The_Shire_by_Vibraven333J.R.R. Tolkien writes, in the prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring, that hobbits “love peace and quiet, and good tilled earth. . . . They do not and did not understand or like machines more complicated than a forge-bellows, a water-mill, or a hand-loom, though they were skilful with tools.”

I really want to be a hobbit. I idealize homsesteading and the pastoral life. I imagine life before electricity, or at least before telecommunications and the Internet. I long for simplicity.

But simplicity, I am coming to learn, isn’t circumstantial. It doesn’t really have to do with living on the land or getting off the grid. Simplicity is a condition, a state, a way of thinking and acting. I have spelled out some of what that looks like here.

But simplicity, more than anything, has to do with living with intention. With making decisions on purpose, in the full light of day. Simplicity has to do with control, with deliberation. It has to do with waking up, day after day, and knowing precisely how and why I got to where I am.

Simplicity has to do with owning my actions, my decisions, my thoughts. It has to do with taking responsibility.

And that is something I am just now learning how to do.