What does simplifying your life really mean? One cancer survivor gives a different perspective than the media.

We hear repeatedly about simplifying – our homes, our workplace and our lives. There is even a popular magazine named Real Simple, with instructions on how to simplify every aspect of our lives. The famous Marie Kondo has published books on becoming organized and purging! Interior decorators are having a field day with suggesting the uncluttered simple furniture and decorations. There is even a name for decorating called Minimalist, adopted from Australia. The movement is apparently worldwide.

Simplicity has become a way of life as people (myself included) talk constantly about decluttering and getting rid of things and not needing as many objects.

However, there is another type of simplicity. I recently was sitting out on my patio, sipping my coffee with a newspaper in my hand and my cat purring in my lap. My patio is full of solar dancer figures and I just love to watch them sway and dance and move.

I stopped reading the depressing news, took a deep breath and just gazed at my figures responding to the warm sunshine and allowing me to become mesmerized.

True happiness filled my soul. I then realized something. Before cancer, before I was forced to retire, I had a hectic schedule and planned every second. I felt guilty sitting and relaxing like this. I was always checking the time for my next appointment. Today – I just wanted to BE!
I have been forced by my health to leave jobs where I had to be there at a certain time, and writing allows me that luxury. I don’t have to hurry through the newspaper, thinking I have to read it now or never. I can sip my coffee all morning long if I wish. Part of this is due to retirement, and many of my friends and family have said they enjoy this idea of no longer being in a demanding workforce. But the rest is because of the cancer, where I have learned to savor the moment.

There are many moments like this we can savor and cherish. Planting a garden and just digging your hand in the dirt, taking a walk and enjoying watching nature all around us, smelling the flowers outside, playing and giggling with children – these are simple things. We don’t need fancy cruises, or trips to Europe or to spend a lot of money on vacation to be happy. Unfortunately, many of us cancer patients have spent so much on medical bills that we cannot afford the expensive vacations. But we can love and appreciate the simple things in life. Cancer has taught me this and I am sorry it took me so long to learn. I do not need to just simplify my home – but to simplify what is needed for my soul.

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