That’s what my friend and high school classmate wrote back when I asked her why she’d given up her laptop for a tablet.
This is what I wrote back:
I think Thoreau only wrote it twice, but there is something to that. If there have been any positives from COVID, it’s that it’s forced us to simplify our lives, and I think the happiness we’ve gained from doing so has helped to cushion the grief from other aspects of the pandemic. Kathy and I leave the house mainly to go to the store or go for a walk, and we do both a lot. I’ve always enjoyed going to the grocery store, and now I enjoy it a lot, making excuses to as often as possible. Except for bar food and food trucks, we haven’t had a meal cooked for us by someone else we had to pay since February. We spend most of the time in the living room with a fire in the fireplace when temperature permits. Our home is much more calm and pleasant, as we’ve had the time to spend cleaning and organizing it. This fall, we can’t hang out most Saturdays with 110,000 of our closest friends at Michigan Stadium and found out there’s a lot else you can do on those beautiful fall Saturday afternoons. Sunday we go to church on-line at La Jolla Presbyterian where the preacher is far better than the ones who still won’t even let us in the church we used to attend down the street. We’ve not been afraid to travel, which except for the mask BS and no food or booze on the airplane, is actually pretty nice: tickets and lodging are cheaper, everything’s less crowded, and all the neurotic COVID-averse types have stayed home so you don’t have to deal with their annoying fraidy-cat asses scolding you for your “unsafe” ways. For everything, there are fewer choices, so the anxiety of having to make one is diminished.
While I don’t think Henry David envisioned this mechanism of achieving what he suggested, that’s what’s happened, and it’s been a good thing. When the pandemic finally lifts, we will have learned many lessons we should carry forward. “Simplify, simplify” may be one of the biggest, and our lives will be quieter and happier if we heed.