I want to live a simple life

Katianna Mansfield

More stories from Katianna Mansfield

I am okay now
February 16, 2018

My life is something that I need to love, to experience for myself and find what makes me happy. It is for no one else that I am alive, and my future is mine to make. Despite this, my idea of a happy life shocks so many others and provokes their need to butt into other people’s lives and make their opinions known.

For these people, I give you my perfect life:

I wake up every morning at ten. There are a few animals curled around my legs, and they are the only ones, other than me, in the house.

My house is the size of a small-town gas station– the ones that have an off-brand candy section, and where the sunglasses and chargers stand usually is, there’s a bait fridge full of home-picked worms. There’s one of these just down the road.

When I wake up, the first thing I see is the ceiling I painted by myself. I’m not a painter by any means, but I don’t have to be anything to do it. The same goes for all the dead plants I tried to grow, all sitting in their chipped, crooked pots in front of the window. One day, I’ll keep one alive. The pots are held up by stacks upon stacks of books, the overflow off of my shelves that line every wall as close as I can get them. It rivals my horror movie collection, but those take up so much less space, and they don’t bend the shelves under their weight.

I have so many dream catchers spinning in my window, they don’t have to serve a purpose for me to like them. That’s okay.

I have a desk next to my bed; it’s not immaculate. There are old bowls of Fruity Pebbles from a few days ago, movie ticket stubs that haven’t quite made it to the scrap booking box yet, probably a Taco Bell bag or two filled with garbage because I’m terrible at taking out the trash, but I like to keep things an organized mess.

The laptop I write at is open on the desk, the cover a crocheted attempt at a onesie for my niece. My coworker has been trying to teach me on slow days, but I’m hopeless.

That still doesn’t stop me from trying.

On the computer, there are hundreds of files of emotional rants after a very bad or a very good day. I never reopen them. There are fifty attempts at books unfinished and lying haphazardly over the desktop. I organize them into folders sometimes, but that’s all I ever do with them.

I write for the town’s online newspaper every once in awhile, not for a profit, just to let people know who I am.

The townspeople do know who I am. When I’m not working or doing things for myself, I do what a good citizen should do. I rake old ladies’ leaves, fix broken TVs, go to town meetings, or bake cookies for the new neighbors. I’m appreciated, but not taken advantage of. The people know that if they need something or someone, my door is always available to knock on, as long as my beat-up, $400 car is parked out front.

If I’m not there, you can find me wherever I’m serving. I hope it’s IHOP, but I can serve anywhere else and be happy. IHOP is just my home.

I work doubles and triples whenever I want, only taking hour-long breaks occasionally to go feed my pets. The loyal employees can’t even tell you how long I’ve been working in this building– it’s past any amount of time they can remember. I don’t worry about money, I have so few bills and ties to anything of monetary value, I just love to work. Splurging on things is like deciding to put a little extra jelly on your toast– it’s just there to spice it up.

I get home and hang up my apron and work clothes on the coat rack kept strategically away from the door. It gives me splinters every time I touch it, but the neighborhood handy-man made it for me as a birthday present, and he passed away not six months ago, so I’ve never even thought about throwing it away.

I don’t go to school. I used to, but just for the learning. I never majored in anything, just took classes to take classes. Student loan debt is crushing, and the college atmosphere just wasn’t for me.

I love to learn, so my excess money goes towards that. I learn a new craft or trade every few weeks, add it to the list of the things I’m not great at but I can do.

I spend weekend mornings at my mother’s helping her around the house and spending time with her. She doesn’t need the assistance just yet, but it’s nice to be there and let her know I’ll be around.

Some nights my niece stays over, she’s beautiful just like her mother was when she was a baby, and my time with her is sacred. I don’t need any other children in my life, I can give her what I’m capable of when my sister needs a break.

My father and step mom live a ways away, but I see them on my days off when I go to Battle Creek.

This is the life I want to live. It is simple, but it’s fulfilling. I’m happy, I make other people happy, and I do what I love every single day.

I’m not hard to please, I just want to lead a simple life and have a small impact on a few people.

Why is this so hard for people to understand?