Choosing a simple life

thistles and silos || cityhippyfarmgirl

grass at dusk || cityhippyfarmgirl

I’ve never been ‘on trend’ with things. Cutting edge seems more like a paper cut term to me, while most seasonal fashion trends hold my interest like a conference on data entry for a two year old.

One thing that I do seem to be knee deep in however, is the want for a simple life. From a blogging perspective, (and from when I first started) the bloggers searching for a simple life seems to have grown and grown.

There must be something in it if we are all wanting a similar thing? And it’s not just bloggers and social media types throwing themselves into the quest for a simpler lifestyle than our current fast paced one. We’re just the ones with our own tiny pedestals, #hashtagging about it. What about the people who have been quietly plodding on in their own green pedal powered goodness doing their thing for far longer beforehand?

These people are the proverbial roots of the whole picture. The knowledgeable ones who, people like me look up to and learn from.

So is it gaining momentum this lifestyle, this yearn for a simpler way of life?

I hope it’s not like drinking out of glass jars with handles, blending kale and spinach green smoothies or winding yourself up in washi tape. I don’t want it to be a hipster fad, that’s highly talked of, coming and inevitably going. I really hope it’s not. My genuine hope is that this is more than a trend. Something that becomes bigger and bigger, until this quest for simplicity, this need for stepping off the increasingly fast spinning mouse wheel of life gives people a little pause and clarity of ideas. A quest of simple wants, needs and values. All things that so many of us do seem to be seeking.

The difference between my simple life yearning now and family’s simple life journey before me, was that their’s was one out of necessity and mine is by choice. While some people will argue (and I completely agree) that it shouldn’t be a lifestyle of choice, we should be doing more than we are in our current environment. For now though, it still comes down to choice.

I am in the privileged position of being able to choose to recycle. To choose to make bread. To choose to make hand made things. To choose to ride my bike. And, to choose from where most of my purchases come from.

Choices and necessity in creating a simple life for ourselves and loved ones…it’s kind of interesting to think about isn’t it.

What about you? Tell me a little about some of your simple life choices.

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More simple life seekers- blogging style

Simples Lives

Slow Living Essentials

Little Eco Footprints

House of Humble

Think Big Live Simply

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58 thoughts on “Choosing a simple life

  1. I’m baby stepping simplicity, falling on and off the wagon in various ways. Making bread, not making bread, on CERES, off CERES, partly we’re all just recovering from a stressful last year and avoiding overwhelm as I get back to doing more from scratch. Glad that there are some things that are easy like recycling. I’m hoping that a little bit of contentment around our stuff will rub off on my shopping loving teenager and widely unrealistic consumer son. Sandwiched between them is the middle daughter who rarely needs “stuff”. I thought the next generation were supposed to be the “aware” ones but I’m the one harping about turn off the light, recycle, don’t bring anymore crap in the house.

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    • Melissa I’m sure you are building the foundations for your kids though and a few years down the track they will probably think more in line with you. It’s hard though isn’t it.

      I also think the way to go ‘simply’ is to do it slowly and in increments. It can too overwhelming otherwise, (plus you are more likely to stick with stuff over time.) Good luck on your slower path.

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  2. I think people are exhausted by a complex busy life, and so by necessity are turning to a simple life. For me, I live simply in a small weatherboard cottage in a rural area. i chose this type of life not out of ideology or crisis, but because a quiet life appeals to me and my family. I work from home and close to home (walking distance) and am home for my children when they come home from school.

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      • Actually, walking distance is a rare luxury where we live! most people have to drive anywhere…but i have a school opposite where i live – and i work there a few hours a week, lucky me πŸ™‚

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  3. Beautifully put! I’m so glad the “simple life” views are spreading- hopefully it won’t be just a fad! I think it’s so empowering to be able to make things yourself! It puts things into perspective and grounds us in our increasingly complex lives!

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  4. We deliberately moved back to Mildura for the simple life. My husband was graduating from his law degree and we didn’t want him working for a huge firm that would want him for 70+ hours a week just to potentially chew him up and spit him out.
    It also meant we were able to buy our tiny cottage and work on making it a home, continue to have one car and walk almost everywhere.
    It’s definitely a simpler life, except when you want to do a course or something out of the ordinary then it’s a little complicated!
    It’s also used big changes in diet and lifestyle for simpler more real things and it’s where I want to be, even if everyone else abandons the bandwagon I’ll still be riding along.

