Monday, October 6, 2008

downward mobility

Twenty years ago we were discussing downward mobility as an option for taking responsibilty for our cultural over consumption. We were also aware that if we did not make the choice, sooner or later simpler lifestyles would be imposed on us.

Today the freedom of simplicity may not be a free choice anymore, but a necessity. However, there is no reason it cannot be a happy choice. In fact, the big surprise may be how happy we are when we can say yes to downward mobility!

From my summer reading: Susan Bonne, Living Small in the Big Woods. The Ely Summer Times: 2008, pp.13-14.

In Not so Big House, Sarah Susanka notes that "we long for a sense of shelter and comfort...but tend to use words like 'spacious' and 'expansive' to describe what we think we want." What most of us actually want is a place that feels 'spacious' and 'expansive;' or to put it another way, to feel less cramped by our over-busy lives and too many obligations, possessions, chores, lists.

Paradoxically, living small makes that possible. Less square footage equals less stuff. What isn't owned doesn't have to be maintained, cleaned, or stored, which frees up time and other resources for more fulfilling pursuits, from gardening to travel to playing with the kids.

Less space means a lower (or no) mortagage, lower taxes, and lower utility bills. A smaller footprint also has less impact on the environment, destroys less wildlife, and requires less energy to heat and cool.