The idea of switching to simple living can feel alien and intimidating to many people who’ve gotten used to all the perks and luxuries modern life has to offer.
But a simple life doesn’t necessarily mean having to move to a cabin in the woods and live off-grid (although you certainly can, if you wanted to!).
It doesn’t have to mean giving up every single indulgence you have. I consider myself someone who enjoys the simple things in life, yet I do enjoy the occasional splurge or hotel staycation.
But if we’re talking about day-to-day life, that’s a different story. I truly, absolutely delight in the simple things like staring out at my neighbor’s comforting oak tree, the birds that choose my windowsill to perch on…
Really, really simple.
Are you that way, too? Well, if you recognize these signs, then you’re a kindred spirit – someone who genuinely enjoys the simple things in life:
1) You crave more experiences more than stuff
The key principle behind living a simple life (and enjoying the simple things) is to pare back. It’s about having and doing less so you can have space for more joy.
The reality is, society’s definition of “more” doesn’t necessarily mean more.
In fact, “more” could lead to a complicated life. Think about it – the more stuff you buy, the more hours you’ll have to put in at work to pay for them.
I remember a friend of mine who was obsessed with designer sneakers. He’d collect them and eagerly wait for the release of the latest model.
Now, I’m not one to rag on anyone’s choice of hobbies, but the problem is, he could barely afford these items.
He took on a second job, then a third. Then he’d sit in his car after work, take a photo of himself, and post it with the caption, “So tired. So hard to hustle!”
And believe me, he did look tired, with pale skin and dark circles under his eyes. He looked desperately in need of some sleep.
In contrast, if you find joy from the simple things, you treasure experiences more than material things.
That’s in line with what psychology experts say – that people who value experiences more than material purchases are happier.
2) You don’t do the comparison game
One reason why you’re not that into material things is because you don’t feel the need to compare yourself with anyone, which, let’s face it, is a major force that drives people to accumulate more and more.
But not you. I mean, the very fact that you truly enjoy the simple things means that you’ve already bought out of that whole mentality.
Who cares if everyone’s rushing to buy the latest iPhone? Or a Birkin? You’re over here reading a book, and it’s pretty exciting!
3) You don’t struggle with FOMO
On the heels of that, let me just say that people who genuinely enjoy the simple things in life don’t suffer as much from the fear of missing out (FOMO).
This is because their sense of fulfillment and contentment comes from within and from appreciating the present moment, rather than from external validation.
For those who find joy in the simple things, life’s pleasures aren’t tied to keeping up with trends or social expectations.
Of course, this doesn’t mean they’re completely immune to FOMO. Everyone, at some point, feels twinges of FOMO because, well, we’re all aware that life is short and there’s so much we have yet to experience.
But if you enjoy the simple things in life, you’re less likely to dwell on that because you feel satisfied with what you have. Possessions, experiences…you already feel an abundance of those.
4) It doesn’t take much to make you happy
Off the top of my head, here are some things that make me happy:
- My dog dancing on his tippy-toes while trying to get at the roast chicken on the table
- My husband buying me a pint of coffee ice cream on his way home
- My lovely purple oxalis straining towards the sun
- A bike ride on a slightly windy day
Of course, it’s not the intense, giddy, wow kind of happiness (although it can be, when I’ve got a particular hankering for ice cream and I get it). It’s more of the quiet kind of happiness, where I feel at peace, like all’s right with the world.
Perhaps contentment is a better word for it.
5) You don’t like rushing
You’ll also confirm that you’re someone who genuinely enjoys the simple things if you’re not a fan of rushing.
Rather, you’re a fan of savoring. Of taking your time through experiences.
That’s a bold statement in a world that wants us to go faster and get more things done. Life is short, as they say, and so we must hurry!
But you know what? Life is short, indeed, so why not savor each moment? For me, that’s the better way to go.
I’d rather reach the end of my life knowing I was fully present and engaged with the world around me. It’s better than knowing that maybe I did get more done, but I can’t remember much of them for the life of me.
Simplicity means choosing quality over quantity. That goes for possessions as well as moments.
And it goes for social interactions, too…
6) You don’t take things personally
Going back to my earlier statement on how simplicity is about paring back, I’d like to point out how that includes drama.
How many times have we gotten into some sort of drama because we took things too personally?
I get it – I used to be a sensitive person myself. Not the good kind, but the kind that got easily hurt and offended, even when comments weren’t meant for me.
But over time, I learned to let go of that tendency. I suppose it was a natural consequence of embracing the simple life.
It meant I had to simplify how I reacted to the world around me, too. I had to choose not to get tangled up in unnecessary drama.
Why? Because I realized that my emotional energy isn’t limitless.
And I also realized that most of the time, people don’t intend to hurt others. Which meant, I was seeing slights and digs where there weren’t.
And that isn’t simple at all. I was creating my own struggles and wasted a lot of energy.
Once I truly understood that, I was able to give people the benefit of the doubt more easily.
The result? Less clutter in my mind and much more space to enjoy everything else in life.
And if someone undeniably, irrefutably hurt me, I learned how to do this next thing…
7) You let go of grudges
Letting go of negative emotions is another sign that you genuinely enjoy the simple things.
What does that have to do with anything, you ask?
Again, it all has to do with the simplicity mindset, which is all about reducing life to its most essential and meaningful components.
This creates more room for positivity, gratitude, and joy – the very things that align with a love for the simple things in life.
8) You choose your battles wisely
I don’t mean to say that enjoying the simple things in life means you just have to sit and take whatever crappy behavior people dish out.
Not at all.
I just mean, you don’t have to give every little unpleasant thing your full attention. No, you save your energy for what truly matters to you.
9) You know what your boundaries are
Knowing our boundaries and standing firm on them isn’t something we normally associate with enjoying the simple things.
But they are absolutely connected. How?
You see, boundaries:
- Help clarify what you will and won’t accept in your life. When you’re clear about that, you’re less likely to get caught up in pursuits that don’t align with your core values.
- Help you avoid overcommitting yourself, which reduces stress. Keeps things simple!
- Protect your emotional space. Emotional stability is a huge factor in being able to enjoy the simple things in life.
- Promote mindful living. You become more conscious of how you spend your time, who you spend it with, and what you allow in your space, both physically and mentally. (You won’t exhaust yourself by keeping 3 jobs just to get some sneakers, no matter how holy grail they are!)
Clarifying your boundaries takes some serious thinking, but it does make life simpler!
10) You don’t sweat what you can’t control
And also…perfection? What’s that?
Controlling and perfecting everything are concepts you’ve long ditched. Or if you haven’t yet, you struggle with them less than the average person.
You’ve figured out that:
1) Some things are just beyond your control, so why worry? And 2) you’ll never be perfect, so why worry?
In fact, if you enjoy the simple things, I’m willing to bet that you find imperfection beautiful. You love the charm of authenticity. The beauty of “it is what it is”.
11) You can just…be
Finally, as someone who enjoys the simple things in life, you’ve nailed who you are.
And that’s someone who doesn’t have to go along with the rat race. Someone who doesn’t need to do more, have more, be more.
You can just be. Period.
I find this to be the most beautiful part of enjoying the simple things. You know why? Because it’s a measure of self-love. I don’t have to be a huge success or own expensive stuff to have value.
I am simple, I love simple things, and that includes myself. And I’m thankful for that, just as I’m thankful for the thousands of other simple yet wondrous things in my life.