I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a happier time in my life, and the reasons that I perceive it to have been a happier time.

The overarching reason is because it was a much simpler time for me in a multitude of ways. From 1983-1991, I lived and worked in Colonial Williamsburg. Although I moved with a fair amount of regularity (as is the case when one is young and living in a college town), one of my favorite periods was when I was living in Mrs. Miller’s boarding house on Richmond Road. Mrs. Miller was an eccentric, nutty, bigoted, pill of a woman, but I loved the room I rented in her boarding house. It’s an old house (still there, but now a single family home and beautifully renovated) with 6 or 7 bedrooms. In the 1980s, the rooms were mostly rented for the semester by students from William & Mary. My own room was large and sunny and I had the benefit of an anteroom that had a small writing desk in it and windows on all sides; I also had the benefit of a private bath which had a claw foot tub and an ancient pedestal sink.

Mrs. Miller’s Boarding House (601 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185)

The room was rented furnished – all I owned were my clothes, my bedding, some books, a fan (no A/C at Mrs. Miller’s), and stationery. No TV, no car, no kitchen, no air conditioning (did I mention there was no A/C at Mrs. Miller’s??).

Because I had no car, I walked everywhere – to and from work, to the laundromat, to the store, to my friends’ apartments and houses – everywhere. I probably clocked about 3-4 miles a day, on average.

In addition, because I didn’t have a TV, I read A LOT and spent time going to the library, writing letters to friends and family, hanging out with friends, and exploring Williamsburg from one end to the other. I knew every crack in the sidewalk practically, between Mrs. Miller’s and the Historic Area.

Although I don’t have any desire to return to such an austere manner of living, I do have a desire to simplify my life and figure out what will bring meaning to me now, at this point in my life, as I face the autumn of life. Brené Brown suggests in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, that we all make a list of the “Ingredients for Joy and Meaning” in our lives. I think I will do that and begin to examine the practices in my life I need to increase and those I need to decrease.

2 thoughts on “Simplicity

  1. I really enjoy your blogs, Lori. I really like the last paragraph above and shall check out that book – because I am at the exact same place. Ray

    1. Thank you, Ray! The book is really excellent – I’ve had a few “aha” moments while reading it. My sister and I have been participating in an eCourse Brene Brown has been presenting for the last six weeks that focuses on the last five guideposts in the book. Last fall, we were in her first eCourse which focused on the first five.

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