Thoughts On A Simple Life

Thoughts On A Simple Life

How Tolkien's words have helped anchor my perspective on what creates a simple life.
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“It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life” – J.R.R. Tolkien

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I first heard this J.R.R. Tolkien quote during last year’s holidays. For the past year, it has served as a small anchor for my perspective, and I feel that sharing my thoughts about celebrating a simple life is fitting for this time of year.

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Simple is a complicated word – at least it has been in my life. Perhaps you can relate? I don’t believe it’s complicated because simplicity is unachievable in the way that perfection is. Rather, simple feels unattainable because of the complications people put on it. In one sense, simplicity is something that can easily be synonymous with mundane and average. In another sense, simplicity is relative; therefore, attaining and maintaining it in one’s own life comes with no specific guideline.

Two weeks ago, I talked about the importance of choosing fear. Celebrating a simple life is also a choice – and, one that is vital to my every day life. Initially, the choice might not be the easiest, though with time, grace plays its part.

For me, a simple life is not defined by what the lives of others look like. It embodies unconditional love, and healthy (though never perfect) boundaries. It looks like the reflection in the mirror staring back at you or me, in all of the nakedness that comes with individuality. It is a belly laugh; a firm handshake; a conversation that is both heard and listened to.

A simple life is a slew of words on a page, the smell of an old library book with dog-eared pages, and a cup of coffee in the morning. It is a candle flickering on a table; wooden floors creaking beneath feet fitted with fuzzy socks. It is a piece of wisdom handed out generously with a side of reality or even patience.

A simple life can be drawn within or outside of the lines. It is in all of the natural, inevitable stillness and chaos of life. It is not stilted by trauma, and knows more than one definition of success. A simple life looks like Sunday morning – like a sunny day in Oregon, and a rainy day along coastal California.

It is a balance between the tiredness brought on by honest work and the rest acquired by means of a sabbath. It is the gift of seeing the sun rise and set. It is unhindered pursuit, and a well-kept secret. It is the struggle of growth and the miracle of new life. It is the hope for a tomorrow, and the mustard seed sized faith to get there.

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To celebrate a simple life is to be available to receive it. Money and status and superficiality beckon to be chased, but quiet simplicity yearns to be caught and received like a gift. To celebrate a simple life is to seek; to ask; perhaps to sit within the silence. It is moving in spite of fear. It is to reflect and to holdfast to gratitude as if tomorrow depended on it. It is to note the very human moments of every day life that stick within the depths of one’s mind whether he or she is aware or not.

I envision celebrating a simple life a lot like turning all of the lights off before singing happy birthday to a child who is absorbing the attention that comes with being celebrated.

The details of the celebration are in the sparkle of the candles and the sweetness of a dessert.

The simple life itself is the pure authenticity and uninhibited joy that exists within a child who is deeply, unconditionally loved – as well as in the contented joy that rests deep within a child whose definition of success and extravagance and enough is not wrapped up in the what can be but, rather, in the blessed what is now.

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Simplicity scared me for so long – and, at times (especially living in a place like Los Angeles), it still does. It is by far easier to look to what others are doing, at what they have, and how one's self might be lacking. It is easier to let a dream become an expectation; and to let that expectation become one's only desired reality.

I am in the constant process of discovering that relishing in the simplicity that is my life, welcoming the quiet, and befriending the ambiguity of what’s ahead help me experience far more depth than I could ever attain otherwise.

And – to celebrate the simple things is to simultaneously welcome in a heap of gratitude and peace.

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What makes up your definition of a simple life? How might a simple life be celebrated in your day-to-day?

Cover Image Credit: Pixeled79

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Cancel Culture Is Toxic And Ugly

Stop deciding for me who I can and cannot like.

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I was really hoping that canceled culture died in 2018, but unfortunately here we are in 2019 still "canceling" whoever we personally deem "problematic." Whether it's tweeting from six years ago or falsely made allegations, waves of people will grab on to anything they can to bring down whatever celebrity or influencer seems to be doing well at the moment.

Of course, it is important to bring light to horrible things such as racism, misogyny, domestic abuse, etc., but remember these horrible things are still happening TODAY. We need to focus our energy on combating the horrible things people are currently doing and saying; it is truly such a waste of time to bring up the problematic words and actions that someone in the limelight did almost a decade ago.

Let me be clear, there is no one person I am trying to defend here. I honestly don't care much to personally defend anyone who is being canceled by angry twitter-users who found something just bad enough to hold against them for eternity. I truly just find the idea of it annoying and ugly.

The idea that any person is a completely static, flat character is so inconceivable and unlikely that I truly have a hard time understanding why we cannot accept an apology from a matured person.

If we have no evidence that a person has made any recent damaging remarks, then how can we prove they haven't changed since they tweeted something wrong in 2013?

Of course, there are people who have recently or continuously proven they are indecent people who are not deserving of any sort of public exposure, but if they are truly so horrible, people will drop them without you having to tell them to do so. You don't have to condemn those who still remain loyal; they are probably not the kind of people you need to waste your time on anyway.

If the people canceling others were constantly watched like the people they have damned, I am absolutely sure there is something we could find from their past to cancel them as well.

Sometimes it is hard to remember that famous people are still human beings just like us. Anyone is prone to make mistakes, and those mistakes can absolutely be rectified over time.

Nowadays, people love jumping on the bandwagon of finding a new person to hate and don't even stop to think about the damage it could do to that person's life and reputation.

Give people a chance to prove that they are decent human beings before deciding whether "we" as a whole should love or hate them based on such a small amount of evidence.

I am not saying you have to love every celebrity. If you don't like what someone has said or done you absolutely do not have to give them your attention or devotion, but you should not tell me whether I can like them or not.

In 2019 we should put an end to canceled culture, and, instead, learn to take people at their word and accept their apologies for their past wrongdoings.

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