Complicated. Apparently, It’s the New “Simple”

This week I am linking up with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria sisters.

Is it just me, or is there a conspiracy out there?

Our society keeps gaining more and more advanced technology, which was supposed to make our work easier and give us more free time. Instead, it just allows us to squeeze more and more work into the same 24 hours. Well…. work, AND Facebook, AND Words with Friends, which I persistently lose to my friend Jen but which I enjoy anyway. Most of us are plugged in every second, surrounded by nonstop noise, and by even more visual noise.

So we decide to fight back. “I will simplify my life,” we say.

Then what do we do? We have no idea how to live simply, so we turn to our electronic devices to tell us. We use search engines, prepare spreadsheets of solutions, take polls, read all the ads…

“You must buy ‘shabby’ home furnishings,” the ads say. “‘Shabby’ is simple. Order now.”


“You must fill your home with antique-replica ‘country’ stuff. ‘Country stuff’ is simple. Order now for free shipping.”


“You must cook all your food from scratch, using only whole-grain bell peppers and organic salt. Order our cookbook now for free shipping and a DVD showing you how to fix this stuff.” Okay, I’m honestly not making fun of raw / natural foods, because they really are healthy and delicious. The question remains, how does cooking from scratch save time over opening a few cans and drop-kicking the contents into the Crock Pot with a chicken breast?

But I digress. It just seems ironic to me that we have multi-billion-dollar industries growing up around our desire to simplify our lives. Is it possible we are being… played?

Case in point: Brent and I found a cookbook advertising “Seasonal, sustainable, simple, pure” recipes. It offered an appealing premise: meals can be flavorful and good for you. So we bought a copy and plunged into the entree section, looking for tasty, simple dinner ideas. Imagine our surprise when we found…

Many of the recipes actually consisted of three or four separate recipes.

Some of the sub-recipes called for one or more ingredients that you had to make from a recipe in a different part of the book. At least it gave page-number references…

We followed a couple of the remote sub-ingredient references, only to find that the sub-ingredient recipe referred us to yet another page, to make a sub-sub-ingredient.

Even the recipes that allowed us to stay on one page called for a daunting list of ingredients, many of which I have never heard of and cannot pronounce.

Footnotes eased our worry about those strange ingredients… They are available at exotic markets, probably only a 45-minute drive from our home, or we can simply order them online. (Really?)

At least we found these at a local store. Pretty local, anyway. Less than a half hour away.

At least we found these at a local store. Pretty local, anyway. Less than a half hour away.

Whew! We would flat-out starve to death.

As near as I can figure, we would all be less stressed if we quit listening to the “experts,” and just…

* spend less money than we make.
* eat real food.
* spend our time with the people we value most.
* spend the rest of our time on the things we value most.

And if an expensive designer “shabby” sofa pillow or a 47-ingredient recipe floats your boat, then go for it.

Thanks for reading,

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
This entry was posted in I Remember When... (my OWN stories), Near As I Can Figure... and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Complicated. Apparently, It’s the New “Simple”

  1. Oh darn. I can’t get the ‘like’ button to work. Love this story, Jan. Love you too!


  2. I routinely cook dishes that have 5 ingredients or less. One thing I can simplify is cooking because I simply cannot stand it. 🙂 And who is this Jen you speak of???


  3. You know, it’s funny you should say this…we live in a part of the world speckled with Amish farms and we often see their buggies on the road or watch their capes blow in the wind as they walk down the road. It’s like a reality check for us. Now, that is SIMPLE.


  4. Simply put, simply perfect:
    * spend less money than we make.
    * eat real food.
    * spend our time with the people we value most.
    * spend the rest of our time on the things we value most.

    Excellent post, Jan!


  5. marlece says:

    You crack me up….as you usually do, the ‘we would flat out starve to death’ makes me giggle. I agree with you, what is simple anyway! I still have just a regular phone (cell) and friends think I’m crazy cuz I don’t walk all over wherever I go with the internet at my hip on my cell phone.. HELLO?

    SO many people don’t even read a bible that you can flip pages on anymore, or maybe write a note in your bible, or highlight something of significance.

    They are simplifying by having it on a kindle or whatever you call them…..complication to me!

    Does this make us ‘old’?


    • Jan says:

      Hi, Marlece! I, too, prefer the Bible on paper… using the phone or Kindle version is like trying to look at the Grand Canyon through a pinhole. You can just see a snippet at a time, and don’t get a sense of where you are. As to our age… old, schmold… we’re JUST RIGHT. Love ya!


  6. Zoanna says:

    Hilariously true!


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