Oh for the simple life

Image of tiny sustainable houseOn two occasions in my recent past I have had to life out of a suitcase for an extended period of time. Not fun, I’m on a holiday living out of a suitcase. Falling and breaking my ankle and leg so badly that I was disabled and was not allowed to live on my own.

The first time it was sudden, without warning. The second it was by choice to rectify the damage done in the first instance.

On both occasions I lived in respite accommodation. Two different places, both of which were sort of halfway houses for people who weren’t quite able to get by on their own. My fellow residents included young and old people suffering from mental illness, or the early stages of dementia, and some young people who just didn’t like living on their own.

In the first instance friends went into my home and found some clothes and books and other essentials for me. Just enough to get by.  In the second instance I was able to draw on the experience of the first, and stock my suitcase myself.

I learned lots of things during these two periods. How to ask for help. Helps sometimes comes from unexpected places. How little really takes to get buy, and even thrive.

The experience of disability changed me forever.

The simplicity didn’t stick. Of course, each of those times I knew, or hoped, that I wouldn’t be forever living in one room.  With a very narrow choice of mismatched clothes and no choice about the food I ate. But I know from that experience that if/when it happens again, that I can do it, forsake my things and live a simpler life.

As I sit in my unit today surrounded by all of my things, and there are lots of ‘things’ surrounding me, I know that my emotional attachment to things may be holding me back. But I’m not yet ready to chuck everything in the Salvos bins and go back to one room living. To start with, respite accommodation costs almost as much per week as my two bedroom unit does.

This article in Higher Perspective is inspiring. The houses are more like works of art, and living simply and sustainably is a science and an art. It takes dedication.

I share (with some of those commenting) a desire to see some less rural sustainable abodes. Although I would love to live like a hermit in the bush, I need a job to sustain me. Not so much for the mind and spirit, but in the bodily aspect. I can’t afford to buy a plot of land and live off it and my wits. I also don’t desire to disconnect from my fellow men and women. I like my solitude, but enjoy bouncing ideas off, and laughing with people.

And I don’t desire to live off the grid. I’m happy to pay taxes to support a civilised society. I want to live in a healthy, educated and well nourished community.

Still it’s nice to dream, to be inspired and think about what I truly want, and plan for making my specific dreams reality.

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