Being free from living a life someone else wants us to live

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Being free from living a life someone else wants us to live

Simple Matters: A Scandinavian’s Approach to Work, Home, and Style by Jenny Mustard, Gibbs Smith, US $26.99, Pp 176, September 2018, ISBN 978-1423649632

Few people like simplicity in life because words like simple or simplicity sound boring. It brings to mind a life full of sacrifice, self-control, and possibly your not-so-impressive income. In Simple Matters, Jenny Mustard sees simplicity as freedom rather than sacrifice and self-control. Jenny Mustard inherited moderation says as a born and raised Swede. She says that the Swedish population is small, the language is small, and their wish for extravagances even smaller. They find beauty and calm in the understated, as you’re probably well aware if you’ve ever picked up a Scandi interior design magazine. Jenny Mustard is a minimalist YouTube sensation, fashion and lifestyle blogger, and a vegan foodie. She is a Swede living in Berlin, by way of London.

However, she says that her love for simple matters isn’t only because of her Swedish upbringing. She writes, “My apartment is sparse and clean, and my wardrobe free from flamboyance such as primary colors but my simplicity vein runs redder than that. Often less to do with my physical surroundings, and more with the weird and wondrous place of the mind. Less to do with the number of possessions I have, or the monochrome level of my wardrobe, and more with getting into a frame of mind I enjoy spending time in, no matter the size and shape of that particular frame.”

Jenny Mustard believes that getting to know ourselves — our preferences, dreams, and needs — and then having the guts to go after them, is a pursuit worthy of our increasingly hard-to-capture attention. Asking what we want for ourselves, and listening intently to the answer. To do this we need to give our minds some space: a space full of energy and time, and free from chatter and distractions. Not to mention being free from the demands of society, from leading a life someone else has told us we want. Unless we know ourselves fully well, we cannot live the life we want to live.

Jenny Mustard writes, “Now we’re moving into my territory, of seeing simplicity as freedom from rather than the sacrifice of… Paying attention to ourselves, instead of to the myriad things we are indifferent to or find unnecessary. This way of living has, for me at least, proven to be utterly enjoyable. Not an ascetic experience void of emotions or wishes, but one of the everyday pleasures, of feeling like I’m being true to myself. Of being given a bit of a damn, and prioritizing what matters. Of throwing out the cookie cutter and going freehand.” She says that she finds the freehand kind of attention level hard to reach without some serious noise reduction. Simple Matters will go a long way to help create a space with a luxurious kind of simplicity and everyday pleasures aplenty.

Simple Matters is a fascinating book that teaches us how to live a simple life and enjoy it too. Drawing upon her experience as a Swede, she convincingly argues that the only way to live a happy life is to live it the way you want to live — simple. When we live unhappily when we let others live our lives. Few things are as enjoyable as freedom – a life free from social pressures. As it is easier said than done, Jenny Mustard tells us how we can perform this uphill, daunting task. Simple Matters is a key to a happy and successful life.

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