about themselves, about their lives, about what is wrong in their lives (even though their lives are among the best on the planet). And, the worst part, even as I observe, I do these things myself.
And I wonder: Am I the only one with the doubts that this is working well? Am I the only one worried about the world in which my kids are growing up? Should I take a chill pill and calm down, believing that things will get better, that people will come around, that the government will protect us, that the earth will heal itself, that we’re not being duped by big business, that the poor have a chance to succeed every bit as much as the rich, that the old ways that were good and honorable and made sense are not gone forever, but only transforming into a hybridized version? Should I simplify my life by not worrying about all of this? Am I called to believe that it will all turn out okay?