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  • Writer's pictureTina

A Simple Life

Updated: Jun 11





As I move through the various stages of life, I realize there is beauty in simplicity. Embracing a slower lifestyle, enjoying the simple pleasures life offers, taking time to appreciate those I care for, and nurturing relationships are what truly matters. Unbeknownst to me, I have been living what is now trendily known as a cottage-core lifestyle. Who knew an old-fashioned, simple, going-back-to-our-roots kind of life would become trendy? If I am transparent, I have always craved a simple, slow-paced country life, even as a teenager.

 

I have always been drawn to antiques, beautiful china, vintage linens, and old-fashioned clothing. As a teen, I was a closet Martha Stewart fan. I would anticipate the next episode of Martha Stewart Living every Sunday. I subscribed to her magazine and bought all her books. Activities like pressing flowers, restoring furniture, sewing, baking, canning, and gardening spoke to me. Martha’s quiet reserve and perfectionism inspired me. I envisioned my future as precisely what it is today: living on a farm, working creatively with my hands, creating something beautiful and useful.

 

In my twenties and early thirties, I lost that vision. I became engrossed in other pursuits, but the desire for a slower, simpler, and more beautiful life remained there. Once The Bean entered my world, she became the center of my universe. Because I realized what a rare gift I had been given to experience motherhood from my daughter’s first breath, I once again embraced a slower-paced, simple lifestyle. I was no longer focused on achieving career goals, earning a doctorate, or impacting the professional world. I wholeheartedly embraced motherhood and all the wonders it brings. I learned to work around The Bean’s schedule. When she was an infant and so very ill, we would sit and snuggle for fourteen to eighteen hours a day. As she developed and grew, I would push aside the demands of life, and we would play, sing, color, bake, and craft. Yes, my house would get dusty, and it no longer looked like a museum, but it was oh so worth it.

 

I have never been a person who thrives on a busy, erratic schedule. I don’t like to be committed to activities and duties. When I was teaching, I would put in twelve-to-fourteen-hour days. I would arrive in my classroom at 6 a.m. to prepare for the day, fulfill my regular teaching duties, coach cheerleading, and teach alternative education in the evening. I found the schedule daunting, but it is what I felt I needed to do. With The Bean, I was always careful not to overwhelm her with structured activities. To this day, my child needs downtime, time at home, and a safe place to decompress after a busy day. I continue to permit her to participate in only one activity per season and give her the time and space she needs to disconnect from the stress of the world. I know it may be a bit over the top, and I am not popular with my teen because of it, but her phone shuts down at 7 p.m. and does not come on again until 7 a.m. I also limit her time on social media. This is a bone of contention, but she is better for it. She is in a better mental space, less withdrawn, and takes the time to pursue things she loves, like music, playing the piano, writing, reading, and physical activities. I am okay with being unpopular if it is for her well-being.    

 

Now that my darling daughter is older and more self-sufficient, I can once again begin to embrace interests that have always intrigued me. I have fully embraced the art of soap making, so much so that it is what our family now does. Although I don’t have a lot of extra time to pursue other interests like embroidery, sewing, decorating, and gardening, I do make time to dabble in projects that bring me happiness and peace. I read a lot. Most of the time, I have no less than three books sitting on the end table or my bedside table. Fighting the urge to spend a rainy day drinking tea by the fireplace and reading for hours is a true battle. I usually indulge in this simple pleasure on Saturdays after the market. I snuggle in for a good nap and then spend the rest of the afternoon reading and relaxing. I know I am odd, but being in public and “peopling” for four hours overwhelms my senses. I need time to decompress, rejuvenate, and sit in the quiet.

 

The fact that my husband fully embraces my ideas and indulges my whims does not escape me. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of lobbying for things I want to do, a bit of maneuvering, and a lot of back and forth, but in the end, he usually gives in and helps me make my vision a reality. However, the process is just so exhausting. The goats, the soap, the website, the market, and all my other hair-brained ideas happen because he supports me 150%. He is the engine that makes it all work, and I am beyond grateful to him. He, too, appreciates a simple, quiet, slower-paced life. We are well-matched and complement each other. I could not do this without him. God love him; he is indulging my new obsession with baby chicks. We settled upon twenty new chicks six weeks ago. My new babies are of various breeds, colors, and future egg-laying possibilities. Yesterday, I went to my first animal swap with my dear friend, Jenna. We bought fruffled chicks! The chicks look like their feathers are ruffled all the time. I am so excited. I snuggled my new chicks as I sat talking with my bib overall wearing fuzzy bottoms. He looked at me, smirked, and told me I was weird, but it was said with love. When Jean Louise pooped on my hand and Calpurnia pooped on my leg, he pulled a paper towel from his pocket and cleaned me off, never saying a word. My advice, find a man who will clean chicken poop off you without being asked. That dear reader, is true love…insert a wink.

 

My gentle, unsolicited advice is not to be afraid to embrace your dreams, no matter how unusual they may be. Being a goat farmer and an artisan soap maker is not for everyone, but if you have a secret desire to slow down, pursue a lifestyle that does not fit into the norms of society, impassion your soul, and feed your spirit, then don’t be afraid to embrace them. Disconnect from the world a bit. I have been locked out of my personal Facebook account for months. If I am being transparent, I don’t miss it. I no longer sit and scroll mindlessly. I am not preoccupied with a little time-sucking device. I am more present, less distracted, and in better space. Technology has its benefits and place in our world, but in my opinion, it has become too prominent.

 

Who knows, your odd little idea about how life should be could become trendy. I was living a cottage-core lifestyle before cottage-core was even a thing. For me, it is not a trend. I won’t change my ideals when the next big thing comes along. I will sit and enjoy my new, fruffled baby chicks, take refuge in my goat herd when I can’t “people” anymore, and create a home that comforts, inspires, and nurtures my family. If they benefit her, I’ll implement rules that aren’t popular with my child. I’ll disconnect from social media and the world because it benefits me. I’ll hang my laundry on the clothesline, walk in the woods with my big red canine bestie, and create things with my hands that make people smile. It’s good to embrace a simple, slower lifestyle. I greatly recommend it.

 

On this gorgeous summer day, stay safe, be smart, enjoy a simple life, and cultivate a world that makes you happy; it’s okay to live out a nontraditional lifestyle and keep washing your hands…especially if you get pooped on by a baby chick.

 

  

 

 

 

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I love the simple life!

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