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  5. I remember the initial ‘back to the land’ movement of the 1960s/70s and the influx of hippies to our simple rural landscape…. many locals found it amusing that they rushed in to take up activities that many country folk were desperately trying to shrug off (I loved one lady who came for hand milking lessons with my dear ole dairy farming grandfather) – over time some drifted back to the easier life of suburbia, some integrated into the fabric of rural life, and a few die-hards are still making cheese and harvesting organic walnuts.

    the ‘simple life’ as expressed in so many gorgeous photo essays looks and feels somewhat like that movement (but with less orange tie-dyed tee-shirts and more beards…) and I expect hipster-simplers will go the same way as the back-to-land hippies… some will go, some will stay, a rare few will remain true to their simple ideals.

    but what does it matter if you enjoy the ride…

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    • Thank you Ronnie. I loved reading your comment. I think you are spot on with some will go, some will stay and then there are the ones who keep on remaining true. I wonder if it will be any bigger/ smaller or different outcomes than the initial hippy movement in the 60’s/70’s.

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  6. Wow, great post, I have been thinking about this alot. Even when planning to live a simple life , human beings always end up making it complicated if they are not prepared to look at slowing down and remembering why they are doing this.
    I am learning to take less farm stay bookings but treasuring the people who do come here, and connecting more with my garden and the world of quiet.For a little while I forgot why I was doing all this and it turned into a big business.
    A week ago I was sitting at an organic cafe…. people all had fancy electric bikes they rode there, their clothes were organic , even their beanies were organic. And I wondered if my grandparents simple life they had without knowing it was simpler, was a far wiser choice. And there was a little bit in my brain that also said, ‘Wow, I would like one of those electric bikes..’ and I had to tell my brain to be quiet.
    sorry – long reply-I could write a post about this one!

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    • Kim please do write a post! When I do posts like these, I’m absolutely thrilled if it goes further and becomes a conversation starter, whether face to face or written. I’d love to know what ongoing thoughts there might be.

      I think with your grandparents era, things were much simpler but the influence of big business wasn’t so evident. People choosing to wear organic clothes now has to be a conscious decision as it’s not the stuff that’s readily available like it once was. Made in Bangladesh, Made in China are our normal now. I commented on my Made in Australia bathmat last night, and we wondered how old it was because of that.

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      • Yes , interesting you are right about the beanie thing. That previous era didn’t have to think about where things were made or how they were made because everything was made here anyway…it was just normal for them.

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  7. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to pinpoint exactly what it is I’m striving for in terms of my lifestyle. I don’t think a simple life is quite the right phrase, since most people would point out the making bread and growing veggies is not simpler! For me it’s about a slower, more connected life. Especially the connections – with each other (sharing love, knowledge and support) and with the world that sustains us.

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  8. Oh fabulous post! I think now that social media is so prevalent the risk of this “simple life” will appear to have a fad following, but really you know and I know that living a simple life doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Making your own, recycling, tending to animals, livestock, hunting, takes time, and energy and those that are not committed will simply give up and return back to the comfort of the couch. We choose to raise our own meat, to make preserves and it really is a dedication. We don’t blog or instagram for glory, more to share that it is possible and so rewarding. And to connect with like-minded souls πŸ˜‰ xx

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      • Connecting with like minded souls is an amazing thing Brenda and Amber. On days when you feel very much like the odd one out, taking a few minutes to dip into social media can be incredibly good for the soul- connecting with people of similar mindset and interests…pretty lucky eh.

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  9. Lovely, thoughtful post Brydie. I think in this busy world many people are looking for simplicity and it has nothing to do with being a hipster! As you said in your comment to Ruth…it is empowering to take some control over our lives and have the skills to do/make/grow for ourselves. Simple life choices for me means eating/growing/raising and making real food. It also means filling our children’s lives with simply activities that don’t involve too many commercial influences and plenty of time for playing and learning real life skills. I hope you are having a lovely week x

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  10. What a great piece Brydie. This week I have received the odd snigger for knitting dishcloths, making food from scratch, and a few other things that in someone else’s eyes ‘require way too much effort’, so it is lovely to be reminded that others also make the choice to live simply. Thank you.

