Crunchy · Simple Life

The Simple Life, Part 2

Part of my Simple Life: Waiting for the Bus

Part of my Simple Life: Waiting for the Bus

As promised, I write again about the simple life. On my last post about the simple life, I discussed how PC changed my worldview and how I believe God calls me to this simpler life. But I didn’t get into the nitty gritty.

When I was little, my family wasn’t wealthy by any means, and most of my wardrobe came from Goodwill. I felt no shame in it, though I DO feel shame about some of my fashion choices….neon pink jeans and a dayglow sweater? I have no clue why my Mom let me out of the house like that….sorry I don’t have a picture (not really).

By the time I reached middle school, I began to understand that second-hand clothes were not acceptable, nor was my awful-boy-haircut, and went through a few years of being bullied. So when I got to high school, I started to cave to society’s expectations some. I bought most of my clothes from JC Penney’s which was relatively cheap but reasonably fashionable. I spent too much time worrying about how I looked and what other people thought of me-being bullied was no fun and I didn’t want to go through that again. I got caught up in the materialistic expectations of the world…and I AM a little ashamed of that. Then again, I was a high schooler, so it was kind of natural to go through that….

Fast forward to college, when I began learning about sustainability and was exposed to a new crowd of people-a crowd which appreciated diversity and differences, rather than sameness. I grew to be an individual, my own unique self. I found that shopping in consignment shops and Goodwill was a fun adventure, and quite complementary to my college student budget. I became a bit more unconventional, and loved it. Now one of my favorite things to do with my Mom is to go to “the Stuff Store” and hunt for amazing deals. I also enjoy camping with my parents and taking a long bike ride with my Dad, which isn’t always considered a normal fun activity.

Fast forward again to graduation and the Peace Corps, and now I’m forced to live a very simple life. I have literally ridden on a horse cart for transportation, and I regularly haul weeks’ worth of groceries about a mile to my house from the “hitching point” in my village, where I eventually find transportation. I haul water and have a routine of boiling and filtering in order to avoid parasites. I use a pit latrine/outhouse for all my business (TMI? Nah). My air conditioning involves open windows and occasionally a fan. And when the power goes out, I read by candlelight at night.

The simple life is HARD, I won’t deny it. Hauling my groceries through desert sand as the sun beats relentlessly is something I HATE. But there are benefits. I can’t easily get distracted by “things of the world” because I don’t have access to them. I can spend time reading, writing, studying languages, reading my Bible, praising the Lord, praying, exercising, or simply thinking. I can form deeper relationships, even with a HUGE language barrier. And I can focus on meaningful work, helping my village feeds itself by the creation of a gardening project.

A learner helping to tend the school garden, my main project.

A learner helping to tend the school garden, my main project.

I’m not sure how my life will change once I move to the USA, but I will declare one thing here: I will NOT have cable. Please hold me to this. I love watching the news, so it will be easy to cave. But really, cable TV is a waste of time and life. I haven’t been able to follow my “favorite” TV shows for a year and a half, and you know what? Life goes on. I don’t care! TV is highly overrated, and I thank PC for making me realize that.

So back to this term I mentioned in my last post: Crunchy. Urban Dictionary it if you want, and understand that not all of those attributes apply to me. I’m not a hippie…some people think that only hippies join PC, but in reality, hippies can’t handle Peace Corps. 😉 But I am ready to get back to the basics and grow in my faith as I simplify my life. Want to join? Let’s be Crunchy Christians together!

See The Simple Life, Part 1 here.
-Jen

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