This is one of my most favorite pictures that I’ve ever taken. I’m not exactly sure why except for me it epitomizes a lot in my life: much of it has seemed kind of tattered and worn down. It has been beaten by the elements of time and I wear the scars to prove it. I’m rough around the edges, yet I’m still standing. I show many signs of age, but that’s because I’ve lived. To many, I look old and maybe not that beautiful, but I know inside I hold many secrets–only the ones really brave enough to enter will know. And although I’ve weathered many storms and darkness has followed me, there is always hope and beauty that seems to linger right near by. All I have to do is summon the courage, step away from the edge and turn around.
Started the packing in earnest today. We’re pooped from it, as well as being up much of the night sick. Mostly pup, although I wasn’t feeling too hot either. Rice diet for us both and early to bed, even after our nap!
There comes a time in life where dreams, schemes and your belief system all come crashing together and it’s time to see if you can walk your talk. So it has come to pass for me.
For some time now I have been fascinated and, well, even more than that, committed, shall we say to the idea of tiny homes. The idea of minimalizing one’s space and one’s ‘stuff’ as George Carlin so wonderfully put it in a beautiful routine some years ago–and living in much less square footage.
Some do it in as little as 150 square feet! These folks amaze me. The homes I follow on Instagram are lovely, quaint, mobile (some of them), in trees, on water, in the mountains, in the city, in the desert, eco-friendly, made out of recycled material–you name it. But the one thing they have in common is that the living space is very small.
When I made my move last year, I went from a three/four bedroom farm house, to a one bedroom apartment. The square footage was maybe 400-500 feet less if you included the porches I had, which we used quite a bit. What I knew was that I gave up lots of ‘stuff’ and space…willingly. Gave my things to friends, the dump or anyone who would take it. And it felt freeing!
But I still had lots actually. This place I’m in now was advertised as 1000 square feet. It was hard to believe, but when I comfortably moved in the stuff I had, it appeared to be true.
Now will come to true test of my willingness and ability to carry out my hope and dream to live more simply. Today I just put in an offer to own a condo that is less than 700 square feet of living space. No, it’s not an amazing and beautifully made tiny house in the middle of some lush forest. But is an adorable space that overlooks water. It was very peaceful.
The other part of it that was so attractive is that it is part of a community. This is another ideal that I feel is very important for me personally, and for the healing of the world. Instead of many individual, separate houses–each with their own lawn mowers, weed eaters, tools etc. (all creating more garbage for the world)– more communal living I feel is what is needed. Plus creating community, where people care for and about one another; instead of neighborhoods where no-one knows their neighbor anymore which has been becoming the standard. It takes a village to raise our kids. Maybe this would help to stop some of the hatred?
This place has a pool (three actually), workout area, community room and I hear it’s very active. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone. I already know folks from work who live there and it’s very close to my job, so my co-workers and I can socialize more.
Of course, I am nowhere near the closing and anything can happen, but I feel hopeful. Things have been going well for me here recently . My Mom has been such a big help with this all and has encouraged me with this decision.
Now to make the tiny space into a tiny home with big contentment.
Something that I have never shared with my blogging community is that I have a dollhouse and love miniatures.
I also love anything vintage: jewelry, clothing and even mini’s. So this weekend when I noticed a sign for a dollhouse exhibit and sale right near my apartment, I was thrilled.
After my walk, I strolled back to find miniature heaven! But I was particularly drawn to one vendor that sold many obvious vintage ones!
My weak spot is fairies/angels and some special babies. These two are old and handmade. They were sweet and I love to think about who might have made them or held them in their hands.
My house has three floors and is chock full. Every corner has some special thing hidden.
The vendor even had a hand painted framed painting from a local artist. Her mother knew the man who had died some years ago and they both must have been elderly. Even the frame looks so much like a genuine one.
I also found two tiny cups that reminded me of some that my great Aunt gave me many years ago. The mini’s are metal, not plastic.
Most people would probably think I’m nuts, but I love it. I have fun looking at it and pretending I’m a kid again.
I don’t live in my wonderful house anymore, so I can have my imagination run wild with my miniatures. Although I am running out of room…which may mean that someday I will be a multiple home owner!
Walking I had yet another moment of realization today. It was after another confrontational day at work. I ponder these moments and really wonder about them. But then I thought back to my last job in New England and realized that there were co-workers there that were difficult too, and that’s when I realized the difference. And it’s not just a difference at work, but in the people in general.
Back home, as I still tend to call it (and feel it is I suppose), the folks are often what one think as the stereotypical New Englanders–keeping their emotions and their lives mostly to themselves. It takes them a long time to get to know someone and trust them (and some never do), but once they do, you’re golden.
They can be a pretty silent people, and you as an outsider, which I always considered myself (even though I lived for 20 years in one NE state and 30 in another)– I was really from NY. And they never forget that either!
You may live in a house for years, but they don’t consider it yours until you move, then they refer to it as the old so and so house. Many are the salt of the earth, but are reserved in offering. In some ways, you must earn your place in the community, it’s not automatic.
And when they do choose to speak, they usually have something to say–it may not be much, and they won’t care if you agree, but they’ll hold to their principles and beliefs come hell or high water. Pretty much nothing will change their minds, not even reason sometimes. They just stand firm! But real New Englanders will do it over a beer or two (maybe more), and are used to letting others do their own thing. They’ll just think they are wrong.
If they are angry, they will stew and not talk to someone. Or maybe have some beers and have a fight. Get it over with and be done.
Then I came here to the south…not the polite south either. Initially I was shocked by the rudeness of people! Gosh, you couldn’t sit at a light for one second without someone honking their horn!
And at work too, of course I’ve mentioned the craziness. I attributed it to being the surgery department, but today I realized that this may not totally be it! It may be just living in this area and the personalities of the folks down here and how they are used to acting.
They are much more brazen: if they are angry, they snap and say it! It can shock you because you might not even realize what you did to them. And they get angry at the smallest things too. People are loud and have big personalities. I notice this in grocery stores too. It’s quite amusing actually.
I’m guessing the difference is because of a few things: there are more people for one. So everyone is vying for space and air time. You have to be loud I suppose they must think–but please not at work!! The grocery stores have loud music too. And there are cultural differences too, where in NE, everything is very homogeneous.
It is probably just more stressful living here? Although NE is cold and dreary so much of the time–wouldn’t you think that is stressful? But maybe that toughens them and makes them quiet and inward. There’s a lot more money here too, so maybe folks are entitled in some ways. And they are from all parts of the country, trying to blend with each other. Does it work? Well, sometimes, when everyone is yelling, talking over each other, beeping their horns and misunderstanding one another…. um, no–not all the time.
All places have their advantages. But I as of yet have not found the place I resonate with sadly. I am a mix of both these places in a way. I am outgoing in some ways and like a mix of people, loving the cultural stew. Yet, my quiet NE home was so peaceful and beautiful too–and the people there, while challenging could be the most endearing friends.
So where will I find my next home? How to find a combination of both–how to get a sense of community without the harsh edge of, well, stressed-outness that I find here? That close-knit days of old where neighbors helped one another and cared with a beautiful backdrop?