For some, simple living means leaving urban areas for rural farmland, preferably with a vineyard, animals, and fields of lavendar. For some, it’s about staying home with the kids. While I understand the appeal of these common dreams, I’ve realized lately that all those fantasies have their complications.
A rural life can be back-breaking and tough financially. You trade suit and tie for mud-covered overalls. You don’t clock in at 9 am to 5 pm but you probably work dusk to dawn if you need money to survive. Of course you can run a bed and breakfast in Tuscany or Provence or other more “rural” paradise, but you need a lot of money to buy into that dream (and it requires work also). Less commuting and less office politics would be a welcomed bonus however!
Staying home with kids holds obvious appeal for many exhausted working parents. But it’s important for me to remember that I wouldn’t be spending hours and hours reading to them, walking in the park or just playing with them. I would have to do a lot more laundry and house cleaning, too! It’s not that I’m spared those chores now but I definitely can offload many chores and errands due to my work schedule.
So other than rural escape or quitting my job, what is my ideal simple life? The answer: A life free from mounds of paperwork, bureaucracy and bills. If only I could live life without having to call so-and-so about an incorrect charge on my bill, write letters to insurance companies, call my cable or phone company to renegotiate my rates, or fill out forms ever again.
This is probably at the top of my mind because I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with both the government and private insurance for a myriad of reasons. I know the words government and bureaucracy go together while corporations are seen as more efficient. That may be true if you compare the government with Walmart or Coca-Cola, but if you compare the Big Government with Blue Shield, Cigna or any private health insurer, you’ll soon get a huge headache with rude or inept customer service reps, overwhelming bills, billing errors and paperwork, too.
I supposed I could simplify this area of adult life if my husband took care of everything but I don’t think it’s a good idea to step back that much or be that clueless about finances and other bills/paperwork that affect us both. Maybe that’s why we cherish our childhoods so much. That’s when our parents scheduled doctor appointments and dealt with all our bills!
Other than running off to a tropical paradise and living off the land, is there really a way to escape from paperwork?