I had quite the IM exchange with my son in Senegal. (He is finishing up his two-year Peace Corps assignment.) He had been reading my blog and commented that he thought that I was merely offering band-aids to people who had chosen to live complex lives. He said that I don’t talk enough about simplification and that I just focus on coping with complexity.
Not surprising coming from a twenty-four year old returning from living in the bush with no running water and no electricity. And he plans to return to hike the Appalachian Trail and then start a simple life. Good for him. My wish for him has never changed – find happiness. And hopefully he finds his path (pun intended).
Most of us, however, do live complex lives. We have chosen to manage careers and struggle to find the right balance with our personal and family life. I strongly believe that some of my band-aids: stepping back during the day, device etiquette, or even my stress-free commute strategy are useful.
But before he signed off, my son made a final recommendation that I agree with:
"The overall direction I’d be going would be to simplify things and not cope with complexity"
I will address this and I will evolve by focusing on reducing guilt. I thought I’ve done pretty well, but as I think about his words, I realize that I have too many self-driven activities that I will now adjust for simplicity.
My resolutions on simplifying and reducing guilt:
- Not living in Twitter. This is my avocation, not my vocation. I enjoy it. But when I’m in, I’ll learn and connect and when I’m not – no guilt.
- Not reading personal email all the time. Keep it asynchronous as it should be - and more mellow.
- Getting into Quicken twice a week, not once a day. No problem.
- Not worrying about all the things I’ve missed when I can’t get to the feed reader. I’ll survive without all that info in a timely manner.
Progress? Maybe. Hey, Daniel! I took your sister to a Ray Davies concert Sunday night and actually missed a Sunday evening work call to prep for a Monday meeting. No guilt. (Of course I had a colleague cover...)
And although I will still continue to read the Sunday New York Times, I've got more work to do. It’s great to see the young mentor the old!
Note for those that are wondering about my son having access to IM: His Peace Corp region is 35 kilometers from his village and he bikes there where he can go to an internet café.