The typical American dream- get a great job, get married to the love of your life, buy a family-sized house, have kids, live in said house and enjoy life. Am I missing anything? How many people follow this path? Now, how many people truly have great jobs? How many people feel like they are married to the love of their lives? How many people want to clean a big house (especially with kids leaving a trail of disaster in their wake)? The economy and logistics of modern life has made this reality more and more difficult to accomplish (much less afford), and in the process of doing so, many of us have to sacrifice so much that the picture is completely distorted by the time it is said and done. Our relationships are suffering, our health is suffering, and our sense of purpose is collapsing. How many people truly love their jobs? Is it worth it to you to slog away at a job that you hate every day simply to afford a house that you rarely get to enjoy only to spend your ‘time off’ cleaning it all? Now, I know this isn’t everybody’s reality. Some people truly love their lucrative careers for reasons beyond financials, and can afford to pay for help cleaning their McMansions. But what about the rest of us? Why does our reality have to suffer? I don’t have a magic bullet answer, but for me the answer was simple. That wasn’t my dream. It was somebody else’s. I took it on because it looked pretty and I value family- from the outside, this lifestyle supported our vision. Reality was a different picture. We couldn’t afford to accept the careers and enjoy the family time we wanted if we stayed in our house. (Let it be noted, that we do not live in a McMansion and by most peoples’ standards we live in a ‘small’ house.) I had already begun to simplify our lives to streamline cleaning and organization, but after watching the documentary Tiny, my mind was blown. I had made huge financial choices without ever realizing the massive effects of my actions. Aside of finances I was cleaning a lot and spending way more time and money than I wanted on house maintenance. According to the American Dream, this is how it’s supposed to be (though it’s not directly shown in the glossy visions). Where do you go from here? For starters, watch Tiny. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a movie about a man who builds a tiny house (classified as being between 100-200 square feet) to support his values of living green, economically, and to provide freedom for healthy relationships with people and nature. I was inspired by how closely aligned his goals and living situation were. Why had it never occurred to me how out of alignment mine were? By many standards, our house is already modest, however the use of our time was completely out of balance with our values. While I don’t anticipate wanting to live in a house quite that small, it is inspiring to think ‘what is it that we truly need in a home?’ How does the physical space of ‘home’ serve to support our values in every way? As my family moves towards getting these aspects of our lives closer in alignment with each other, we will be considering these same questions. What do you think? Could you ever live in a small house? What freedoms do you see that experience offering you, and do you think it would be worth it? Why or why not? Please comment below. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!