A few weeks ago I wrote a blog that became wonderfully popular. A pretty little blog about a pretty little camper being pulled by a pretty little car. Ok so it was a mint-condition Morris Traveler and quite stunning really, but you get the picture I’m going for here, right? So there was this little blog together with my recent personal experience of contrasting my life in a big house, with an even bigger property here in the US and a small house in England with a garden that does come close to a postage stamp, both, in size and shape – and voilà another Twitter based blog-off topic was born, between some incredibly talented wordsmiths, Dogwalkblog, Paul Anater, Concretedetail and my humble self.
The idea of living a small life and the romance often associated with it are not new and certainly more of a consideration now than during an economic upswing. What concerns me is that we tend not to learn and while quite of a few of us are preaching the smaller living gospel a big majority of us would also jump back onto the big car, big house, big everything bandwagon if things loosened up some. Why not embrace a smaller life altogether, no matter what Wall Street thinks of it – and something tells me they wouldn’t like it much. And why, despite being so enamored with that cute-little-house-in-the- country-where-life-would-be-so-easy do we forever refer to little places as “ideal for a weekend getaway” and “great starter house”? People all over the world live in “starter houses” their entire lives, quite happily.
The US has, predictably, the largest square footage in average house size in the world. Over 2300sf which is nearly three times the British average and still twice the French average. Why? Do our huge personalities really require so much extra space? If an average of 4 people live there, does that mean a US resident requires 600sf where a French person requires only 300? I know the French tend to be petite but there has to be more to it. After all we have to pay for this. Mortgages, utility bills, maintenance are only the beginning, making us work harder and longer than ever before only to then come home and have to clean twice as long as our European counter part.
But a small life is not only about ones footprint, is it? It’s about stepping back, living the moment, slowing down, prioritizing things that really matter and finding ways to enjoy small things. There are people we can learn from, here and abroad. In my case, because I love her original photography so much, I’m going back to Denmark and Sweden to pay another visit to Katrine Martensen-Larsen and Stuart McIntyre, the duo that have made images of a simple life into and art form. So take a moment, relax and enjoy these:
Someone, and I’m not sure if he was in fact wise or not, once said that most good things in life are free. I’m not sure about that really. But I am pretty certain that what we make of things, enjoying the good things that surround us and noticing them for a moment before we rush off in pursuit of the next great opportunity, that moment doesn’t have a price tag yet. And maybe that has to be part of living a small life.
Enjoy your day!