People say they want a simple life. How simple are we talking here? People want to live day-to-day without obligation to satisfy the needs of others. Is that simplicity? Is it drama-free? Tax-free? Non materialistic? Can you have friends in a simple life? A job? Everything is one big circle.
- You need a place to live but you can’t just go out, cut down trees, and build your own house. You can’t just rent or buy a place, either. There are laws, rules, and regulations you have to follow. Like, you must have running water; some places require you have electricity on before you even move in.
- You need to eat but you can’t just go out and shoot your own food; in some places you can’t even grow your own garden because it’s technically not your property.
- You need clothes because not having any makes you vulnerable to A.) the law; and B.) sicknesses. Getting sick is very costly in many ways. It’s usually unaffordable to everyone in one way or another.
Obviously, you need a job for these things; these…basic “necessities”
So what is simple? What is simplicity? Is it possible to have a job that’s simple? Even if the task/s are simple themselves, is the work environment simple? I’ve never worked anywhere wholly simple. When I was around 12, I folded table linens in a small, hot, steamy laundry room. It seems simple but it was hot. And loud. And I got paid in tips the housekeepers shared, which wasn’t a lot at all. I wasn’t allowed breaks because I already sat down while folding.
I worked a pedal boat station at the marina when I was 16. It should have been simple. You take people’s money, hold the pedal boat while they climb in, then you time them while hoping they don’t get stupid and fall in. It was hot, like really hot. Almost as hot as the boy I worked with (but not quite). The girl we worked with was stealing money by not writing down all of the customer names. She convinced me to steal, too. I got caught because I felt so guilty that I tried to put the money back. It was not a simple job.
My life is anything but simple yet I’m treated like I have little to complain about. I’m a “stay at home mom” because I’m disabled, that’s not simple. I live in housing which means I have low rent; but I have inspections and random people in my house multiple times a month making sure I keep up on the hundreds of rules and guidelines I’m supposed to follow. Things like: having one window unblocked in each room; why do you need to check that so often? Things are always breaking and whatever it is that broke, there’s never “room in the budget” to fix so everything is half-assed or ghetto-rigged (federal regs, y’all).
Food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security…we get it all (except TANF), and my husband works. People act like these things simplified my life. They make my life easier, I will not deny that or be ungrateful, but it’s not simple. I’m constantly reporting to one agency or another. The mail gives me anxiety because my benefits fluctuate constantly. One month they cut our food stamps by $200. One month by $80. Sometimes it goes up. You’d think that’d be amazing but there’s an evil surprise. If you’re lazy, you sometimes swipe your Lone Star card without checking the balance because you know it’s low and won’t cover everything. The cashier will tell you the remaining balance on your denied card, then you re-swipe after they enter that balance, and pay cash, or whatever, for the rest.
The problem is, sometimes after you renew your benefits, they refill them as soon as it’s processed, before your date. If you’re not aware of this, you could accidentally spend what you would normally save. You’re probably saying, “but that just saved you cash.” You’d be a logical person to think that but consider this: your benefits come in on a set date every month, so you learn how to schedule and ration those benefits. If you fall out of that schedule unexpectedly, without plan, it can take you months to recover. You budget everything so tight that when your weeks don’t align properly with your income schedule, spending any unplanned money, even $10 can throw you off an entire month.
If you follow politics even a little, being on these programs is even more stressful. Imagine your physical health, your children’s health, relying on government programs! The stress is just, it’s unbearable some nights. Literally tossing and turning. Heart flutters, wet eyes, and that feeling somewhere between your lower back and stomach that’s confusing and you can’t tell if you have to throw up or shit… My in-laws voted for Trump. I asked them if they were worried about the proposal to gut/cut their Medicare, Social Security, Disability, and VA benefits. They literally laughed at me…to my face. How are they not worried?! They don’t think it’s possible he could do what he says but this dude is signing EO’s all over the place, willy nilly, just scribble-scribble-scribble, hahaha Americans, your life is going to be fun to watch burn from my #MAGA House.
JJ needs socks. Long socks. His leg brace doesn’t fit right anymore and we’re having trouble getting him back into therapy for a recommendation on a new brace. I live in Texas. They cut the Medicaid budget for children’s therapy services. Now there’s never available appointments at the rehab center because the services cut were in-home therapy. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get him some stupid socks for weeks. Every time I think I got the “extra” money (it’s my kid, his necessities shouldn’t require “extra” money, wtf?), something more costly happens and I have to remap my funds. It’s bullshit. It’s not simple.
I wanted to live a simple life when I was younger. I really wanted to be alone. I wanted to travel the continent. I’m too scared to leave it so I never really wanted to go anywhere else. I was too scared to learn to drive so I gave up on the whole driving-across-country-living-on-the-road thing. It’s what I really wanted but it became clear early on that it wasn’t a dream meant for me. At least not in these years or earlier. It wouldn’t have been a simple life. People travel the world without money, or so they say while giving paid interviews and writing paid articles on tips, or their journey in general. Even if you figure out a way to travel without money, it still wouldn’t be simple.
You know what is simple? Dismissing the idea that simplicity exists at all because life isn’t meant to be simple. It’s meant to be complicated. It’s meant to have bumps and twists and squiggly lines with loops and swirls. You’re supposed to get turned around and upside down; forced to walk backwards while looking ahead. People say to never look back but fuck those guys, right? Look back, do it often; because who you were is how you got to be who you are. Where you’ve been is how you find where you’re going. Who you’ve met is how you know who you want to be. Everything in life influences us and sometimes the more negative, the more challenging and the less simple the influence, the better.
Personal development is a skill. It’s not a single lesson and it’s not learned through perfection. You have to make mistakes and you can’t make mistakes when things are simple. Without mistakes, what are you learning? Without negativity, how will you see or know positivity? Without learning wrongs, how will you know rights? Life is complex and because of that– because of the worry, the struggle, and the ultimate fight to survive, you get to find who you are in the moments in between when you’re reaping the benefits of your latest conquer, or in a moment of pure reflection. Life is horribly, fantastically, excruciatingly, and magnificently complex. Of course there are things I’d love to change in or about my life but because I can’t, my only option is to embrace and learn, becoming a better person for it. With a simple life, I’d never have these things about me to make me the unique individual I am today.
I can’t honestly say, without a doubt, that I’d change all of that for a simple life.