When I started my journey beyond the borders of my upbringing, I learned that simplicity was the way.
I built a cabin on the back of a flatbed truck with a six-cylinder engine. You know, the kind of engine where you could see the parts and knew what they did. I found my way to a cabin in a canyon with a spring, a cow and an outdoor shower. I learned to make bread in a wood cook stove, to churn butter and raise honeybees. I went to work and came home tired from a day well spent on producing something tangible.
I know simplicity is the way, but like lots of people from my generation, I forgot and bought back into the system. Before you know it, you are working 50 hours a week at something that has little relevance to living, and you have a big mortgage and little time.
One step at a time, our society has gone from the simple to the complex. This is especially true of our housing. Today, instead of starting out with a 600-800 sq ft, $5000 house like our parents did, we are told a starter house is 2300 sq ft and we need to sign on the dotted line for a $250,000 mortgage. Sure, this feeds the system and makes our economy go round, but it drives us nuts as we work harder and harder to keep up with the mortgage payments and the credit card purchases needed to fill the house and garage.
What if we said no to the system and only built what we needed to live a comfortable life? What if 400 – 500 sq ft per person was a genuine goal? A simple house is one that does not take all your time or money to pay for and maintain. A single story home is easier to build and maintain than a two story one. A simple roof line is easier than one that is chopped up. A green built home will use less of your income for energy, water and other resources. Then, what if you could work four days a week to meet all your needs, instead of five or six? Those extra days could be spent in the garden, or playing with the kids. I know our economy wouldn’t grow at the rate “they” tell us we need, but what if… simplicity was the way? What if we had time to enjoy summer festivals, live music, a good book in winter, or time to see your grand kids? I think simplicity is the way.
“Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.” – Plato
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci
“A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
‘Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.” – Oscar Wilde