A certain young couple I know recently received some exciting news. The young man’s parents had decided over the holidays to purchase a house in a nearby town for them to live in. While they will have to pay a nominal monthly rent to cover utilities and taxes, the house is pretty much a gift. And this surprise couldn’t have come at a better time in my opinion.
You see, the couple and their child currently live with a friend. The little family of 3 spends most of their time in one tiny bedroom, since the friend is a bachelor and likes to entertain a lot. I joke sometimes that they are couchsurfing in a frat house. They’ve been living like this for 7 months and I can count on one hand the number of stress-free days they’ve had during that time.
Having lived in such tight quarters, one would think a house would be an exciting upgrade. I was pretty excited and it’s not even my house. So I bet you’ll never guess the the first thing they said…
“It’s really small.”
The house is 950 sq. ft. with 2 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, and a yard.
I don’t think the comment was meant to sound ungrateful. Rather, I think it is simply another indicator of how flawed our way of thinking is here in America. Bigger is always better and status is indicated by where you live and what you drive.
The sad reality is that this young couple is already so clouded by their perceived obligations and societal expectations that they fail to see the real gift in what they’ve been given – opportunity.
Small is the new big when it comes to life-changing opportunities.
- A small home means cleaning is no big deal.
- Small homes don’t need big furniture…or the big expense required to buy it.
- Small payments makes it easy to save big dollars for the future.
- A small footprint makes a big difference in creating a greener environment.
- Small homes don’t have big utilities bills.
- Small obligations mean there’s more time (and more money) for big adventures.
- Small obligations also give you time to learn and grow as a couple, making a big impact on the quality of your relationship.
- Small homes don’t have big storage spaces when means less accumulation of junk.
- Small yards are perfect for planting small gardens, which make a big difference in eating healthy and saving money.
I could probably go on and on.
We know all these things to be true because we’ve been living small for the past 5 years and it has been the best thing we’ve ever done for ourselves. Freedom is really the only status symbol that matters and living small goes a long way in helping achieve that goal.
If I could give this young couple the gift of wisdom, I would, but it takes time and experience to come to the realization that less is more. I hope that they will get there one day and I hope that when they do, they’ll carry with them the many wonderful lessons they’re about to learn by living small.