I often talk of the downfall of society, consumerism, political injustice, McMansions and suburban sprawl. But today I was taking a walk and thinking about things in life and what is really important to me. I was reminded of a saying that a middle school teacher used to preach to us, but I never really hit home till much later
Today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.
I then stumbled across this video and really liked the message so enjoy.
Freedom from stuff, freedom from excess space, freedom of time, freedom from cleaning. All of these things take time, energy, money, and resources, going smaller means these demands are reduced drastically. You then have freedom to do what you want, what is important, what really matters in your life.
McMansions cost allot of money, I am sure you have noticed. The average US house costs around $265,000. But it doesn’t stop there! In order for you to get into that big house, you have to get a mortgage, which by the time you pay for it; it will cost you two to three times that, so roughly $800,000. Then add maintenance, insurance, furnishing such a large space, cleaning products, etc.
Then there is the risk that comes with a mortgage, even with buying a house that is conservative for your income, even if you save for 3-6 months of pay in case you get laid off (which 95% of Americans don’t budget for), you could still lose your home after paying it off for 28 out of the 30 years you have on it. So factor the cost, plus risk, then consider the opportunity cost, you could be well in the hole close to 1.5 million dollars and then be left homeless.
The tiny life is indeed freedom: freedom from long-term mortgages, freedom from unnecessary possessions, and freedom from the both the expected and unexpected headaches larger living brings.
But it is not only freedom from, it is also freedom for: freedom to have more discretionary income to use wisely or to save; freedom for economies of scale; freedom for more focused energy to harness one’s will and talents with less encumbrance.
Sometimes our possessions come in the way of our self-actualizing.
Just as sadly, have we reached a point where we have allowed our possessions and the size of our homes or dwellings or that of others to define who we are and determine our self-worth, let alone those of others?
Perhaps the tiny life will bring us more into contact with those who do not allow the amount or type or “size” of one’s possessions blind them to the inherent dignity and self-worth of everyone.
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
This is your brain, this is your brain when you have so much stuff to do that you literally can’t do it all. That where saying NO comes into play. Saying no is harder than you might thing, try it. Someone asks you to join in on some committee for a volunteer organization, your church needs a Sunday school teacher or you are asked any number of things which add strain to your life.
It’s not that you don’t want to do these things, it’s not that you are lazy, it is the simple fact that there are 24 hours in a day and at a point you are booked solid and you didn’t leave any time for you.
You need to factor in time for you, again it’s not selfish, its not greedy or lazy. It is taking time for you to take a break and unwind a bit. You aren’t any good to anyone if you can’t focus, you are always tired or you are running late to everything.
But how to determine what to say yes to and what to say no to?
Knowing where you are going can be an immensely freeing thing. While you should always leave room for some spontaneity and sometimes we just need to let life take us where it leads us. There are times where a plan is good. We all have dreams and it’s never a bad thing to do our best to get to them. The empowering thing about goals is that from them we can determine what actions we need to take to get to them. We can change our behavior now to get to the goal later. It doesn’t mean that we drop everything, it doesn’t mean these goals can’t change or be replaced, but we only have so much time on this earth and its good to make it count.
How do you figure out your very top level, most important things to you?
If you were at the end of your life looking back, what would you want to have achieved?