Dear little sister,

Here is a confession: I find life to be an overwhelming place. I do one thing and feel like I should be doing another, and I feel like things are just being continuously heaped on my plate. There are all the  "musts" and "shoulds", but also all the "but I wanted to's" and "wouldn't it be great-if" and the most dangerous ones of all. The "of course I wills". 

And before I know it, I am desperately pedalling just to keep up with the urgent, let alone taking time for the important. It's exhausting. Not just tiring, but exhausting.  I don't mind being tired after a day well spent, but when it piles up until I'm just running from one to the other, doing things here and doing things there, without getting anything done, sooner or later things start to give. I know I've definitely overdone it when I find myself skim-reading bad romance novels at 3 am on a weekday. Don't laugh, it's a stress response. Somewhere between all of that I lose track of what is really important. 

For the last few years I have tried to live a more simple life. I’m still struggling with what exactly that means for me, but in essence it is about cutting down on complexity. Less things, less commitments, less choices, less projects and less ideals. It’s about figuring out what is truly important, and then making sure that becomes a regular, and reliable, part of my life. It’s about keeping the urgent at bay, and focusing on the quiet, long term and important.

Breakfast is a good example, since we are on the subject anyway. I used to struggle with eating any. I’d be out of ingredients, don’t know what I want or don’t have any time. It was a healthy fruit salad one day, then a couple of biscuits running out the door on the next.

Now, I eat porridge. Every morning. I have been doing it for years. Oats and milk, and then a slowly rotating range of toppings. The last few months is has been a couple of fresh fruits and a handful of seeds. It makes my mornings incredibly easy, because I don’t have to think about it. I’m never out of the ingredients. Bowl, oats, milk, water, microwave, chop the fruits. Done. When the oats are empty, I buy more. When there is no fruit, I eat the porridge plain. I don’t have to think, and not having to think about it means that I get a healthy breakfast, every morning, that keeps me full for a good few hours. It’s one less decision to make in my day, one less ‘should’. Having a strong habit removes complexity, and gives me time and mental energy for other things. Of course, eating the same thing every day is a little boring (if tasty) so I will indulge on the weekend, when I have time to make pancakes or fry eggs. But during the week, it’s porridge every morning. Life is a whole lot better when I have a healthy, filling breakfast every morning. It’s only a little better than that if I have a different breakfast every morning, and the effort is not worth the extra cost. So porridge it is.

For me, that is simplicity. Find something that works, and that I enjoy, and then do it. Just that,  because it means this area of my life is taken care off, leaving more room and energy for others. I am very much still working on expanding that philosophy to other areas of my life.

All the best,


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