Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Grappling with False Pride

“No one ever choked to death swallowing his pride”

I won’t kid you. Downsizing from a traditional house to a dinky cabin was hard on the pride. I had to finally admit that the life of my parents (and many of my peers) was not going to be mine. We had experimented with real estate (to limited success thanks to the economy), sold the large house, and could have stayed in the city in more conventional housing but…

Who in their right mind really wants to go back to the shared walls of condo/townhouse/apartment living?

And who in their right mind prefers the sounds of traffic and sirens over the wind in the trees and chirping birds in the morning?

Well maybe if you are from New York City, but I’m not!

But I’m going off point here. It did hurt my pride to move into such “unusual” housing. Even though I love nature, the great outdoors, and the more rustic lifestyle. Even though I’m intrigued by the charm of yesteryear and I love to imagine what life was like long ago. But dreaming about it is quite different from living it. And again, feeling the need to defend our choice to friends and family meant that my pride took a hit. It was announcing to the world that we were economically challenged. We were announcing that we had embraced thriftiness and had become penny-pinchers. And I have to admit that I swallowed my pride (and still do, in fact) when inviting others to our home. I feel the need to explain. Why is that? False pride, rearing its ugly head.

But when I don’t have to pretend for others, I can go on and on and on and on ad nauseam about our wonderfully simple life. We wake up to elk and deer on our property. We have had bear on our property—including an adorable little cub just last year! The meadow next to our home is full of wild roses and a variety of ferns and wildflowers. I have numerous seed and hummingbird feeders all over the property. Most importantly, we are a part of a neighborhood of wonderful and caring people who also have shunned city living—we have a neighborhood that is a throwback to days gone by.

Yes there are challenges--

First of all, we don’t have a well. Our water is delivered which means that we have to conserve water—short showers, washing dishes by hand, watering the garden with buckets of water rather than with a hose.

Secondly, our original source of heat was a wood-burning stove. That meant bringing dusty logs into the house, getting up in the middle of the night to stoke the fire, not to mention the felling of trees, and stacking of wood. No turning the thermostat up to a comfy 75 degrees. Now we have propane but again, it is delivered so we have to monitor our usage.

Thirdly, our place is small. There, I’ve said it. It is compact for sure. So when I shop, I can’t go nuts with my purchases because I have very limited storage. I have to employ the wisdom of “when you buy something new, something else must be purged.” I only surround myself with things I care about (my books, my sewing, family photos)—everything else is stored in our sheds. But honestly, does one really need to pay for a house and the upkeep in order to fill it with meaningless junk? Downsizing meant becoming an organizational wonder. Finding creative ways to store the necessary stuff that one needs in the house. I’m not saying that it was easy. Nuh uh, not on your life.

So yes, my pride was wounded. I was embarrassed to be in a tiny home. But would I trade my new life for the old one? Not on your life. I abhor going into the city. I’m quite content in my little dwelling. This is living life the way it is meant to be lived!

1 comment:

  1. Man, sounds like "Murphy" was working overtime last weekend--you guys deserve a "do-over"!