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  11. While many aspects of my life could be described as simple, I find myself feeling a little out of control and chaotic as I juggle work, parenting, blogging and all the other things I’m involved in. So at the moment I’m working on developing a simple mindset too, learning to cut through the clutter in my head and see what’s really important. It’s not easy!
    One thing I will say to anyone who is looking to simplify their life, remember it’s your version of simple, not the ones you see on social media. For simple to be sustainable, it has to be true to you and your values.

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    • Wonderfully put! There is absolutely no point what so ever in doing something if all it does is create stress, tension and wear you down. And it is a juggle, a huge juggle. Sometimes I feel the balance is great, other times….oh not at all.

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  12. I wish I could say my life is simple – though one thing that I find harder as I get old is to stomach all the advertisements – and I hate how they prey on the young too. Trying to avoid them through choices of what we watch and listen to is important to me. When you speak about the rise of the simple life I have hope and yet one thing that I feel is against it is that there is no money in marketing such a life – I wish I could see it on the adverts – “slow down and don’t even try and earn that much money because most of it you don’t need to spend!” I love seeing Sylvia’s imagination with the bits and pieces around her and get annoyed when people make rude remarks about the small place we live in as if she is disadvantaged and yet I see her running around parks and creating wonderful worlds at home – that is no disadvantage!

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  13. We retired and made a tree change to live in a farmhouse on 100 acres, 15km from nearest town. With no garbage collection, postal delivery 3 days a week, no public transport and living on tank water, we have been forced to rethink how we do some things. Three large water tanks makes saving water easier and we grow what vegs and fruit we can. House renovations apart, we do our best to reuse or give or barter whatever we can. Tip fees are expensive. Every car trip is utilised to the max. For us, living in the country has given us a whole different mindset to reusing and being resilient and we have learnt so much.

    Being retired does give us the time to play at this. We have 8 cows as pets for lawn mowing, chookies for eggs, and two golden retrievers but they are not what you would call working dogs, more like freeloaders. We have a tractor, the ultimate “boy’s toy” which makes light of many jobs, particularly clearing lantana and fallen trees etc. Not everyone’s cup of tea but its simple and healthy and being on a “skiing holiday” (Spending the Kid’s Inheritance) makes life a lot easier.

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      • Well, I never got to make a nice loaf, it was always very heavy and after giving the last one to the chookies (who didn’t eat much either 😦 ) I put the starter in the fridge for a holiday. After a month or so I got it out but it smelled funny so I diced it and have to start again. I have not been eating bread for a while now as I always use too much butter (not very good for me) and hubby has taken to turkish bide bread lately. Cheese has been the latest fad I am trying to master. I dont always succeed with these ventures but love to give things a go. Thanks for asking Brydie. Joy

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  14. My mum is one of the people you speak of who was lived this way out of necessity. She grew up completely off the grid. Our simple lives entail staying very connected to the seasons and honouring, acknowledging and living in accordance with it. Not just the weather but the mice, spiders, ants, snakes and native animals it brings inside and outside of the house. My days are all about food and making and sourcing it. I think about garbage and recycling a lot because we don’t have a pick up service and I deal directly with it and I care a lot about the environment. We have to drive everywhere though. I’m glad we spend our days in the dirt and not in shopping centres like some do for recreation every weekend. All we strive for is less and all I want is more time to make. I blog to be connected to other genuine simple lifers. I love the positive sharing peeps who are non-judgemental and even a little bit contradictory.

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  15. Simpler to me means keeping things closer to home. Buying the raw food ingredients locally and making things myself – bread, cheese, pasta, etc. If I have to buy a new product, trying to source it from an ethical manufacturer and/or in the US. Even appreciating the beauty where I live every day is a way to live simply, instead of waiting for the next big trip to somewhere exotic. Being aware of the resources that I consume and reducing those to make our eco-footprint simpler. For me, I’m finding that simple equals happy.

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    • Beautifully put Katie. I know exactly what you mean. The happy satisfaction I can get from a loaf of bread I’ve just made. Making a gift, or like last night- listening to my sauerkraut audibly bubble, (certainly not for everyone’s Wednesday night entertainment I know!)

