Growing up in a small town was simple then.  We didn’t have much in life but we were happy.  My father was a mechanic while mother was a home, keeping us the children. When someone got sick, that’s the time he or she could have a soft drink and a bread.

During Christmas and special occasions, we have two family size soft drinks, some breads and a chicken.  Every time our mother went to the market, we the children waited for her when she came home since we were sure she would bring some bread for us.

We went to school with a buri bag, which was “loaded “with two notebooks, some books and papers, and a pencil.  On some days, I had to bring a baon (rice and viand packed in banana leaf).

Our fastest form of communication in those days was telegram.  We had to count the words we sent because we paid per word.  Long distance was very expensive so we didn’t use it – especially if you were growing up in a province.

But those days are gone.  We are now living in a complicated world.  School children don’t go to the library anymore; they could always google the information they need.  Most children don’t play outside anymore; they are at home playing computer games.  No wonder, obesity is now a problem among children.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated,” Chinese philosopher Confucius said.  “As you simplify your life,” Henry David Thoreau pointed out, “the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness be weakness.”

Duane Elgin stated, “Simplicity of living, if deliberately chosen, implies a compassionate approach to life.  It means that we are choosing to live our daily lives with some degree of conscious appreciation of the condition of the rest of the world.”

Allow me to share a story taken from  There was a man who lived in a village.  The whole village, however, was tired of him.  The reasons: he was always gloomy, he constantly complained and was always in a bad mood.

The longer he lived, the viler he became and more poisonous were his words.  People did their best to avoid him because his misfortune was contagious.  He created the feeling of unhappiness in others.

But one day, when he turned eighty, an incredible thing happened.  Instantly, everyone started hearing the rumor: “The old man is happy today, he doesn’t complain about anything, smiles, and even his face is freshened up.”

The whole village gathered around the man and asked him, “What happened to you?”

The old man replied, “Nothing special.  Eighty years I’ve been chasing happiness and it was useless.  And then I decided to live without happiness and enjoy life.  That’s why I am happy now.

“Happiness,” said Rosamunde Pilcher, “is making the most of what you have.”  When people start to want things they cannot have, complications arise.  But when they change their thinking and wishes, everything changes.

“The greatest challenge in life is to be our own person and accept that being different is a blessing and not a curse,” Kilroy J. Oldster wrote in Dead Toad Scrolls.  “A person who knows who they are lives a simple life by eliminating from their obit anything that does not align with his or her overriding purpose and values.  A person must be selective with their time and energy because both elements of life are limited.”

Mehmet Mural Ildan, the author of the biographical Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, has this view in life that a person can be happy and be contented in life if he doesn’t demand for those things he cannot have.  He said: “Escape from complicated life!  Take refuge in simple life!  You will find three treasures there: Healthy body, peaceful mind and a life away from ambitious fools!”

Filipino environmentalist and nature lover MJ Jabican urged, “Don’t make your life complicated, live simply.”  But simple sometimes can be so complicated. “The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn’t simple,” observed Doris Janzen Longacre, author of enormously popular More With Less Cookbook.

As author of Make Dreams Happen Richie Norton puts it, “Simplicity is complex.  It’s never simple to keep things simple.  Simple solutions require the most advanced thinking.”  Amit Kalantri, in Wealth of Words, has another point of view: “One must learn to be simple; anyone can manage to be complex.”

Ritu Ghatpurey has this observation: “Lead a simple life.  First reduce your greeds.  Then reduce your needs.”  That seems to be simple indeed but still complicated.

It’s not only about living where simplicity matters.  Even when doing things, Listen to the words of American industrialist Lee Iacocca: “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak,” master painter and pioneering educator Hans Hofmann reminds.  To which the great novelist Ernest Hemingway adds, “My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”

If these famous people can do things in simple manner, why can’t we?  “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” Italian painter Leonardo Da Vinci once said.  

Know who you are and your standing in life.  “Knowing your purpose simplifies your life,” wrote Rick Warren, the author of the bestselling The Purpose-Driven Life.  “It defines what you do and what you don’t do.  Your purpose becomes the standard you use to evaluate which activities are essential and which aren’t.”

More often than not, all of us want to be a star, to be the center of attraction.  But only few can become a star in his own right.  So, if you can’t be a star, then be a tree.  But be a tree that bears fruit.  And if you cannot be a tree, then be contented of being a grass.  Don’t settle, however, of being just a grass.  If possible, be the best grass of all grasses.   

Simple enough, isn’t it?