When Less Becomes More

T and I recently took a local getaway to St. Albans, Maine where we stayed in a small cottage that overlooked the pristine waters of Indian Pond. The cottage sat on an island connected to the small town of St. Albans by causeway, along with 17 other homes, camps, and cottages. Prior to our trip, we ensured that we packed all that we needed for our short visit, as we had no intention of leaving the cottage during our stay. In doing so, we hauled coolers filled to the brim with food and beverages, as well as one overnight bag to share between the two of us, primarily containing swimwear. 

As we took a right turn onto the gravel driveway leading to the cottage, our new home for the next two nights, the excitement between the two of us resembled that of two little kids on Christmas morning. As we began to explore the cottage and its surroundings, our excitement turned into wonderment while we took in the beauty of all that was around us. I recall the two of us literally standing there with our mouths gaping open in awe while we stepped on the dock for the first time, taking in the clear, sparkling water that outstretched before us. We were quite honestly in disbelief that we’d be staying in this magical place for the next two days.

During our short stay at the cottage, we quickly developed our own personal routine. Each morning started with coffee on the dock overlooking the calm waters of Indian Pond, followed by breakfast at the picnic table outside. Next, we would change into our swimwear, bring our books down to the dock, and read until the sun became too warm on our skin and the cool, shimmering water enticed us to jump in. The rumbling of our tummies acted as an alarm clock set for lunchtime. We’d eat our simple meal of sandwiches and chips sitting in Adirondack chairs, while the sun shined down on us. With the freedom of the afternoon stretching out before us, we would spend our time reading, swimming, and enjoying a few well-deserved afternoon naps. Each evening we’d prep food in the small kitchen to be cooked on the grill, and as we ate we’d watch the colors of the sky change while the sun was setting behind the trees. T would then build a campfire, where we’d roast marshmallows as we watched the dancing of the flames.

Throughout our stay, we frequently commented about how quiet and calm the water, island, and cottage felt. It got me thinking about the simplicity of it all and how the environment cultivated a slower pace of life. When in Portland, there is a sense of hurriedness- a rushed desire to do more, to be more. But while on the island, that desire faded away. Instead, a feeling of pure content loomed in the air and integrated its way into my bones.

This time away, in this very simply environment, reminded me that less can truly be more. When you strip away all of the extra that we consume our lives with, you open your eyes to what is most important and you connect on a deeper level with yourself. You have the ability to see what is, accept it, and find happiness in what is right before you. You don’t need more. You don’t need to be more because everything you need is already within you.