I don’t know about you, but this whole quarantine experience has me yearning for a simple life. I’ve always felt drawn to a self-sustained lifestyle, but living in San Diego makes that near impossible, unless you have a few spare million laying around for a plot of land out in the mountains. I joke with one of my best girlfriends often that we’re going to just get a bit of land and live communally with our gardens and our chickens. Long-haired toddlers running barefoot through the grass and picking raspberries from the bush. It’s my dream.
I think we get caught up in the busyness of the world and the constant shadow of working toward the next achievement. Especially with our thumbs in near constant scroll, we’re always looking to what’s next, what’s bigger, what’s better. We see “influencers” and celebrities with expensive clothing and gadgets that our brain automatically thinks we need in order to keep up. I often think about things I’ve purchased or lusted after and wondered, “Would I have wanted this if no one else was going to see it?” If there wasn’t that implied satisfaction of sharing it with an audience and touting your style, affluenties, privilege, etc., would you care as much about spending your hard-earned dollars on those things?
Quarantine has brought up a lot of these questions for me. I know bloggers and influencers who have bought second homes just to have somewhere to create content and engage with their audience. How can we keep up? Quarantine has made me tired. Tired of social injustice, tired of busyness, tired of judgement of others. I don’t want to look at an Instagram feed and feel anything negative or anything that undercuts my self-worth. But I digress a bit. We’ve been staying at home for four months at the time of writing this, with no real end in sight. But instead of wishing we were out there acquiring more, more, more, I find myself wishing for less. For simpler.
I want a simple life. I want a cozy home that my family fills with love. I want to spend my days tending to my vegetables and flowers and reaping the rewards of my labor. I want to wake up with the sun and pull on my Wellies to feed the chickies their breakfast. I want to do puzzles, read all of the books and make food for my family. And wanting all of this doesn’t make me any less of a “go-getter.”
The “cottagecore” movement romanticizes a lot of these things, and make no mistake, I am here for it. Of course, I’d love to be roaming the English countryside in my favorite floral print dress with a straw basket and my favorite Joan Didion novel. That sounds like a dream. But I want a dream that I don’t have to document. One that isn’t a trend or an aesthetic put on like a costume for the sake of “hearts” and “likes.” I want to pare back everything that the modern world has convinced us we need in order to be happy and focus on what’s simple.
Of course, I know a “simple” life doesn’t mean an “easy” life. I’ve been friends with enough agrarians to know it’s the opposite. It’s hard and can be grueling. But what I want my life to be moving forward is one of uncomplicated joys and the feeling that comes with keeping it simple and true. I want to feel sunshine on my skin and return to a time where we didn’t live a certain way in order to impress a group of people we don’t even know. For me, simple is beautiful. Slow is the dream.