This morning while enjoying coffee on our deck, I started to ponder what simple living really is. We have been incredibly blessed to be given the opportunity of raising our children in rural, country life. But there are some real challenges to living a simple life.
Challenges to Living a Simple Life
Truth be told, this wasn’t always my dream. I grew up amidst big city living. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. It wasn’t until I met and married my husband, that I got a true taste of simple, country living.
He was born and raised on his family’s cattle ranch. He is the definition of a true country boy, my real life cowboy. Total swoon.
And sure, I definitely miss the convenience of city life. I now have to carefully plan out my excursions to the big ole city. It is definitely worth all of the extra effort because I am providing my family with this incredible lifestyle.
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The Benefits of Simple Living
The simple, country lifestyle really is a dream. Some mornings I sit outside on the deck while enjoying my first few sips of coffee. In the quiet of the morning, crisp, clean, cool air on my face. The sounds of farm animals in the distance of our yard and birds happily singing nearby.
This country life, where it takes driving down dirt roads for miles before reaching our farm. Where we are surrounded by scenic pastures, family farms, and our closest neighbors are miles away.
I have known no other peace of soul than letting go of my stressful career and settling down for simple living.
Some of my favorite benefits of living this lifestyle:
- More time with my family and for us to do the things that matter most in life.
- Less stress! Yes, there certainly are normal life stresses, but this life has taught me to slow down and appreciate the little things more.
- Saves money. Once I began to appreciate the simple life, I learned how to change my spending habits.
- Connection with nature and all of its beauty. Stop and smell the roses, enjoy life!
What are some of the challenges?
The simple life is pretty incredible. It’s serene, peaceful, quiet, and comforting. But despite all of the wonderful benefits, its not entirely free of some challenges.
These can hold true to those who are contemplating simple life as well as the those who are new to this lifestyle.
Here are five challenges I faced when I began to simplify our life.
Simple Living Can be Overwhelming
At least at first. And what I mean by this is that it can be a true culture shock especially when you’re brand new to the country life. I had to learn to drive with directions based off of landmarks and scenery, rather than street signs.
“Turn left at the stone windmill. If you’ve crossed the creek, you’ve gone too far.” Yes, those are real directions my husband gave me to find my way back home. Ha.
Now, don’t laugh at me here. You probably will anyway. But I had to learn how to change the way I dressed for country living. I traded in my high heels for muck boots and my Converse for cowboy boots, my pencil skirts for dirty, worn out jeans.
This doesn’t mean that I’m not staying true to myself or have given up on my sense of style. I still wear all of those things, but there are times and places for them. And I’ve learned how to alter my life a little.
And did you know, there’s a real science to opening and closing gates leading to the pasture? Most skilled farmers and ranchers have those things wound so incredibly tight. There was blood, sweat, and tears involved with me learning how to open them! The struggle is real, my friends.
No longer was I able to hop in my car and drive to the local coffee house in the morning when I wanted to meet up with friends, or run to the grocery store if I was out of milk. Instead, my trips to town are carefully planned out. Lists are made and various errands are completed all on one day.
I could no longer order a pizza or have Chinese food delivered after an exhausting day at work. Instead, I learned how to eat healthy and cook my meals entirely from scratch.
This may sound like a win for organization. And it may be a little of that. But it is very challenging. Imagine driving 40 minutes just to grocery shop or to pick up basic supplies. Now add in three children ages 3, 2, and 1.
Once I was able to plan out my trips and to learn how to adapt to a new lifestyle, I learned how to embrace the challenges to living a simple life.
Not Knowing Where to Start
Where exactly do you start when trying to overcome the challenges to living a simple life? It took me quite a bit of trial and error until I found my simplicity sweet spot. I really felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start.
The first step for me was to get organized. I started a massive declutter session. Then, I learned how to organize my time. And finally, I changed my mindset. Now I’d like to consider us almost minimalists.
Overcoming Bad Shopping Habits
Many of you may be familiar with this quote from Boyd K. Packer, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” It really takes a lot of effort to put it into practice, but this is a huge part of simple living.
Once I learned how to cut out superfluous spending, I learned how to eliminate debt and spend money on things that were either a true need or something my family valued.
This saves us money and allows us to do things that matter most in our lives. Like spending time together as a family and teaching our children the joys of simple living.
One of the most common challenges to living a simple life is trying to overcome emotional attachment towards items. Please don’t get me wrong here. There is nothing wrong with keeping items of true sentimental value if they hold meaning and have a good place in our homes.
But once we make the resolution to simplify our lives, we need to get over some of those fears. And you know what? It’s not exactly easy. Actually, it can be downright scary.
What I mean by all of this is that if it doesn’t hold true sentimental value and it’s just adding to the clutter, get rid of it.
“It was a gift, so I must keep it.” Sometimes holding on to a sweater you received as a Christmas gift from a relative is making it hard to live a simple life. Its just taking up valuable space in our homes. Do you love it or use it? If not, donate it.