The Convenience of Modern Living…
…and why I don’t like it.
We just spent the last two months living away from our tiny house with Matt’s mom for the holidays. Two months was an awful long time to spend in someone else’s home and while I was grateful for her hospitality I was also quite ready to leave Michigan and go back to Asheville.
There were a couple of things that I had started taking for granted living in the tiny house. They are opposite what most would expect but they were troubling to me.
- How easy it was. I immediately missed my chores. I loved the simplicity of emptying our gray water bucket into the artificial wetland each day. I had become accustomed to breaking up my work day by going outside to handle my daily chores about 10am. As soon as we got to Michigan I felt unbalanced. I suspect that conventional life has become much too easy. Technology allows us to be hands off. As things are becoming more convenient are we becoming more disconnected with our own lives?
- Television, my old friend. Unfortunately, it didn’t take very long to fall back into one of my old habits. I had actually been afraid of giving up TV when we moved into the tiny house but it turned out to be great for me. I had spent a lot of time with my television. There were several levels of things I would watch and not all of it was quality programming. At one point I realized that television wasn’t the cure for boredom it was the manifestation of it. Moving into the tiny house removed the temptation. Embarrassingly, it didn’t take me long to get back into that habit for those two months in Michigan. I’m glad to be away from the constant stimulation again.
- The waste. It was astounding the amount of waste three people could generate. One of the things that surprised us after being in the tiny house for only 6 months was what we perceived to be an over use of the dishwasher. In our tiny house we have very few dishes. After we’ve cooked and eaten our dinner we immediately washed, dried, and put away the dishes. It was never a problem. This winter, we started out washing our mugs and setting them aside to use again but they still ended up in the dishwasher. It was easier to get a clean mug than to fight it. The shower also felt wasteful. I became accustomed to our two gallon shower sprayer which automatically conserves water that a traditional shower seemed a little overwhelming for me. I found myself taking very short showers to try to curb the water use. Not to mention all the trash.
This, I suppose, is a chicken or egg argument. Was it the act of building and living in a tiny house the thing that made us aware of these issues or did our awareness and desire to change them lead to building a tiny house? I don’t suppose it matters. Everyone can take steps to change their consumption habits. We can turn off the TV and go for a walk. Or we can allow ourselves to do a few dishes by hand as we use them. You don’t have to live in a tiny space to profoundly change the way you interact with your own life.
Laura LaVoie is a writer who has been living off the grid in her own tiny house in the mountains of North Carolina. To learn more about her visit her blog.
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