The joys of simplicity: Why less is more

October 10, 2017 Published by
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Today, the word “simplicity” flowed gently through the window of my mind creating a calmness within me. I focused long and hard on one word and one thought and it felt marvelous, darlings. Imagine sheer drapes swaying gently and gracefully back and forth in perfect rhythm caused by gentle trade winds gliding through an open window. The window, the wind, and the sheer drapes become one creating calm and clarity. For mortal man the ability to be in sync with a plain and simple lifestyle is near impossible. The art of simplicity takes discipline because there is so much at our fingertips.

I am burdened with all that I do and yet I love most of what I do… or do I? I have been questioning myself of late.

Four short vignettes on simplicity

My ultimate concierge and I dine out most evenings. Each evening my husband says to me, “What would you like for dinner?” I answer, “I don’t know?” His response, “Would you like to share?” I answer, “Let me look at the menu.” I glance at the menu and see a 1,000 choices! Salads, appetizers, soups, entrees, sides and I close my eyes, thinking, “I will share whatever my husband desires rather than go through this menu.” There is no calmness, no clarity, no simplicity.

The scene is a restaurant in Cannes, France. We walk up an old cobbled street where we are greeted, before we enter, by the owner who hands me one rose. I am beyond happy. We enter a quaint space with a wood burning fireplace. The menu reads simply:  For your pleasure: grilled chicken, meat or fish, two vegetables, two starches and two desserts.

The piece d’ resistance, a large wooden salad bowl, is placed in the middle of the table with wedges of lettuce, uncut vine ripe tomatoes, large scallions and uncut cucumber as well as two knives to make your own salad. What a difference. Simplicity at its finest.


I remember walking down the beach in Sarasota, Florida. There were a million sea shells. I collect shells but recall the day as one of havoc as my eyes darted here there and everywhere. I went back to our hotel, empty-handed. Too much tumult for my eyes and mind. There was no clarity, no calmness, no simplicity.

And, now I remember a day in Nantucket, walking along the sea shore with my husband. We were the only ones on the beach with the exception of one very old woman far back from the shore in the tall reeds. She kept bending over and lifting up. I was curious and convinced my husband to wade through the reeds to her side. She was collecting seashells and gave me one. I have kept it in a glass box for years. The joy of simplicity. The joy of life.

What is simplicity?

My definition of simplicity is to select what is important to me and discard what is not important to me.

At this moment my life has no empty space. There is no time to simply be.

I suppose that is why I loved Island living. There were not too many people, clothing was insignificant, not too many activities and things. There I had time to watch the ever-changing sea, time to see close friends, not millions of people, and laugh, bond and talk. Life was not artificial, but natural. There was no ‘too much.’ It was simplicity at its finest.

I do not live any longer on an Island and neither do you so as I sit in my apartment in the sky overlooking my beautiful Chicago on a cloudy day one word comes to mind for all of us to think about darlings: balance.

I must and I promise myself I will do the following in order to create simplicity for myself because the multiplicity of my world is crowding in on me. If you like choose this as your new mantra: .

I will not allow myself to move away from the center of activities I enjoy. Less of everything… is more.

I will not allow myself to be distracted by others, not to include loved ones or my nearest and dearest needs and desires. Less distraction… is more.

Quality is far more important to me than quantity. Less of everything… is more.

I will retain an awareness of things I love and discard what I do not love. I love solitude over a mad hatter environment; I love interesting people over boring ones, I love kind-hearted empathic personality plus girlfriends, not social climbers who live in a box, I adore nature and walks, I love balance. I love tiny bistros and gorgeous restaurants where I can dine with my husband and close friends, I love small boutiques, I love shells and orchids and everything real.

My shell sitting in its glass box on my desk reminds me of who I really am. Now I have to remind, myself.

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17 Comments

  • Becky says:

    I love this, I think simplicity is the way to achieve true happiness. I really enjoy your posts, makes us stop and think about what is important in our lives
    Thank you!

  • LaQuita Diercks says:

    I agree! Less is more!

  • Rose says:

    Sometimes “all” of it, is just to fill a space in our lives that only God can. The new format is just right. …kudos.

  • Lorra Richard says:

    Simplicity, it is a child e within itself. But once you reach that place. Ahhhhh. Thank y’all u for your thoughts on this subject. ????

  • Frances says:

    “To be content with little is true happiness.” This has become my mantra and my husband and I are so grateful our lives have become true to this saying. A big downsize in our lifestyle has made such a difference in our quality of life. The things, the stuff, the quantity do not matter anymore. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I do relate!

  • Susan says:

    Just got back to Chicago from my home in Marathon, Florida where hurricane Irma has caused havoc in that peaceful paradise. You would be proud of the strength of the people of the Keys and the helpers from around the country who, with an attitude of strength and cheerfulness, are working to bring back normalcy and beauty to our formerly lovely islands.

  • Kate says:

    Many years ago my job would take me to a rehabilitation hospital. I would look around in the therapy room and couldn’t help but notice there were people from every part of our society. The person that lived in poverty sitting next to a retired CEO. All were wearing terry cloth bibs and learning skills as though they were children again. It was very sad. I came home and said to my husband I just saw our future. We aren’t going to kill ourselves for stuff. The price isn’t worth it. Due to our choices of how we would live and work we don’t have the great wealth some people have. You have to OK with that too. We’re very much at peace with it.

  • Julie Van Ameyde says:

    I am struggling with having the time to downsize my environment. I love this and this is my goal!

  • Sharon Zinn says:

    Why is it that we learn simplicity, less and how to be calm at a later age. Life would have beern far less stressful in our 40’s and 50’s. Oh well, better to have it than live a lifetime without this gift. So enjoy your columns .

  • Peggy says:

    I really enjoy your daily notes….especially this one. I am beginning to practice minimalism. I have so much stuff that needs so much of my valuable attention. I want my attention to be blessed….not….gosh, I can’t even think of a good word.

    Less is More!

    Thanks you Honey!

  • victoria breen says:

    I love this posting, Honey. We all need to focus on what really matters to us, and discard the rest. Clutter clutters the mind and robs our souls. Especially when it comes to our wardrobes…..all these huge closets stuffed with clothing, shoes and bags…….when is enough enough, or way tooooo much? Americans value stuff….poor quality over quantity. We all need a shift in priorities, and the latest events should have certainly shown us what is important in life. And you, my dear friend !!! are important to more people than you will ever know in person!!!!! ( I agree with you about menu choices….how good could all of it possibly be,.??????? )

  • Donna says:

    Thank you for the reminder to slow down and let go.

    Your new format radiates simplicity!

  • Donna says:

    Thank you for your blog today! I always love opening your musings & discovering each new subjext. You build up my spirits! I feel much the same as you, especially today. You make me think & spark my imagination. Maybe it is the Chicago in me, as I am a native, now retired in FL! Keep up the joy!

  • Shirley says:

    This is one of my favorite writings! Simplicity as you describe is o e of the very best parts of this this time of life. Blessings, gratitude and love to you . ❤️

  • Carol says:

    When everything in your life becomes an item on your to-do list, it’s time to simplify. My problem is how to whittle it down, because most of it is important to me! I’m growing older and slower, so not all the items are getting checked off. Thank you, Honey, for giving me a nudge. 🙂

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      Happy to nudge, anytime! Your problem is everyone’s problem. Let go of things that no longer make your heart sing. Makes sense? Warmly, Honey

  • Sue says:

    Thank you for thoughtful post and I couldn’t agree more. I have been a Quaker for several years and love the peace and simplicity that is part of being Quakerly x

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