Searching For Joy in Small Living
In my twenties I defined myself by what I didn't like. And man there were plenty of things I didn't like. I had an opinion about everything (and I still do, some days). Somehow I thought this made me discerning and a tastemaker of sorts but when I look back I realize that it was just a survival tactic I created out of fear and insecurity. As I've aged, grown and become a mother I realize that true confidence and contentment comes from finding the positive and searching for the bright side in any scenario. I've found this active search for joy has been crucial to remaining happy in our small space. It's easy and natural to focus on what's not working and has taken effort to train my mind to find what is working and focus on the positive.
I doubt 22 year old me could have survived in 600 square feet with 2 kids. Without too much effort I can take myself back to her and list all the things she would have found unbearable about our current living situation.
The constant tidying necessary to keep a small space uncluttered and clean
The kitchen is always in view
The construction outside our door for the past two years
I can't access half of my closet because the mini crib is in the way
I have to make my bed and put it away every morning
There's no where to have a pile of clothes
4 people sharing one bathroom
The clothes drying rack is often in my bathtub
I only have 2 drawers and 2 small racks for my clothes
I'm almost never alone
This city is so expensive and we'll never afford anything bigger
It can be intimidating or embarrassing showing our space to a new acquaintance or friend
And if I focused on these things every day I'm sure our space would seem suffocating. Instead today I focus on the positives like....
We have a home in a beautiful Canadian city with 4 seasons
We have natural light pouring in our windows, bright white walls and comfy furniture
We are all healthy
We are lucky to have short or no commute time so we sit at the table for dinner together most nights
We have all the modern luxuries we could want like a dishwasher, washer/dryer and a cordless vaccuum
We have a small outdoor space to call our own
It doesn't take very long to clean our home from top to bottom and we spend very little time maintaining it throughout the year (leaving more time for adventures)
Less space means we spend less time and money spent buying new things and more time doing
Others have much less than we have and are satisfied.
Others live smaller and are fulfilled
The more we live like this the more I think it makes us really close and connected as a family. We have to get along, to compromise and to quickly resolve our issues. There's no where to run or hide or avoid each other. It probably makes us a little bit weird and that's ok too. Like every time Trevor goes to the bathroom, Mae says "oh where Dada go?" because her reality is that we should all be in her sight line at all times, ha! So thank goodness my 22 year old self is long gone and while the complaints are accurate, in the big picture they are trivial and even entitled.