How Simplicity Can Sometimes Be Uncomfortable
Excited to have Lindsay as a guest blogger this week! One of my favorite things about her is that she doesn’t live a “typical” life as a military spouse who travels the world, yet she relates to ALL with her perspective and the lessons she teaches through her stories! I have no doubt you will enjoy!
Our small family has moved from America to a third world country. It is a tremendous opportunity to try life from a different angle. However, even though we are willing and able, I am learning it takes courage to adapt to a new way of life. Although I’ve always prided myself in being adaptable, I find myself discouraged on most days here.
We do not have any internet yet. It will be another two months before our belongings arrive. The power sometimes works and often clicks off randomly. We cannot leave the house for simple walks most days because it is not safe to walk by ourselves. Our life has been reduced to uncomfortable simplicity.
Before we had a child, my husband and I were constantly living in a joyous state of discomfort. We lovingly boasted about our bouts of sickness on a trip to Cambodia, the many photos I posed for as a blonde in China, and the live octopus we chewed fiercely before swallowing in Korea. We could not get enough of the world and the people in it.
Somehow, after birthing our child into a safe, simple, suburb of America I lost my wanderlust. In the two years of raising my child with a predictable schedule and assumed freedoms that America brings with it, I am less adaptable.
I have grown accustomed to the immediacy of life in the States. With one click I’m acquainted with friends everywhere online. Videos and music spill from my phone on a whim. The glorious one-stop-shopping trip I make in my car has me piling the cart high with produce, meat, diapers, AND the random odd stationary.
It’s comfortable raising my child in a place and a culture I understand. I silently berate myself for wanting the ease and simplicity of “home” back on a daily basis. Where did that free spirit traveler go? Before I was a mother I glided around the globe with back pack in hand and an innate curiosity.
I feel lost. Somewhere deep in my brain whispers: “I only know how to be a mother in America.” But there is no going back. We’ve signed up for this adventure, and we are here to stay.
This morning our legs are curled under a soft, cozy blanket and we’re slowly picking our way through the ten books I brought in my suitcase. Books are a heavy weight to lug around the world, but I’m glad I put the muscle in to get them here. We know each story by heart- we’ve been reading them for six weeks straight.
As I speak the familiar stories out loud, I’m comforted by them. I think of how just a few months ago we were snuggled in a different apartment, far away from here and I’d tire of a book just a few readings in. I would sneakily swap out the stacks or hide certain favorites just so mommy could try a new adventure. Now I’m thankful for each precious gem in my bag that helps us pass the time together.
My bag holds many prizes. Each day we work through the contents of what I meticulously packed before the move. There is one container of coveted play-dough, two cross-stitches, my journal, my daughter’s favorite baby doll, and crayons. We also have my laptop, which I was smart enough to download music to before departure.
It’s just enough. The sweet cherub babe that accompanies me all day does not know any different. She does not ask for things from America. She is not missing out. Her two-year-old self is content to sit with me and read through our ten books. She is not hurting for the piles of toys we had- she just accepted what mommy brought in her special suitcase and plays with that.
My daughter delights over the bustling hike we take to gather groceries from the three stops that make up the butcher, the baker, and the dairy. She claps her hands when we see the random donkey or cow in the road. She does not shrink at the smells or jump at the trash on the side of the road like mommy does.
She loves that in the afternoons she gets to help me cook. I never did this much with her in America. But here, there are fewer distractions. I am less distracted and more patient.
So she stands on a box next to me in the kitchen and scrubs potatoes with me. She adds bright spices onto the meat and watches carefully as I stir up dishes on the stove.
I thought when we were moving that I would need to guide my daughter through this transition. I had years of travel, moves, and changes under my belt. I would show her how to be a baby of the world.
But instead, this place and my daughter are re-shaping me. This uncomfortable simplicity has married my wandering spirit and my motherhood soul. Two have become one, and we are living each day in the discomfort of new. I am remembering that discomfort is not bad. It is stretching me to be present.
I’m sure any day now we will finally get internet working. There are boxes coming that need to be unpacked. We’ll make new friends and this place will feel less foreign. Our social calendar will fill, and I’ll be back to the scramble. I will be missing this brief chapter that caused us to pause and lean on our one suitcase and one another.
Perhaps I can hold onto some of this simplicity, and rejoice in comfort too.
Tell us, what reminds YOU to live more simply? How do you think doing so would impact your life?