A Preference for Simplicity

This morning, my friend Doug posted an article on Facebook--it was intended for our mutual friend Esther, a native of the Netherlands, who just returned from spending a month there. The article, "The Dutch Way: Bicycles and Fresh Bread," discusses differences between American and Dutch culture, emphasizing how respect for bicycles and bicyclists are inherent in such everyday practices as how one opens a car door (by reaching across the body with one's right hand, which also allows the driver to look behind before opening the door).

The article uses the phrase in my title, "a preference for simplicity," to point out the deeply embedded cultural differences between the U.S. and the Netherlands. It made me ponder what my life would look like if I tried to shift my everyday practices towards simplicity. Since the article uses food and transportation as its basis, these are also the areas of my life that I'm considering. In the area of food, I tend not to cook--I buy a lot of prepared foods which involve too much packaging. This is an area in which even a little change would have a lot of impact. Right now, I'm cooking more because I have more time--so I need to think about how I can continue this practice when my life gets more stressful. I do have an herb garden and some sorrel growing in pots in my backyard--and there are plans in the works to get some raised beds in my yard.

As for transportation, although I don't even have a bike anymore, I think I do okay with this. In fact, I blogged about this same issue a few years ago and have made some changes in my life. I drive a Prius, I tend to run errands in groups (i.e., go to the grocery store after my gym workout and group my visits to one geographical location), I try to work at home when I can, I'm one of the few people in Fresno who walks from one store to the next in the outdoor malls instead of driving, and I really like walking when I can. I'm sure there are still small improvements I could make, though. I'm going to have to think about that--and about what other areas of my life could be shifted towards simplicity.

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