Tuesday, 12 July 2005

Living a Small-Er Life

Perhaps you have noticed the same thing I have... a growing dichotomy of lifestyles. One is fast-paced and tech-filled, instant gratification, a very small urban footprint. The other is a modern twist on a more rural existence, replete with homegrown/raised, homemade everything. Each has its attractions and detractions.

Somewhere in between, there are many people just trying to manage day-to-day. There is a small percentage leading an extravagant lifestyle.

The truth is, it can take time, resources, and some level of self-awareness (plus trial and error) to create an ideal lifestyle.

The Path to a New Lifestyle

Personally, I spent about five years thinking about what my ideal lifestyle would look like. It was an unconscious endeavor at first, because I was shedding off a life located in the wrong place. I was in a difficult business enduring endless encounters with bitter, irresponsible people.

I knew I wanted to live a quieter life, in a house that was manageable for years to come. Beyond that, and given the abrasive conditions I was experiencing, I wasn't sure about anything else.

Finally, I figured it out. I'm not suited for life in a tiny house or urbane apartment. I don't want a large home that requires constant attention, with rooms I rarely use. Homesteading is for the intrepid, physically strong, and DIY skilled. Frankly, I know my limits. What I want is what I can manage, a small-er life.

First, I am in a new place. Where I landed is somewhat of a surprise, and happened by default. It is the result of timing that relied on other things falling into place. It turns out I'm exactly where I need and want to be. It is literally a breath of fresh air.

Because of where I live, I am gifted with the means to live my own blend of two lifestyles. I am close enough to two large cities, but far enough away to feel daily reprieve. I have neighbors. I have neighbors I actually talk with. It's a HOA-free hood. It's perfect.

What I Appreciate about Living a Smaller Life

Smaller home =

Fewer expenses, lower taxes
Lower maintenance, fewer fixes and renovations
Fewer possessions, better organization
Smaller footprint, but with individual privacy

Smaller life =

Reduced garbage, more recycling
Far less stress, inexpensive entertainment
More cooking, homegrown foods
Virtually no debt

Calmer life =

Improved health
Opportunity for more quality, face-to-face interactions
The rules of the house are buy smart, save for larger purchases. Support local businesses. Be smart by buying used or new, whichever is best, taking time to consider each purchase.

Changed Priorities

Early on, I was driven to travel. There were places in the world I wanted to visit. My work made it possible, and I am so thankful for the privilege. At the time, I had no interest in owning a house. Fast forward, and because of the company I now keep, I relish having a place to call home. Every morning I walk around and feel such bliss being here. This is the perfect size life for me. I do not take it for granted.

Pick Your Lifestyle

There is a lot of pressure, especially via social media, to lead a particular lifestyle. On any given day you can feel the pull to be an uber stylish and globe-trotting hipster, bohemian wunderkind, hearty self-reliant homesteader, suburban DIYer, minimum footprint dweller. As long as you seek to lead a responsible life; as long as you are respectful of others and the planet you live on, you're OK by me. Just take the reins to create your own, perfect-for-you lifestyle.

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