Skip to main content

Simple is as simple does.

Simplicity has always been a high value for me, at least so I thought...  Reading up a bit on the recent trend of "simplicity," however, has left me a bit at odds with my former ally.  Perhaps this is because I mistakenly equate simplicity with ease.  Easier almost always seems better to me.  For example, packing light means less awkward, sweaty, explosive fits of rage at the airport:  easier, simpler, better.  Having fewer things means fewer spousal arguments or manipulative tactics about what makes the cut moving to a new apartment:  easier, simpler, better.  Choosing to do one thing a day, rather than seven, means I might have time to make dinner:  easier, simpler, tastier.

Although I recognize that easy does not necessarily always mean simple, it seems nowadays that simple does not necessarily mean simple either.  Simple, it seems, has become a brand, a lifestyle, a luxury.  Simple is planting an extensive garden in your backyard to grow your own produce and herbs organically and affordably:  fresh, delicious, and fun (if you like that kind of thing,) but also time-consuming, messy, and complicated.  Simple is starting a blog explaining how you have reorganized and "simplified" your kitchen utensils to achieve a maximum level of efficiency in the kitchen.  While perhaps nice to no longer rummage around lesser-used items, doesn't the creation of the blog negate the purpose of stream-lining one's time and energy?  Oh, the irony.  Simple is buying only certain foods, at rather high prices, to avoid processed, saturated, sugared, salted, manipulated, altered, etc., etc., etc.:  cleaner, greener, leaner, purer, but perhaps not simpler.

Simple has become exactly what it is not:  complicated, demanding, and difficult to attain.

While these new trends are not in and of themselves bad at all, they do not seem simple to me.  As we, particularly Americans, transition from our pendulum swing of excess and "more," I can understand the desire to trend toward simplicity.  However, let's keep simple simple.  Let's dumb it down again.  Let's make it easy again - or at least easier, plain, and simple.


Kara said…
I used to love perusing the Real Simple magazine at our teammate's apartment. But eventually I realized it felt like on big advertisement. So many 'organization' tools just require buying sets of beautiful baskets/shelves/containers.

But, I also think that 'living simply' is not a bad thing, even when it requires more labor on our part. To me, it's about reducing consumption--of energy, plastic, and yes, even junk food! Some choices are easier, like living in a smaller home. But taking public transport or biking instead of taking a car is definitely not more 'simple'! And making more food at home from scratch is not only energy intensive, but sometimes more expensive.

The real question is, why live simply? Are we conserving our ease, or our health and our environment?
Culbert Report said…
Good thoughts, Kara! I certainly agree. I don't think that living simply always means living more easily: easy is always simple, but simple is not always easy, ironically. I have a high value for simplicity - not always the easy kind - but sometimes have to laugh at myself when my simplicity seems very complicated.

Popular posts from this blog


At the time, it tasted like the perfect combination of spicy salsa over scrambled eggs, just the way I liked it.
But now, I can see, it's not only enduring 8 ruckus cousins piled on the floor for the summer,  but making their favorite breakfasts for them each day.
At the time, it was glimmer of the holiday decorations around the house;  the lantern and lights were always bright, inviting, always welcoming to me.
But now, it's a man who fought for the right to celebrate holidays in this country  whatever way we please, and embraces that right.
At the time, it was the delight of finding the extra few treats on  Halloween that appeared in my pumpkin and seeing the hand which slipped them in.
But now, it's a man who is generous and kind to his children's children.
At the time, it was the joy of walking from Holly Hills to have candy with Grandpa after school instead of going home to carrots and apples.
But now, it's a man who enjoys life and enjoys making life more enjoyable.
At the…

Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Don't like brussel sprouts? No worries, these don't taste a thing like them! Our children asked for second (and third) helpings and as Dan remarked, they easily outshone everything else on the table. We took them to our Thanksgiving dinner as well as a Christmas party as they travel and reheat surprisingly well and complemented those more traditional dishes.

2 slices bacon
1 lb. brussel sprouts (thawed if frozen) sliced in half
1/2 an onion sliced into thin loops
Salt and pepper to season
3 TB maple syrup 3 TB apple cider vinegar *optional
1/4 cup raisins *optional

If using raisins, put them in a cup with the apple cider vinegar and set aside. (Raisins can soak over night for brighter flavor.)

In a cast iron skillet, cook 2 slices of bacon over medium heat. Remove bacon from pan to crumble once cool.

Using the hot bacon grease, add brussel sprouts and onion slices to the skillet and immediately season with salt and pepper. Adjust heat to medium low if…


Зарядки or “morning exercises” were a part of every good Soviet's morning routine. It's a tradition that continues to live on in most Russians' ideal schedule, particularly when traveling or vacationing in a new place. Hotels, camps, resorts all offer their vacationers morning exercise before breakfast each day. I decided that this would be a fun “optional” activity for our summer project, and apparently so did several other Summer Project participants - I was shocked when nearly 15 people showed up on our first morning! Every morning at 7:30, the brave fitness gurus and I would run together to the rocky shores of the sea for a 30 minute exercise routine I'd planned out the night before. We did just about every exercise I could think of, including, but not limited to the following: stretching, running, skipping, jumping, lunging, balancing, squating, push-ups, tricep raises, calf raises, holding a plank, leg extensions, wall sits, obstacle courses, and just about anyth…