A friend recently wrote about how complicated our lives have gotten and wondered about how we can strip out some of the chaos of our lives and live more simply. I don't know the answer, but I know the question and the discussion have a lot of value. I went camping last weekend - just one night out under the stars watching a meteor shower. It was my first and I was awed like a little girl watching the streaks across the sky. I felt so small and yet so connected in that moment...to the cosmos, to the earth I was lying on and to the people around me, some of whom I knew, some I'd just met and one I was particularly prepared not to like. Well, the meteors didn't make me like said person any better, but maybe they helped me gain a little perspective.
For the overnight camping trip, A and I packed my truck full of many useful and useless things, including air mattresses, a battery operated air pump, games, wine, cups, extra blankets, clean clothes, camp chairs, a camp stove and pans for camp cooking and hot cocoa... I always hate being made fun of for over-packing, but I enjoyed sleeping comfortably and being able to drink a bottle of my favorite wine while seated comfortably at camp. In this instance, it seems that simplicity is having what we need. As I'm looking forward to moving in the next 30 days, simplicity seems the exact opposite as I go through my class notes, files, clothes, dog supplies and other misc to clear out as much clutter as possible before moving.
Another area in which I consider clearing clutter is the Internet. I irregularly read a couple of blogs and nowadays irregularly post here. It suits me and I use this to my own ends. I also have a smattering of email accounts, a craigslist account, an activity site account and, reluctantly, a MySpace account. I do much of my financial work online, I have many expired dating site profiles, and belong to many list servers that send me information that I usually just delete without even opening. I hear about people having accounts on LiveJournal, FaceBook, Friendster, MySpace and many others and how they have to keep up with what everyone is posting. What is that about? I can barely keep up with a few friends in real life let alone a bunch of people posting all day long to various sites.
Of the 2 blogs (down from 3, but more on that later) that I regularly tune into, 1 is a friend a speak to with some regularity. When we speak, she may ask "have you read my blog today?" but this is just her way of knowing if I'm already filled in. When the answer is invariably "no," she just tells me what's going on. I often then go read the blog to fill in any spots she left out and see how her perspective has changed in the intervening time. I like reading her blog, but I prefer speaking to her in person or on the phone. It's more fun to spend time together and hang out. Less opportunity for misunderstanding, too - which is the main reason I'm only a reader of 2 blogs these days instead of 3.
At any rate, I don't know how to simplify any better than the next person, but I'm going to paste the word serenity on the wall above my computer as a reminder of my core values so that I don't get sucked any deeper into the quagmire of Internet activities. To paraphrase many a bumper sticker, "I'd rather be paddling."