Friday, February 25, 2011

Simplicity in living...

Dear all,

Cay and I had a great conversation this morning when we went for a walk. It was a really sunny day (which is rare here in Austria this time of the year) and our conversation was great. We tend to talk very deeply when we go for walks, which is one reason why our walks take a long time. Anyways... we came to some realizations today.

We realized that (even in our lives) we have an excess of STUFF. And it ranges from all aspects in our lives, from physical things (clothes, cars, computers, teddy bears, etc) to obligations and commitments. We even came to find out that some times we carry an excess of feelings (particularly guilt). And furthermore, in this age, it seems that “excess” is not only acceptable; it is necessary.

I mean seriously, look at the condition in the United States (and maybe other countries as well):

You need to have a credit card in order to buy a… house, car, land, donut shop, etc.

TRANSLATION: You need to have debt to have more debt.

WTF? Why would I want more debt to have even more debt?

Perhaps the deeper question is actually: Why do I want these things so badly? And what will do to get them?

In the end we don't really need that much to survive. If you want to get technical what you need is simple: food, water and protection from the elements (i.e. clothing, shelter, a Gore-tex jacket if you live in Austria during the winter). Ok, I realize as well that we need love and human contact as well, so go ahead and chuck that up there as a necessity.

But we believe that anything more than the above mentioned, and we are actually living in excess, or more than what is necessary. (Again, Cay and I are just as guilty as everyone else). Here is a simple example: go to your coat rack and count how many coats you have. Chances are that you have more than one. You may even have more than one for the season. I am mortified as I look at my closet, because I actually have 3 different coats that I can wear for the winter. The bottom line is that we have an excess of stuff in our lives, and I believe that this does not always make things simpler, or even enjoyable for that matter. A lot of times when we have these excesses we are not satisfied, but quite the opposite; we want more. Over the following days we are going to publish a series of blogs that Cay and I have really thought about. The theme is simplicity.

Why simplicity? Because it is the opposite of excess. (Notice I didn’t say “having nothing” is the opposite of excess… I’ll explain more about this in a later post). Simplicity, or simplifying allows us to examine our lives and to take out the excess stuff that is cluttering all the aspects of our lives. Man, and we have a lot of it. Some of us have no idea how much we have.

Stay tuned for more…

- Vince and Cay


  1. Nice blog post. Reminds us to live Simply because we really don't need much like you said! I'm as guilty as anyone for sure when I look at my closet and different aspects of my life :P

  2. I love your blogs! A philosophy which neighbors a Buddhist! Relative to the acknowledgement of the "self" and the superfluous derivatives... Ironic if you consider the history which cultivates such a society. We were once driven only to simplify the labor-intensive jobs required in order to make a living. Less time and effort spent making money, the more time we should afford in our personal lives and development; Somehow, that simplification equates to technological advances and material possessions that proliferates laziness and superfluous spending. It is however, human nature to find the polar ends before we come to the median... I just hope we find the median quickly :)

  3. @Tomas D... Thank you very much.

    @Andie... I believe that most people that live in today's age have been guilty of excess. We are all in this struggle together :-)

    @atkyh... It just shows that truth is universal, and truth can be found found in pretty much all beliefs and/or philosophies. Technology is a funny beast. It just seems the more it advances the more junk you have to pack on it to make it run better. But we agree with you that the key to happiness lies in the middle road.

  4. Great Blog. Of course I love simplicity although I don't have it much.

    I just had to comment and say..."Wait until that baby comes!" Like Bob Rice's song goes..."my things need more things." You can't imagine how much your little one will acquire. It's hard not to spoil them...especially when they take to certain interests. You'll see...xoxo

  5. Ann! Thanks for reading! So good to hear from you... Bob's song was ringing through my head as we were writing this blog. I can't imagine what its going to be like when Elijah is born... with all the fancy stuff :-)