Text «The Art of Living Simply» (intermediate)

Text on the topic «The way of life» — «THE ART OF LIVING SIMPLY is a short text from the book «One-page stories to Enjoy». It is for English learners who have the intermediate level of knowing English.

Text THE ART OF LIVING SIMPLY (on the topic «The Way of Life»)

(from the book “One-page story for intermediate)


  1. loan payment — платеж по кредиту
  2. clogged washing ma­chines — забитых до отказа стиральных машин
  3. simplicity — простота
  4. dictum — изречение
  5. plow — плуг
  6. mortgages — ипотечые кредиты
  7. insulation — изоляция (в строительстве)
  8. undertake life’s journey — путешествуйте по жизни
  9. reduce our desires — умерьте свои желания
  10. the world complication — сложность этого мира
  11. homely — скромный, простой

We canoed down Maine’s Saco River that Sep­tember afternoon, enjoying the summer’s golden sunlight. The deer watched our flotilia pass. That evening we were sitting around the campfire, star­ing at stars. One man, playing the guitar, sang an old Shaker song: «This is a gift to be simple. This is a gift to be free.»

Our idyll ended, and we drove back to the world of loan payments, jobs and clogged washing ma­chines. «This is a gift to be simple,» I found myself singing. How I longed for that simplicity. But where could I get it? «Our life is full of details. Simplify. Simplify.» That dictum of Henry Thoreau from the days of steam-boats and plows, has long followed me. Yet Thoreau himself was able to spend only two years in the cabin he built beside Walden Pond, And Henry — wifeless, childless, jobless — never had to deal with such details of life as mortgages, for example.

My life attracted detail, as if my motto were: «Сomplicate. Сomplicate». Once I bought a home. I liked it so much that I avoided examining its pos­sible defects. After it was mine, I found it needed insulation, a new roof, a new heating system, win­dows, a new septic system — everything. That old house cost me far more than I could afford. The cost in stress was even higher. I had refused to look at complexities. I’m beginning to understand, think simplicity means. By «simplify, sim­plify» Thoreau meant simplifying ourselves. To accomplish this, we can:

Focus on deeper things. The simple life is not necessarily living in a cabin, cultivating beans. A professor tells me a secret for focusing: «Turn off TV and read great books. They open doors in your brain.

Undertake life’s journey one step at a time. I once met a young couple both blind since birth. They had a three-year old daughter and an infant, both fully sighted. For those parents, everything was complex: bathing the baby, following their daughter. Yet, they were full of smiles and laughter. I asked the mother how she kept track of their live­ly daughter. «I tie little bells on her shoes,» she said with a laugh. «What will you do when the infant walks too fast?» I asked. She smiled. «Everything is so complicated that I don’t try to solve a problem until I have to. I take one thing at a time!»

Reduce our desires. English novelist and playwright Jerome Klapka Jerome caught the spirit of that idea when he wrote: «Let your boat of life be light, packed with only you need — a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you , a cat, a dog and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear.»

The true gift of simplicity is ability to accept the world complication. And then we can have simple things, but it is more than enough.

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