A fond memory I have is of my weekend routine when I was in my early twenties. I lived alone, and for the first time in my life I had a job that gave me weekends off. I liked to get up on Saturday morning, start laundry, and go to the gym to work out. From there I’d do my grocery shopping and run any other errands I had, and then return home to finish the laundry I’d started and to clean my little apartment. Although the place was nearly 900 square feet and spacious for a one-bedroom, it didn’t take much more than an hour to thoroughly clean it. I don’t love the experience of cleaning, but I do love the finished product. I would put on music and light a fragrant candle, so the experience wasn’t unpleasant. Once I finished, I’d take a shower and get ready to go out either on a date or with friends. Sundays were usually just spent relaxing at home, reading a good book or catching up on TV shows while I snuggled with my cats on the couch. It was a simple life, and a very satisfying one, at least as far as I was concerned.
Even though that was over a decade ago, I still remember the happiness I felt during the time in my life when I had that little routine. I know that I am a person who finds the greatest joy in simple pleasures, and I like that about myself. Having more things, even when they’re nice, just increases my anxiety. When I moved out of that cozy apartment and into a lovely, brand-new house a year later with my then-boyfriend, I thought that living in that lovely home with him would increase my happiness. Instead, I found myself feeling very stressed out – by the high price of the mortgage, by the tensions in my relationship with him once we were living together, by feeling very trapped in a job I had grown to hate but that paid me well.
Longtime readers of my blog know the rest: I ultimately left that big house in California and that relationship behind. I’ve learned that I crave an uncomplicated life and have spent the last several years building just that. My relationships with my husband and my friends are loving and free of dramatics. The home Bill and I share is much smaller than that first house I owned, and I love it so much more. Our little place is cozy and comfortable.
My routine these days looks different now than it did in my little apartment, but in many ways it’s the same. I like to get up first thing in the morning and exercise before work. These days my workouts take place in my living room and not in a gym, but I still feel just as accomplished when I finish them. Because I work from home now, I have more free time that was once spent commuting and I can put on music, light a scented candle, and clean the house during the weekday (and now I have Bill’s help!). Our condo is spacious for a two-bedroom but we’re able to do a pretty thorough cleaning in about an hour. On Fridays on my lunch break I pick up our groceries curbside, which is a lot quicker than doing the shopping in the store. Weekends are a relaxing time for us; we can sleep in, and watch movies or go for a drive or take a long walk together.
It’s a simple life, and a satisfying one.