29 January 2018

What is simple living?

Maggie May - What is simple living?

Simple living. 

We see this expression time and time again, littered across our social media feeds and splashed across magazine spreads.

A phrase coined by millennials - another word which seems to have upped in usage dramatically recently - I find it hard to understand exactly what it means. It seems to generously encompass a whole realm of definitions, whether it’s a hashtag for a healthy recipe {one which I assume is also simple to make?} or the caption for a clean and tidy snap of a cup of tea on Pinterest {I am definitely guilty of doing this.}

Maggie May - What is simple living?

Type #simpleliving into Instagram and you get nearly half a million hits. Honestly? It’s hard to grasp the common theme of the pictures.

I’ve seen it used to emphasise the beauty of embracing the bare bones of things; stripping away the decoration and the excess, until you’re left with only the core. Think of nature, hand picked flowers, basic interiors, sharp lines, minimalism, and the steam from a black copper kettle, and you might be just about there.

But recently, I started to get an inkling of what this over-used phrase actually means to me.

Maggie May - What is simple living?

Like any humans, Mr MM have been dealt our fair share of anger, heartbreak, injustice and disagreements in our time. Following a recent distressing experience for us both, I found myself explaining to him that I do work hard to keep my mental health in check. This makes it sound as if I don’t have the raw materials needed to be happy, which couldn’t be further from the truth!

But despite having a fiancĂ© and parents who I love beyond belief, a home which I adore, and friends who will be with me for a lifetime, thanks to my Black Dog {who may be currently absent but is never far away}, I feel like I do have to put a lot of effort into keeping on the straight and narrow of good mental health. It’s something I am always aware of, a niggle - and sometimes much more than a niggle - that gives me the drive and focus to look after myself.

My experiences with depression and anxiety have been awful, but maybe they do come with a silver lining. I feel like nowadays, I am more in tune with how I am feeling on a day to day basis, and it has provided me with a real awareness of how I’m doing mentally {Fearne Cotton’s book Happy is excellent for explaining how you go about doing this - I would thoroughly recommend!}

Maggie May - What is simple living?

Sometimes, I’ll notice a sudden feeling of calm. Of complete satisfaction with the way things are, right now. Nothing special needs to have happened - it might be as I’m drying my hair in the morning, or doing the washing up. But it will suddenly settle over me - an assurance that everything is as it should be.

It could be an appreciation for the small things; a bowl of delicious porridge, the fire roaring in the evening, a few minutes reading a novel, going to sleep with Mr MM next to me. Sometimes it’s an appreciation for the bigger things too, but things we normally take for granted; a home, a family, a partner, an income.

It’s difficult to put into words, but at times like these I am, perhaps oddly, often struck with a gratitude that I have this ability to assess how I’m doing, to remind myself of what is most important to me in life, and to remember the uncomplicated joys and little happiness boosters.

For me - that is #simpleliving.

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