A Gratified Simplicity

Natalie - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

It happens to be a worldly controversy. Whether seemingly or underlying, it’s an issue we all deal with, have dealt with, or will sometime face. On large scales and small, it’s constantly under a scrutinizing eye, from our peers, the general public, from ourselves. It ignites a battle between self-identity and the element of conforming, and appears throughout many aspects of our lives. Whether it’s the type of toothbrush we buy, the kind of vacation we take, or the brand of muffin for lunch, we’re confronted with it. Simplicity versus complexity.

Having lived in Los Angeles all my life, I hold a close observation of both species. Among the lavish living of effusive spenders and satisfaction of simplicity, the difference is met- that which parallels the world’s second richest man living in the same house for 40 years, and the corporate executive polishing the logo on his 4 jumbo jets. It’s the difference I feel as I stroll through a doubtlessly homogenized town, Blackberry in hand, bundled in my Coach Scarf; and it’s the difference I experience during the annual father-daughter San Jacinto backpacking trip with flashlights as the only electronic device. Somehow, this experience always seems to re-link the ties to my origins of simplicity- an origin universally met, without exception. Bursting out of the womb, never were we yet faced with the inquiry of simplicity versus complexity. Naked, pure, and simple- we arrived in the most basic form.

My experience in the mountains has brought me to level with a number of things, be it the nature surrounding me, a tranquil state of mind, or most importantly, myself. It’s knowing that your own self-sufficiency is the ultimate source of survival; it’s the simplicity of independence and subtle isolation which truly proves the greatest of all joys. It’s the absence of a ringing cellphone, 5-page term paper, or daunting peer criticizing your every move, replaced with ease and a healthy separation from life’s often overbearing nature. With the most basic of self-understanding, you’re a free individual- from conformity, from criticism, from complexity. In this window of time, I approach this re-kindled self-realization, finding happiness in the most outrageously simple and unexpected forms. And it’s then, when genuinely we have leveled with ourselves, do we find beauty in simple.

Perhaps it’s the stemming of generosity I see in the simple individual, lack of superficiality, or down-to-earth sense they exude when sacrificing a gas guzzling luxury car for the austerity of a hybrid, which inspires me. Whatever its roots may be, to observe a pureness of satisfaction no PDA, sports-car, or peer approval could craft, I smile at the power to live simply. While I won’t criticize those who don’t, I’ll always applaud those who do. And those living this life of simplicity, for your pureness and your sense of classic content, I must say that you inspire me. And with this simple satisfaction at heart, I believe in simplicity.