21 Weeks to go in the SimpleSizeMe ABC Marathon. Looking at the ‘E’s this week…
Thank you Audrey Hepburn for popularizing simple black. Orange will pass! The miracle of the little black dress – cotton knit to luscious gossamer – can go anywhere. Buy to last. You won’t be sorry. Just as elegance is used in math, computing, or science, it means a solution to a problem that is ingenious and simple. “American closets shock me…no one can dress well with so many clothes,” said Andree Putman, French interior and product designer, who was known to be wary of excess in anything. She felt elegance means less.
We hold elegant devices in our hands – smart phones – where more is edited out. Elegance edits out complication.
This blog series you’re reading is an edit. With 26 weeks of the ABC Marathon model, it’s structured in weeks and alphabet because it’s a simple plan I can manage. E&E – edit and eliminate. Consider your daily activities: dressing, eating, emailing, shopping, exercising, meeting, cooking, cleaning, advising, thinking, or any other activity. Edit and eliminate what feels bulky – what’s complicating you – what is not contributing value to you or what you’re doing. Some things ARE complicated. But much of what we do is made so by someone else’s methods. With the act of editing, find simpler ways to get the same – or better – results with just enough.
Question everything. To any urge to do or buy or acquire, ask Who said? Why am I doing this? What does your instinct or budget tell you? Listen.
Sometimes we give away what we have; then we don’t have enough. It still amazes me that more people sitting in poorly run business meetings don’t stand up and shout, “Enough”! Time itself is a precious commodity; why do we let people steal it from us? We’re often bamboozled by bad leadership and sacrifice our personal lives to our jobs. Can you edit your job and find better ways to get to the desired result?
Endurance & Economy & Ecosystems
Consumerism gave us durable goods – which the mid-century design/manufacturing concept of planned obsolescence made UN-durable. Yet, even today, automobile leases convince the public that 3 years means boredom – or worse, diminished performance. In Deep Economy (2004), Bill McKibbon, leading environmental activist, talks about the need for an economy that grows less quickly than the one we have – but has more endurance. What about the economy under your own roof? Make your goods durable. Buy what will serve multiple purposes for the next 5-10 years or a lifetime – not the next 3 years – the well crafted pen, trench coat, car, or furniture. Explore elegant alternatives to things that junk your body, home, or planet.
Endurance is admirable – whether in fitness or a gift we hope will be regarded as a legacy. Nothing is the New Black, declares a headline in one of my favorite websites, LifeEdited ( http://www.lifeedited.com). You can do the same: enjoy the luxury of less. Downsizing is actually upsizing the value of your life.
My favorite food phrases include eat like you give a damn, as well as eat food-mostly plants-not too much. I’ll talk about food in “F” week.
But if you simply eat by the “E”s this week, you’ll be eating in a smart simplesized way: edit your food for top nutrition; eat elegantly; eat just enough; eat for your endurance and for that of your economy and our ecosystems.
Dread a prosperity which only loads you with more. Ralph Waldo Emerson