Living simply, conquering frustration

One of my long-time dreams has been to live in a log cabin–a rustic, old-fashioned log cabin, with modern conveniences, of course.
I could picture it all in my mind’s eye–a loft for sleeping and possibly for writing, and a “great room” where all of our living would take place. A clutter-free great room; simplicity at its best!
It’s a dream that I’ve almost given up by now, but not entirely. In my file cabinets, I still have a fat folder entitled “Log Cabin.” In that folder are magazine articles and pictures saved over the years, featuring log cabins, mostly in wooded settings.
And a monograph about log cabins that I purchased years ago.
I’ve always loved the look of exterior and interior logs. But mostly I think I wanted to live in a simpler time and space.
A time before technology had taken over the universe. A basic computer possibly, but no “smartphones” or the frustration of Windows 8. A time of automatic washing machines and dishwashers with simple controls and no huge learning curves.
A time when appliances were made to last.
What I’ve dreamed of is a life with the advantages of technology without its problems–without its frustrations.
Frustration: the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something, says the dictionary. And the sample sentence is “I sometimes feel like screaming with frustration.”
That’s exactly it! Since my computer crashed six weeks ago, my inability to get things working has caused severe frustration and more than once I’ve really felt like screaming!
And that isn’t the whole story. Since the crash of my computer, our washing machine quit working, our van door and ramp had major problems, our dishwasher needed minor repairs, and I have bought a new high-tech La-Z-Boy chair.
I love my new chair. As I punch a button, my feet slowly ascend and my head goes back. And I’m almost asleep by the time my body is in place.
It works now; but like everything else in my life, it surely will develop problems sometime!
It is that awareness that makes me long for my log cabin and a simple life.
Living simply means different things to different people. For me, it means:
•Buying things when I really need them, not for show. Buying local whenever possible and doing very little shopping.
•Being in tune with the environment. Wasting little, and using organic and environmentally-friendly products. Buying quality items that are made to last, not to end up in the landfill.
•Using technology, but sparingly. Not buying every new gadget just because it’s there. Asking the question: “Will it improve the quality of my life?”
•Putting people first. Not being too busy for people–family or friends. Never letting a messy house deter me from having friends in.
And never apologizing. My friends come to see me, not my house!
•Finally, always having my priorities right.
In the complicated and frustrating 21st century, it’s important to live simply. How about you? What does living simply mean to you?
And how can you put your core values into practice?
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at