Living with less == Living with more

June 25th, 2014

Living with less

You might have heard the saying: “Enjoy the little things in life!”. This is a passive thought. The fact that you should enjoy things that are small in your life implies that your life already contains such moments, that they may be rare, that you should be on a hunt for them. You might be at the point in your life where all such moments have vanished, caught by the rules and expectations of a heavily industrialized society. I would like to suggest a better quote, transforming it to be more pro-active: “Make your life smaller, then enjoy it”.

How smaller?

Depends on you! Think of varying degrees of “smallness”. At the extreme left of the spectrum you might have possession-less living, at the extreme right you might have hoarding and continuous purchasing. Most people fall somewhere in between. Society is biased toward pushing us gradually toward the right. As we move to the right, we invest capital, efforts and most importantly, time. You can always get more capital. You can always work hard to achieve your goals. But you cannot make more time.

Smallness spectrum

As society pushes us to own more, buy more, spend more, we should try to own less, buy less, and spend less. Now, don’t take this thought to an extreme! We are talking about the middle of the spectrum, where there’s balance between time and the rest.

For myself, traveling in a popup camper is allowing me to understand the left part of the spectrum. After having lived in apartments and houses with driveways, living in a small tent for a prolonged period of time is teaching me what’s on the left side of the spectrum. It’s teaching me that I do not always need electricity wherever I go, and when I do need it, I use it sparingly to conserve batteries or I use the sun to recharge them. I do not always need a high speed internet connection, edge speed coming from my phone (when I have enough signal) does the job just fine. I don’t need to watch cable TV or movies, a sunset or sunrise is much more appealing (and I almost forgot how it looked like). The space inside the popup camper is quite small, so the number of things I own and use for my everyday essential needs has been drastically cut down. And it feels great! I have fewer things to take care of, and less bills to pay. I code and write for a few hours every day (well, most days, especially if it’s rainy), then I’m off to hike a trail, view a panorama, play board games with my wife, read a book, practice martial arts or simply enjoy a sunset.

But this blog post is not just about me. It’s about you, too. Ask yourself how much time do you have, right now, to do the things that you enjoy in your life? If the answer is not much, make a plan, leave fears aside, downsize, and start exploring the left side of the spectrum. You will not be disappointed.


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  • Disney knew about this! We should have listen to Baloo…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTzr3biYmhA

  • I like the idea! Unfortunately, sometimes it’s quite hard to understand where your are and leave your comfort zone. Recently I’ve seen a bit similar post (http://lemire.me/blog/archives/2014/08/11/a-culture-of-envy/) where there is a concept of “infinite games” presented. You can always have a better car, more money, more stuff… but will that make you happy? Still, we often ask this question too late 🙂

    • pierotofy

      Very interesting read! Thanks for sharing. I would attempt to expand on Mr. Lemire’s thoughts and say that “taking the regular jobs” and “being happy by never winning anything” is not exactly a recipe for success (in my opinion), because it’s passive. It’s saying “just take a place in the average levels of society”. I believe society as a whole pushes us toward paths of unhappiness, for example with long work hours, with the resulting high work / life ratio. Living small is not just about envying less and buying less (part of it is), but also about making the choices that allow you to free more of your time. Choosing a part time employment, for example, when the rest of society wants you to work full time. And there’s something you definitely want to win more of, that’s time! Making it a goal to free more time, I believe we could all be a happier society.

      • Right! what is the point in having a lot of money, when you do not have time to use it (because you need to work long hours…)