For me, simplicity is a verb. It is about taking action to create a lifestyle that is essential, honest and authentic. It is not about saying “no” to possessions. It is about saying “yes” to the things in life that really matter.

I think the biggest misunderstanding about simplicity is that it is something negative. There is a perception that downsizing your life means living like a hermit. In reality, simplicity is one of the keys to positivity and happiness in life after 60. Embracing simplicity requires us to understand life, question our values and see the world in new ways.

Some of the people I respect most have embraced simplicity. For example, Leonardo da Vinci did not create “simple” works of art – they were complex and sophisticated. Or, perhaps more accurately, his works were beautiful in their simplicity. This is probably part of what he meant, when he said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

The first time I read this quote, I was confused. Then I researched the word “sophisticated” and understood what Leonardo da Vinci was trying to say.

One way to define a “sophisticated person” is: “one who is elegant, stylish, honest and authentic.” What we choose to have in our lives, as we get older, is a reflection of the totality of our existence. Our clothes, possessions, and even friends, are a reflection of who we are. When we let go of the things that clutter up our lives, we bring our true selves into the light. We let our sophistication and elegance shine through.

Asking the “tough questions” and reducing the stuff in your life is a statement. It says that you want to be thoughtful about your life. It says that you are taking responsibility for making your way in the world. It says that you know what matters to you – and what doesn’t. And, that is the ultimate sophistication.

If you would like to downsize your life in retirement, here are some practical tips.

Do you agree or disagree Leonardo da Vinci that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication?” Why or why not? Or, do you perhaps have a different interpretation of this quote than I do? Have you downsized your possessions as you have gotten a little older? What did the process teach you? Please join the conversation.

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Here is a short video that I recorded on the topic of finding happiness after 60.

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