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  16. Oh for a simple life! A life uncomplicated. A life where you can stop and smell the roses…where that thistle in the first image doesn’t grab you in it’s prickly embrace because you were going too fast to notice it. A life where you can stop and not only smell the roses but pick a bunch, take them inside and marvel over the wonder of nature and how amazing you feel after snuffling up that gorgeous honest perfume over a soul quenching cup of tea. A life where you can pick up a book and actually read it from cover to cover… wandering from room to room, nose deep and your mind fully invested without having to wake up from the dream every 10 minutes to deal with the madding crowd…OH for a simple life where your immediate needs are as pressing as putting on the kettle, putting on some warm socks, putting on a pair of earphones and letting yourself drifffft slowly off into the blissful arms of your own personal soundtrack for life…alas…that simple life is “simply” not to be for the immediate future but we can dream…

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  17. I fear the Simple Life is getting abit trendy and ‘hipster’…but if that’s what it takes to get people to try it, hopefully they will carry it on once the fad is dead and buried because they realise it’s true awesomeness! The groundswell is growing, and it gives me hope πŸ™‚ xx

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    • I think that is what was troubling me a little, Becs. But I think maybe many people move past that stage after a while.It is a hopeful time as people recognise what what is important.

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  18. Pingback: Simple Living - Think Big Live Simply

  19. What a beautiful read – I wrote about this on my blog recently too. For me, it is about honuoring time. Valuing connection over consumption and mindfulness over frivolity. Sometimes I think it can be very hard to live simply in our world – but it is possible if we all just remember to breathe!

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  20. We’ve been immersed in the “Live Simply” culture for years. I suppose it is rather ironic, as we live in a part of Florida where excess & extravagance is all around us.
    Personally we’ve had many ups and downs.
    Our life focuses on natural gardening, heal the Earth & grow our own food. It’s been quite a learning experience – and we are finally teaching kids and others.

    As the year wanes we are looking to reach a milestone of having land – and providing a bridge from suburban lawns and car washing in your driving way to growing food in sensible ways with more nature based methods.

    We’ve got along way to go, but it feels like we are making progress.
    You are right on target – thank you for your adventures. They are an inspiration to others and you are absolutely right more people are looking!
    ~ I am optimistic that we are gaining in critical mass, seeing that simple is beautiful ~

    May you know the SPiCE in life!
    SPiCEY momma

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  21. This is a really great post + food for thought. I grew up being obsessed with nature, animals, farm life, etc., but I’ve always lived in a city or suburbs. When I finished my master’s degree, I finally was able to take a moment to breath + see what I really wanted in life (academia seems to fog things over for awhile). Once the fog lifted, I knew I wanted to be a farmer — it goes back to my childhood + care for the world around me. But, my “revelation” came roughly around the same time that slow living starting becoming “hip”.

    “I don’t want it to be a hipster fad, that’s highly talked of, coming and inevitably going.” — This is something I worry about too. Every time I hear about more + more people craving a simple life, I get excited + filled with hope. But I also, slowly, have started to see people pulling away from this lifestyle, and I think it could be one of the ‘hipster fads’ that go around.

    With all that said, the true + blue will always be there – they always have been. Even when the phase/trend fades away, there will still be so many that wake up with a song in their heart to live a simple life close to the land. That reminder always makes any doubts/worries go away πŸ™‚

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  22. I loved this post!
    I’ve just been thinking about the “simpler” life, and wondering if that’s actually what we’re doing, or striving for. I think “simpler” is an idea of what rural living/self-sustainability might be (usually when we’re not doing it!), but the reality is somewhat different! My life is very different to what it was when I had a full time job and lived in a city. My values are more able to be “lived in” in our current setting…providing our own meat, vegetables, milk, cheese, preserves, making bread and lots of other things from scratch. I love doing all these things, but it’s certainly not “simple” and at times it’s just plain bloody hard work! But it feels like I’m being true to myself and what’s important to me. I still struggle to balance the demands/expectations of the rest of my world, outside my front gate, but something I really try hard to do is to be “present” with everything I’m doing, to slow down and smell the roses (sometimes literally), and not get sucked into the madness of the rest of the world. I think that living here in the back of beyond with my animals and my views (of the mountains) and my space allow me to maintain that “presence”.
    I think that for many people, lifestyle change of any sort is a temporary thing, but for me, this is heaven! Andi

