I believe in simplicity

Zehui - Briarcliff, New York
Entered on June 13, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

The heavy thuds of my feet and erratic panting of my lungs awaken a beat that is barely felt in a world marred by unnecessary honking in a gridlock or incessant ding of an instant message. It is rarely heard since the 1500’s when Native Americans walked their land without fears of white men, when Simplicity dominated our continent. This was a time when taking a breathe at the top of a mountain meant inhaling the power of our vast world, not because we ran out of breath. This was a time as Robert Louis Stevenson said, “when the flowers were at [our] feet, the light in [our] eyes, and the path ahead of [us.]”

Are we ever satisfied with what we own? To me, grass was greener on the other side, my mind always lingered on the newest iPod or how those 300-dollar sunglasses would sure brighten up my day. However, I figured out like a naïve little girl, that these things only take me so far when a savvier model replaces the one I own, or trendier sunglasses make mine “so last year.”

I revisited China after living six years in the States when Simplicity slapped me in the face. I could not understand why my family in China was content; they lived each day dauntlessly and without the constant ringing of their cell phones or the hum of their computers. They rode bikes to work, and took lengthy strolls to nearby mountains and parks. The first week there, I wanted to go home; I could not see myself walking up six flights of stairs or taking the bus to explore the city. I could not see myself not texting my friends or reading the latest celebrity gossip. Face glum, I sauntered around the apartment complaining about the bumpy bed or the lack of air conditioning, while my grandparents tried to do everything to please me. This is where Simplicity slapped me. She told me, stop being irrational and difficult, don’t be so pretentious and terminate this misery. Heeding her advice with slight resentment, I reluctantly joined my family after dinner to the park where I found myself racing them to the lake, chasing the geese with my little sister, and even playing badminton with my grandfather. I found myself breathless and my heart pumping, a mysterious sensation at first – unfamiliar and peculiar.

That summer was valuable not because of a heartbeat, but an existence it made me recognize. I grasped the possibility of happiness found in a simple routine where getting high was an eight-mile run in the rain or dancing with that special someone to our own music. DaVinci said that Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Happiness from objects is temporary, happiness from nature is eternal. To this day, I remember my devilish grin after geese escaped from me and my sister’s evil grasp. Eliminate clutter and rid the superfluous gimmicks at which we foolishly grip, then, I truly believe, that Simplicity will run its course.