Going back to easy…who’s in?

This morning I was inspired by a quote that perfectly captures the essence of what I believe is a philosophy which so many people are coming around to appreciate. The quote is from the founder of Le Pain Quotidien, Alain Coumont, and it was “I think the most sophisticated thing sometimes, can be going back to the simple things and that’s not always easy.”

Alain’s quote is almost non-sensical, as you would imagine that doing something simple should not be hard to accomplish. In fact, you would think this would be extremely easy to do. However, given the current environment we are living in is so precarious on numerous levels (e.g., economically, socially, health wise), it has thrown people into a tailspin as they attempt to make sense of our world being tipped upside down.

My home-based city is Boston, but this weekend I’m in New York City. This is the second time I have traveled since March of 2020, and the first time back to this city since a year ago. I was curious what condition I would find the state of the city to be in, and sadly, it’s worse than I expected it to be. Some things are the same, but the vibe and energy of the city has significantly changed. The fact so many businesses have been shuttered, and that the main places of entertainment have been too (e.g., Broadway, Museums, The Met), makes the city feel a lot like any other city. The graffiti and trash are back to a level I remember seeing a few decades ago, and the homeless population seems to be at an all-time high.

So, if a city like New York is not able to offer the traditional experience it did prior to Covid, what sets it apart from any other city? I posed this question to some of my friends who live here, and their responses were fascinating. Essentially, they shared with me that they are living in and treating the city as if it was always devoid of the elements and reasons people chose to live there. In other words, they have resorted to doing things which people living in the suburbs would typically do (e.g., going for walks, riding their bike, watching and listening to nature, and spending more time outside than inside).

You could easily say that people in New York, and probably in most parts of the country, are going back to living a simpler life. One without the trappings of always feeling like they need to be out and going someplace new, or doing something interesting. Their routines are being scaled down, and they are beginning to accept the living situation they are in. Perhaps even appreciating it more, especially if they are fortunate to be healthy, and have a paying job.

I’m certain if you had taken a survey and asked people a year ago if they could have imagined their life scaling back and describing to them how it is today, that they would never have believed it would be the way it is. However, in reality, I have a sense more people have come to terms with, and are more accepting of their reality a year into their lives being upended.

If you have not arrived at the place of being resigned to the fact your life might in fact be better now because of having to embrace the simple things in life being important, I challenge you to consider these suggestions to help you on this journey.

  • Since many people have not had to commute to their office, their “work attire” has likely shifted to a new level of “office casual”. In other words, they are finding that they are wearing less than half of the clothes they did before, and their dry-cleaning bills can prove this. Ultimately, this could mean you would have more room in your closet.
  • Understanding the concept that less is more maybe something you can finally wrap your minds around. Why? Because you might be more aware of the trappings of the “stuff” or clutter in your environment that is sucking up space and not adding any perceived value to your life. Purging unnecessary items from your life can be simultaneously cathartic, and charitable.  It’s a win-win for everyone.  
  • Space is relative, and there is definitely a middle ground in terms of having the right amount of it to live in. People who are living in small spaces might be wishing to have more space, and those with an abundance of space might be realizing they don’t need all the space they have. Spending so much time in your current space has provided you with a new appreciation for what the right amount of space might be for you.
  • Although not everyone will fare well from a relationship perspective, there will be people whose relationships will become stronger from spending so much “quality” time together. Providing they have the mentality that they are on the “same team”, and can add more value versus detract from being in one another’s lives.

The phrase “less is more” is one of my favorite expressions. If we could all embrace this as a concept, it will certainly help us to navigate as a society on our journey of going back to recognizing that there are some positive outcomes from living a simpler, less complicated life. Even in the midst of still being in the middle of living in a Pandemic as one of our main, but not our only challenge at this point in time.

TAGS: #Pandemic #Simplelife #Boston #NewYorkCity #Options #LessisMore #EmbracingChange #Perspective #Happiness #QualityofLife #LessComplicatedLife

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