“Live a simple life; you will own the most beautiful treasures of the world!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan
The house sitting lifestyle gives you access to a variety of ways to live and insight into a diverse number of value systems. Such opportunities provide me with the opportunity to clarify and define what is important to me, which seems to change quite rapidly,particularly by the end of each house sit as I let go of 5hings I no longer need for the next stage of my journey.
I learn such a lot from living in other houses, other neighbourhoods. It’s a journey of profound learning. Recently I had a house sitting assignment which offered me great insight into a different lifestyle and value system to any I had previously encountered.
We still live in a free society and how other people live is entirely their choice. I decided before committing to this journey that it would be important to respect the lifestyle decisions and values of the home-owners and such respect would help in building a relationship of mutual respect. And besides, I might learn something. In fact I have learnt so much and integrated the lessons into my life.
The challenging house sit has helped me clarify the importance of simplicity in life.
It was originally a modest cottage renovated and decorated in distinctive colours and fabrics with artworks of all kinds covering most walls. At first glance it seemed like a clean easy care home until the owner pointed out the key machinery of everyday life. A coffee machine so convoluted to meet every possible caffeine and milk preference-and yet therefore subject to breakdown. It was in the bedrooms where I was confronted by the biggest challenge to my value system.
There they were large mounds of ‘things’ on the floor, blocking the space and making it impossible to access a wardrobe and chest of draws. I had assumed that these were clothes destined to go to the recycle shops, yet as I started to move them-with the owners permission so that I could feel somewhat organised-I discovered that most clothing still had their price tags attached.
Brown silk pants costing $396 mixed with upmarket beach towels of $100 or more. Smooth silk caftans at $600 jostled with Prada watches and Swvarovski key-rings still unopened in their boxes. Things, albeit pricey things, bought and thrown in a pile in such a way as to show contempt for their use and value. How could this be?
I have to admit that many years and another lifetime ago, I fell for retail therapy. At that time I, like the home owner was a successful professional, a workaholic actually,yet was desperately unhappy in my relationship. Like many women, not sure why men don’t fall for this in the same way, I turned to retail therapy to soothe my pain. Of course it didn’t work and years later I looked at my possessions only to question why I had bought such things in the first place. Yet after purchase, I didn’t throw them into a heap but displayed or used them as they were intended. What would cause someone to spend a large amount of money on a purchase then throw it on the floor as though in disgust? Clearly, the reason did not lie in the item but in the purchaser.
The house was located in a beautiful part of the world, not far from the beach during a beautiful summer. A top of the line ladies bike, bought some years ago for an intended health and fitness resolution yet used only once, was available for my use. I cycled to the beach and back for a swim in the warm sea each morning, feeling abundantly alive and grateful for this house sit-and to the owner for providing such wonderful and challenging learning opportunities.
The simple life is not always easy in an economy that works to foster insecurity and offer goods and services as a healing panacea. Its always a false placebo when you come to realise that what is of ultimate value, peace, love, freedom, adventure, fellowship, cannot be traded for dollars but has to be created through our own conscious efforts.
Give me the simple life
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