May 11, 2012

Two-Sided Simpleton

Smaller aint always simpler. Cheaper aint always simpler. Even less aint always simpler.

I wrote recently about how we've opened ourselves to the idea of moving into our 600 square foot cottage and having another family rent this 1,200 square-foot farmhouse. The perfect opportunity to downsize, cull through the accumulation of Stuff, live with a smaller footprint, focus on what's really important - all standard definitions of simplicity.

After showing many good people both abodes, we've decided to stay in the farmhouse. But not for the reasons many might assume. The idea of living in a smaller space - particularly that beautiful, natural smaller space that we built ourselves - is still mighty appealing. It's the actual move that's in the way. The idea of rooting through all our stuff, uprooting our family and starting over just doesn't feel Simple at all. After 4 years we've established a healthy, happy family dynamic in this space, put our personal touch and family energy into it, made it Home. With a heat pump, fireplace, insulation and (soon) new double-pane windows, the energy costs are probably about the same as the baseboard-heated cottage. And as North American families go, it's still pretty darn uncluttered.

This house works for us. We've invested a lot of life energy and financial resources to make it work, make it an expression of what we believe and how we want to live. Shifting to a new space would require a huge packing/sorting/moving/unpacking process while I'm away, then the months of finding our patterns and ways in that new space. That's a lot of energy and upheaval without any real gain in our goal of lower-impact living or intentional lifestyle. So, in the name is Simple Living, we are staying in the bigger house.

This reminds me of an announcement we made back our Vancouver Quaker meeting (our faith group, in which Simplicity is one of the five or so main cornerstones) - "In the name of simplicity, we have bought a hot tub." Yes it cost $4,000, and yes it uses energy (though its particular design means it only uses about $5/month to keep heated). But at the time Sarah and I were both working such insane hours that were feeling like our only Together Time was side-by-side on the laptops till midnight every night. That hot tub bubbling away on the back porch called us away, out under the stars for 15 minutes every night to just relax, talk, be together, connect, dream. It was out there under those 5 stars, listening to the noises of the shipyards and sirens, watching the spotlight from the gambling casino, that we found our new path out here to WildSide Farm. For $4,000 we bought a daily window of simplicity that has led to a lifestyle in much better alignment with our values.

I'm not saying everyone should rush out an buy a bigger house and a hot tub. I'm just celebrating the rare (for us) realization we've had that we don't always have to take the hardest way. Simple is as much about quality as quantity. It isn't measured so much in dollars and footprints (though those are important components), but ultimately in how we live consciously and intentionally.

1 comment:

  1. I like that! I especially like the comments on your new take on "simplicity" at the end :-)