Simple Living vs. Easy Living

Simple versus easy

Last week, my baby girl got her first cold and passed it on to me. As I coughed through the night and our daughter woke up more than usual to nurse, Steve had no where to go (except the opposite end of the bed) in order to get some decent sleep so he could be ready for work in the morning. During those sleep deprived days, I pondered the difference between simple living and easy living.

The words “easy” and “simple” get tossed around all the time online, and often in interchangeable ways.

“Lose 5 pounds with these 5 Easy Techniques.”

“Four Simple Holiday Recipes.”

Articles about simplifying your life generally insinuate that simplifying will make life easier. And it can, to a point. However, if you take simple living beyond giving away the shoes you never wear so you can reach the ones you do, you will encounter challenges. If you really take the simple life to heart, there is a good chance that your life will get much harder in some ways.

Why is this? Take a look at the first three dictionary definitions of the word “easy.”

1  a  :  causing or involving little difficulty or discomfort <within easy reach>

b  :  requiring or indicating little effort, thought, or reflection <easy clichés>

2  a  :  not severe :  lenient <hopes they’ll be easy on him>

b  :  not steep or abrupt <easy slopes>

3 a  :  marked by peace and comfort <the easy life of a courtier>

Based on how the word simple is used, one might expect the definitions to be similar. I have to admit, I was surprised when I saw the first three definitions of “simple” in the Merriam Webster Dictionary.

1      :  free from guile :  innocent

2  a  :  free from vanity :  modest

b  :  free from ostentation or display <a simple outfit>

3     :  of humble origin or modest position <a simple farmer>

Free from guile and vanity? That’s hard, maybe even impossible. And who wants to be of humble origin or modest position? Not only is there no promise of easy living here, there is an added requirement. Evidently, simple living should be about our attitudes as much as our belongings and actions.

So, before you go out and plant a garden or buy a grain mill or move into a tiny (or small for your family size) home, get ready to be strong. I can’t tell you what difficulties you will face in your situation, but I hope I have recorded enough of my challenges in this blog to give you a balanced picture of our life.

Any one else have a simple vs. easy experience to share?

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