Living in the Trees

DSC_0969The rumors are true. We have decided to build and to live in a treehouse. I never thought a lifelong dream of mine would come true so soon in life! Everything just fell together perfectly for this to happen; we were meant to live in a tree house for sure.

With college loans to pay off, more college to be paid for, and the slew of financial hardships that newlyweds face, it was the most economical option (plus, we have an incredible aunt, Julie, who was willing to let us build the tree house in her backyard!). Most people understand the economical rationale behind building and living in a tree house, but they still feel that it isn’t a rational option; we have found this to be untrue. We have also found this to be freeing.

Who hasn’t always dreamed of living in a treehouse? Why not follow our hearts and nurture our dreams? Why wouldn’t we take this opportunity to start a different life path than what most Americans take? We are starting off on the right foot – by stepping into the sky – for a unique life, and that thrills Shane and I. We have never been prone to being comfortable in spacious houses; this brings feelings of guilt to both of us due to our perception of this lifestyle as being careless, lavish, and worldly (especially houses that place quantity of square feet over quality of the square feet which are the majority of houses built today). We are determined to overcome the fad of large houses that are wasteful and distasteful; it’s easy to be herded in this direction, but we want to stop this societal trend as soon as possible in our own lives. Let’s relish in a more enjoyable lifestyle by creating a world with well thought-out and well used space!

Not only is living in a large house (> 800 sq ft) a waste of space and a formula for slavery of debt, but it is a waste of time and relationships. The larger the house, the longer the list of chores. Smaller space is much more efficient, and has a greater ability to cater to personalized preferences and needs… which includes a more manageable space. Also, the closer families are spatially to one another, the closer the relationships are. I think it’s sad when family members have enough space in a home for each person to be able to lounge in a completely separate room. It has only been in the past few decades that these housing trends have taken hold. I think there is a direct link between larger houses, the debt crisis, failing families, and increased mental illness in our modern society. Shane and I want to foster a healthier lifestyle by being close to the ones we love (for now, in our treehouse, this refers to just us!). It gives us more opportunity to serve one another, to know what’s going on in each other’s lives, and to simply spend time together. When we have children we want to maintain the small house lifestyle for the same reasons. Note: Shane grew up with 9 people living in an 800 square foot house in South Pasadena, California, so it CAN be done!

Another beautiful part of living in a small home is having to edit life. One of the greatest abilities humans have today is the ability to make our lives less complex and less materialistic through technology. Oftentimes, people choose the opposite route with technology…more friends on Facebook, more places to shop, more information to consume, etc. However, technology can be used to clarify, simplify, and assist in a truly better quality of life. Editing our physical environment is also a requirement of the small house lifestyle. This means less materialistic items; we must choose the objects that we live with more carefully. One becomes very aware of everything in this environment, including the inputs and outputs of a household. More efficient, more modular, more useful, and more creative solutions are required for this lifestyle. This segues into one of my favorite reasons for living in a small house; it is the most environmentally conscious way to live. The awareness of surroundings and the systems that occur within the space makes us tremendously more mindful of our relationship with the Earth. This smaller living space makes environmentally minded choices the default. Not only does a smaller living area save resources, but it saves money, and therefore it provides peace of mind.

Our way of living is pure freedom, and certainly not a sacrifice. I believe this way of life will be a new trend because  in its innate foundation, strong relationships, self-reliance, sustainability, financial security, and personal and communal inspiration are enabled and upheld.

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