“The simple life.” It’s the epitome of happiness and tranquility, yet nearly all Americans find themselves on an ever-accelerating treadmill that makes their lives anything but simple. Here are a few tips for eliminating the complications in your life that keep you from achieving that state of bliss we all dream of:
○ Do as many of your recurring financial transactions as barter. If you have a special skill, such as cooking, for example, pay your dentist in delicious casseroles.
○ Keep your life’s savings in a steel drum buried in your yard. Banks charge outlandish fees that eat into your principle.
○ Do odd jobs around the neighborhood for extra cash. Babysit, walk dogs, do yard work, and use your car as an Uber or Lyft—preferably all of the above. Soon you’ll be raking it in.
○ If you do have to pay for things with actual money, always negotiate. The grocery store cashier is authorized (this is not widely known) to haggle on the price of everything from toothpaste to spaghetti squash. Just ask! (And don’t pay any attention to the angry patrons in line behind you.)
○ Put your children to work! Send them around the neighborhood collecting for a popular-sounding charity—“Save the Old Red Barn,” for example. The fun part: there is no such charity. You get to keep the proceeds.
○ Instead of toothpaste, a dollop of margarine makes a perfectly good dentifrice. Alternatively, use toothpaste in place of margarine in your cooking.
○ Save time cleaning by fastening Swiffer pads to your dog’s paws (rubber bands work great). As Rex wanders around the house, he’s dusting your floors!
○ A little saliva is a better solvent than Simple Green. Try it on pesky countertop messes.
○ You don’t need very much water to take an effective bath. Fill a gallon milk jug with warm water, sit naked in the tub, and pour the water over your dirtiest parts. Soap up. Rinse. You can also use a sudden thunderstorm as an outdoor shower.
○ Double up in bed. Kids don’t need their own rooms, with their busy schedules. In fact, you can sleep up to six in one room with a large futon and having the kids sleep head-to-foot. It works! (Sleeping standing up against the wall is also an option, with the aid of Velcro pajamas.)
○ Like so many millennials and Gen Z’ers, get rid of your cable or satellite dish. You can watch almost any TV show through your neighbor’s window.
○ Entertain the whole family with clever word games around the kitchen table. Here’s one: I’m thinking of a word. Can you guess it?
○ Learn to play a musical instrument and delight your friends and family with your rendition of “Billie Jean”—on trombone.
○ Instead of buying new books, keep rereading the ones you already own.
○ There’s still a certain little thing called radio, people!
○ Dump the Smartphone. Nobody needs the internet 24/7, so use the local public library as your communications center. Catch up on email, Skype with friends and family, and tell the scolding reference librarian that your taxes pay for this and you intend to take full advantage, bitch.
○ Video games are bad for childhood development, so wean the kids off of them and hand each one a length of string tied to make a loop. Say the words “cat’s cradle” and send them on their way.
○ Rather than relying on social media for your sense of identity, stand on any street corner and shout out what you had for breakfast that morning, your political opinions, and any random thoughts that occur to you. Passersby will be happy to share their impressions of you too!
○ Limit the number of people in your life to no more than five. Since we all have to work, this means you’ll likely have to eliminate many relatives from the list, and that’s a plus!
○ When you must interact with others, keep conversations to a minimum by using the phrase “I’m already bored” liberally.
○ In matters of romance, remember that love fades and the best you can hope for is a companion to care for you as you grow old. In other words, marry for money.
Well, we hope these tips help you to simplify your life, but it’s by no means comprehensive. There are always new ways to eliminate the complications, even if you’re already happy. Happiness is transient, right? The more you simplify, the more you’ll realize that a life devoid of activity or stimulation of any kind is the ideal life.
Keep it simple!
Rhonda Dawson is a writer and thinker from Kansas City, who writes and thinks in her small studio apartment with a cat and a mynah bird.