We are at the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. We have exchanged our old lives in England for our new ones here on the Greek island of Crete. Now that we are actually here we feel that we should properly consider how we want to live our lives. What are we trying to achieve here? How are we going to go about it? Mr Sidestepping-Normal and myself sat down the other day and tried to come up with our ethos for a better quality of life. These were our conclusions…
This is probably the most important philosophy to us, all of the others fall under this statement in one way or another. The key to a better quality of life is to simplify it. Life is so stressful and complicated nowadays. In the past, things were so simple in comparison. There has to be some link between how our busy hectic lives impact our mood and mental health. We all have a constant list of things to do (us included) and it feels like we are forever chasing our tails. We are striving to simplify every aspect of our lives and to eliminate all of the things that are unnecessarily stressing us.
Have less out-goings = gain time
If we don’t have so may out-goings and we reduce the amount of money we need to live on, then we inadvertently reduce the amount of time we need to work. The concept of working isn’t the enemy, it’s whether you get satisfaction from the work that you do. If you are lucky enough to find a job that you love, then it will never truly feel like work. However for many of us, work is necessary and unfulfilling. Finding more of a balance between work time, leisure time, family time etc is the key point to finding a better quality of life.
Own less belongings
We grew up along with everyone else being told that to be successful, you must aim for more of everything. A bigger house, a better car, more belongings, more of everything. Why do we need all of this “stuff”?
It makes companies a lot of money but it doesn’t make us any happier. We are force-fed advertisements wherever we go. It’s main objective is to make us feel dissatisfied with what we have and to encourage us to spend money.
We cast our minds back to the times that we felt the happiest and stumbled upon the fact that we felt happy when we were backpacking. Our backpacks held the few possesions we needed, and we literally felt free of the baggage that normally weighs us down. We also experienced a similar feeling when we downsized our possessions and lived in a caravan.
We are striving to get rid of the things that we don’t need or don’t use. We want to value the fewer possessions we do have, rather than weigh ourselves down with lots of “stuff.”
Less possessions = Less worry Less worry = A better quality of life
Once upon a time we would have felt dissatisfied with a small house. However nowadays, we put far more value on outside space than inside space. We spend so much of our time in the garden or out in the countryside. On a side note, we also don’t want to spend our time cleaning a big house! I can whizz around our villa and everything is spic-and-span in half an hour, leaving me time to do things of more importance.
Live in a small house: reduce the need to heat a big space or own unnecessary things
We never planned to live in a small house. As we have progressed on this journey to find out what truly makes us happy, we have realised that less is definitely more. We are really pleased that we have a “bijou abode.”
Have the least amount of impact on the planet as we can:
We feel that one of the biggest failings of the modern world is to view ourselves as something separate from nature. Nature is intrinsically part of us, but it has become an acceptable and normalised belief that we are something superior. We are aiming to have the least amount of impact on the planet by implementing many simple techniques to become more environmentally friendly. We’re on a quest to reduce waste, reduce chemicals, and live more in harmony with nature.
Cut out as many chemicals from our lives as we can
This ties in to the statement above. Specifically we want to eliminate as many of the chemicals in our daily lives as we can. Everything seems to be bulked out with chemicals and we feel very aware that they are harmful to us and the planet. We are step-by- step working to remove the chemicals in; our beauty products, cleaning products, gardening products, food etc by making our own or sourcing natural alternatives.
Produce less rubbish:
When we think about the amount of rubbish we have made over our lifetimes so far, we feel disgraced. It’s only now that we understand that rubbish doesn’t actually go away. Instead it gets buried, burnt, blows around the countryside or litters the ocean. We’re passionate about producing as little waste as we can. We are focussing on eliminating all of the unnecessary rubbish that ends up in our bin. Looking to the future, we strive to be zero waste but we understand that it’s a process. If everyone did just a little, it would have a huge impact.
Become more self sufficient:
This is an area that we are completely new to and have no real knowledge on. We have always bought our food from the shop without much thought. We are aiming to grow as much of our diet as we can. Although we don’t have a lot of land, we are trying to use the space we do have as efficiently as we can. We are debating whether it makes sense to spend a lump sum of money on purchasing a plot of land, or whether we should keep that money aside and make use of the space we do have…watch this space!
Consume less animal products:
We are passionate animal lovers. It always pricks our conscience when we think of what our food really is and where it came from. As with the above statements it has been a journey to get to the point that we are at now. We previously ate meat and dairy whilst ignoring the subject of animal welfare or ethics. As we pondered the subject we have gradually tried everything.
It’s been a process. Primarily, we started with high welfare meat, locally sourced meat, organic meat, less meat, vegetarianism, veganism and now flexitarianism. We still feel confused by what we want to eat and the reality of the processes behind it. We are on a quest to eat a wholesome plant-based diet that keeps us feeling healthy and happy without the guilt.
Embrace being imperfect:
The above statements are really important to us. We feel really strongly about them, but it’s important that we don’t feel stressed when we aren’t able to abide by our ideals all of the time or if we can’t implement them fully to our lives.
I am so so guilty of this! I put huge amounts of pressure on myself to live by my beliefs and I feel awful when I can’t, or I’m not able to.
We are all on a journey and we can’t accomplish everything at once. Breaking it all down into steps, and gradually achieving a better quality of life is far better than doing nothing at all.
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