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  23. Fantastic post Brydie – the new simple living movement is gaining ground but it still does seem to be a bit of a hipster fad in some circles where it is more about the “look” or the “pretense” of living a simpler life rather than really living that way. The exorbitant prices of so called “simple living”/hipster products fascinates me too as well as the way it is marketed. I can almost see my grandmother rolling in her grave at the thought of people forking out $100 for a hessian pot plant cover that you can make yourself for a next to nothing and drinking cocktails out of expensive mason jars that you can get from the tipshop for 50c. For us, simple life choices are all about being mindful of our consumption and needing less, making do with what we have, about being more connected to each other and the community and about being more self sufficient workwise so we can have more control over how we spend our time. It’s about getting off the treadmill and enjoying simple pleasures etc. I’ve always shied away from writing about simple living because, like you say, my grandparents lived that way and so many others do live that way and do it much better than us but I do get an enormous amount of inspiration from what you show us here as well as the other blogs listed so I might just write a bit more about the topic. Mel xxx

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  24. i have found that striving for a simple life is not as simple as it seems – there is a lot of organisation and hard work involved – and perhaps that is what will cause the end of the slow living movement! but the ones who really believe in the connectedness that living a simple (less chaotic) life will stay strong and they will remain true to their purpose. love to you, flick x

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    • Flick it’s a huge amount of work at times. Combining ‘simple living’ with a very tech world is at times…well, just odd. It’s finding a balance somewhere a long the lines and making it all work… I think I juggle with it daily.

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  25. Twenty years ago, my husband and I, newly married left my home country of America, and went to his home country, Belfast,Ireland, to be near his family, and out of necessity, having moved countries simplified, also,since we have 8 children in a small(by American standards) house, simplifying really is a necessity! Since the first of our 8 children were born, we have been making our own bread,fruit sauces and jams,soup stock and bone broth, yogurt(we are by no means ‘perfect’, sometimes I do go out and just buy yogurt or bread at the shop,lol, but for the first 5 years, I made all of our bread) We do buy organic food sometimes,but mostly buy local stuff, but are lucky that meat, milk, and butter is grass-fed, and local. We do get a lot of local fruit and veg, and have only started growing a small amount in the past few years(I would love to do so much more!)We used cloth nappies(diapers) for most of our children, and we buy organically grown cotton clothing mostly for the youngest, as it is so hard(and expensive) to get that for the older ones. (A company in Cornwall is my absolute favourite as it is ethically grown, organic,fair trade,and often has a nature or adventure theme, and I can pass down multiple times, and they are well worth mending. It feels really good to have something last through 5 children or more, and my kids love to climb a tree, jump in puddles,and dance in the rain ,so they are not exactly careful with them!) We do have a car, (and he has a van for his business), but we usually are able to walk to almost every place we want to, or hop a bus or train. I have a clothes dryer the last 8 years, but only use it to finish loads dried on the line, if at all, for 5 or 10 minutes, I don’t know why, but maybe because I did so long without one. It is great in the winter though! We have one tv, one computer, and some of the older children have phones. We spend much of our free time walking in local mountains(Blacks mountain, or Mourne Mountains), or discovering ancient areas, desserted Monasteries or Castle ruins, so the children are always up for a bit of exploring! Or they make forts,go-carts,tie a rope in a tree for swinging on, or make up their own games. They do like computer games, but I try not to let them do it too much, my 6 year old would tend to zone out if the older ones have it on…The older children realize they were brought up a little different than their friends, but they tell me that they are glad.It is truly lovely to be able to read about simple living, because for so many years people would just look at me with a ‘why?’, and I don’t know exactly why,and I never had a friend who ‘got’ it(but of course,we are still friends who do things differently!), but it has always felt right to me. In the future, I want to grow more food,make personal products,and I have always wanted to grind my own flour,so my enthusiasm over 20 years has not diminished:)

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  26. Resonating resonating resonating!!! You nail it right here.
    There is definitely ‘something’ in the air out there – other than sun, clouds, pollution, moon, stars and planes. I like the notion of ‘slow’ – the name is generic enough not to stand out. That’s the thing – I don’t want ‘this thing’ to have a name, or be boxed or labelled. Let’s just loosely categorise it, enough to see, but not so much that it becomes en trend, hip, fashionable. I don’t want it to become politicised, ostracised, advertised or mainstreamised. The thing I love most of all about naturally shifting this way, is that it’s a personal evolution – without rules, regulations, judgement or comparison. It’s not about being the ‘most’, more about being and feeling and experiencing a personal best-possible. That’s not to say it’s about slacktivism either! Or procrastination, or enabling. Just somewhere, out there, in the winds of change, a craving for simplicity over complexity and confusion, is sneaking in…
    Thank you for articulating this so well, and sharing it.

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  27. Pingback: Finding my tribe #Brydie at Cityhippyfarmgirl – Greening the Rose

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