Maybe good things really do come in small packages.
I first heard about the tiny house movement a couple of months ago on a national news program, and I was intrigued. Then I came across this article on The Atlantic’s website about a Portland couple who lives in a 128-square-foot tiny house (from what I’m seeing, these houses run from $20,000-$35,000). They got rid of most of their stuff, got out of debt, built the tiny house and now have what most of us crave – more free time and more freedom.
According to The Tiny Life website, the average American home is 2,600-square-feet, so making the transition would certainly be an adjustment. But I love the question that the woman asks in the video above:
“Do you really want to spend your time working at a job you hate, to buy crap that you can’t afford? Probably not, you know. And so in a lot of ways, I think tiny-housers have figured that out and so they’ve reprioritized their time to focus on relationships.”
A recent poll shows that 59% of Americans believe the American Dream is dying. The problem is, the poll didn’t really define “American Dream.”
Over the past 80+ years, Americans have believed that freedom allows everyone (“all men are created equal”) to work hard at the job of our choosing, which leads to the opportunity for prosperity and success.
The math in this equation adds up, arguably. But does it really provide the answer that will satisfy your soul?
I’m not convinced it does.
And even if it did, it’s an Industrial Age mindset, born out a time period in which Americans worked hard in factories, lived on less than they made, saved money, bought homes, lived reasonably well and then retired on their savings. My grandparents did that and I was so impressed by what they were able to do with their earnings.
But we’re in the Information Age now. We have more freedom with our careers than previous generations. So maybe it’s time to redefine the American Dream.
If I’m reading tiny-housers correctly, their American Dream equation would be that freedom gives them the choice to live on very little, in very little houses which affords them the opportunity to do the work they love and to spend more time with loves ones.
That sounds much more satisfying to me.
Lee Warren is a freelance writer and editor who has written twelve non-fiction books, one novella and hundreds of articles for various newspapers and magazines as well as edited more than 50 books that currently appear in print. He's a fan of NASCAR, baseball, tennis, books, movies and coffee shops.