Typical Residential Life
Last year we were living a pretty typical residential life. We had a small house in the suburbs of Houston with a simple backyard and great neighborhood features like parks, pools, splash pads, and miles of walking trails that wind along the neighborhood water retention areas. The town was also building a brand new baseball park and soccer field across the street from the main subdivision entrance. So it was going to be pretty exciting with lots of fun activities to do in the area.
Even though it seemed like we had so much at our disposal, we still felt like something was missing from our home…from our life.
We missed the natural outdoors. We had a backyard; however, it had been stripped of nature’s native life. The original, native trees and grasses that had survived for millions of years were ripped up. Only to be replaced with small, young trees and foreign, plush grasses that are not native to the area.
We missed the shade from mature trees to protect us from the intense Texas summer heat. Without the shade of the trees, Wyatt couldn’t stay outside longer than 30 minutes, and we spent most of our time inside…unable to fully enjoy the season.
Backyard barbecues just didn’t feel right when the view is limited to about 20 feet, bound by the back of the house and an ugly brown fence surrounding the house like a cage at the zoo.
How did life evolve in such a suffocating way?
Where did we lose our connection to nature, our wondering spirit, our community?
While inside, we spent most of our time in the living room and kitchen. Of course, we slept in our bedrooms and used our bathrooms, but our quality time as a family was spent in the 500 square-foot open living room and the kitchen. The rest of the house was rarely used. Hard-earned money was spent on heating and cooling a huge home we rarely used. If we were running a business this way, we would surely be fired for such a backward business model.
Overtime, we hired people to clean the house and mow the lawn. Since our non-native grass and bushes needed more care, we also hired people to take care of our grass, keep it green and plush, spray for weeds and keep our trees and plants free of bugs.
The more money we made, the more money we doled out. The cycle was never ending. We were in a race to move forward; however, our track kept circling around and around.
This was about the time that Tiny House Hunters began airing on HGTV. We enjoyed watching this show, looking at the big changes people made and their reasoning behind it. It put our life into perspective – made us realize we didn’t need much to live. Simplifying our life and downsizing not only makes life easier, but it also saves slews of money.
I could never live full-time in a tiny house. First, the kitchen is way too small for the cooking both my husband and I love to do, and second, because I am 5-ft 10-in, there’s no way I’m spending the rest of my life crawling in and out of my bed and bending over to get dressed.
The show, however, did introduce us to the concept of downsizing, simplifying, and letting go of the things that weigh us down. It challenged us to find what really mattered to us as a family and rid ourselves of the extraneous clutter that continually weighs us down.
Let Go and Live Life
That’s exactly what we did!
At the end of last year, we bought an older home, built in the 1950’s, in a small town outside of Houston. The home is much smaller, and with some updates, will have a very open feel to carry on the connectivity we desire as a family.
The main selling point, however, was the huge yard. The yard, full of mature pecan trees, pine trees, crepe myrtles, loquat fruit trees and a few fig bushes, completely fit our family’s needs and desires. The yard also had a great open space for a garden and nice seating for backyard barbecues.
The house needs some TLC and a little updating. We’re still in the process of remodeling the kitchen, living room and master bedroom. We made some non-traditional design choices in order to maximize on space, but we are happy to be bucking the system, going against the grain and creating a home that now coincides with our family’s ideals.
It honestly feels good to let go. Let go of that need to have certain things, do certain things and be perceived a certain way.
It’s time to let go of all the clutter that surrounds us, suffocates us and prevents us from living fully in the present.
It’s time to be free, enjoy nature, listen to the birds sing, the woodpeckers peck, and watch as my son climbs trees, plays with sticks, bugs, mud puddles, and gets dirty as little ones should.
It’s time we started interacting with neighbors and establishing a community that extends beyond the four-walls of our home.
It finally gives us the chance and the freedom to live well, live healthy, but most importantly, to live life.