What is it About Living our Lives?
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Now, for today’s post:
I was interviewed this weekend for the nationally syndicated Real Estate Today Radio Show (Go down the page and you can click on my 8 minute segment).
It seems everyone is talking about the trend to downsizing to smaller homes. As I discussed in the article I wrote for Mother Earth News, Dale and I have never really been trend-setting types, and probably no one was more surprised than us when we heard about this growing interest in small homes.
But what surprised us first was the realization that we could even live permanently in such a small space.
When we first moved here, I was in a big hurry to find a way to expand our little house or build a larger one. I wanted my space and I wanted my stuff. I had a hard time with the idea that instead of living that “American Dream” and growing up from our “starter home,” we had actually downsized to something much smaller.
I was the biggest naysayer in our lives about living in a little house.
My friend, Tammy, over at Rowdy Kittens, had a good conversation going on her blog last week about naysayers. She and her husband, Logan, live what many would consider an unconventional lifestyle, giving up their cars and not only living large by living in a small space, but also doing quite well at adapting to the whole minimalist way of life, reducing all of the clutter, including the financial burdens of traditional modern living today.
She gives tips on dealing with the naysayers and asks what do you say to the naysayers?
My reply was that I had been dealing with naysayers all of my adult life.
There was one subject Dale and I didn’t budge to the naysayers. We decided in our 20s that we didn’t want biological children, for a host of reasons too numerous to go into here.
We heard it all, “You’re too young to be making this type of a decision.” (I’m still not quite sure why we were too young to decide we didn’t want children, but would have been celebrated if I had come up pregnant), “You’re going to regret it,” “What will you do when you’re old?” and the one meant to throw the most guilt onto us, “Do you know how many people want children and can’t?”
In the 1980s when we made this decision, it was still very rare and one we learned that people took weirdly personal, as if our decision was some reflection on their choices. Today, it’s called “Childless by Choice” and is much more accepted. In the 1980s, we were labeled “Double Income No Children,” or DINCs by pop culture (That acronym even screams abnormal). We were called “selfish” and I even remember watching a talk show once in which people who had children were pitted against people who decided not to have children and they nearly came to a fistfight. It really even caused some bad feelings in my own family.
Sometimes I detect some of that same venom reading comments on Internet chat boards about living in a small house. I didn’t encounter any naysayers on the radio show this past weekend, although the host expressed surprise a married couple could live together in that small of a house without killing each other!
However, in reading posts on other articles that’s been out lately on living in small spaces, people sometimes get downright rabid, as if our choice to live in a little house is somehow a reflection of their lives.
If environmental factors for living small are mentioned in the article, someone will post about small house inhabitants “wanting everyone to live in the woods, eating berries and nuts.” I’ve also read posts where people call us “crazy” and “stupid.”
I’m not quite sure why bucking the “norm” causes such a backlash with some. We’re really not subverts planting ideas into everyone’s heads about how to live their lives, we’re only trying to find happiness in ours!
We all have to live the life that best suits us, no matter what the naysayers think or how uncomfortable our life choices make them about theirs.
Any ideas, readers?