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Ten ways to life more simply
On Nature
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This week a friend said to me, "I thought when the children went off to college that our lives would slow down. Instead, they seem to be speeding up."
Many of us feel as if we're running constantly, and that we can't stop. Even I, who work at home and often never leave the farm for days at a time, find myself sprinting to meet deadlines, do the chores, finish projects. Sometimes I am literally running, dashing back and forth from my office.
I find myself racing the clock, the weather, seasons, the calendar, age, colleagues and my own goals. The more we dash, the more of the Earth's resources we consume, the more stressful, the more unhealthy.
However, I believe we can make conscious decisions to decelerate. Some people call it voluntary simplicity, which means improving the quality of your life although perhaps not your bank account.
Here are a few ideas for slowing down.
1. Once a week (or more often) refuse to climb into your vehicle at all.
2. Literally decelerate. Keep your speedometer below 55.
3. Take the time to walk instead of drive whenever you can.
4. Fly half as much this year as you did last year.
5. Stay home.
6. Try slow food, not fast food. Put on some blues and prepare a good, home-cooked meal. Relish it with your family.
7. The more possessions I own, the more responsibilities I have. Therefore, buy less, shop less. Get by with what you have. Sometimes our family keeps a daily log to track how we spend money. Even the simple act of recording expenses makes us think twice about making a purchase. Do I really need this? I ask myself. Can I make it myself or make do with something I already have?
8. Learn to say no to those tasks that aren't worth the effort. Focus on the essential.
9. Get out of debt and stop paying interest and fees.
10. Do what you love and spend time with those you love.

Ray is the author of "Ecology of a Cracker Childhood," which was chosen Book All Georgians Should Read 2001.
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