For some reason Tina has occupied my head lately. What’s Love Got to do With it is a catchy song, although the lyrics are a bit mixed up…(http://youtu.be/TCBttS_y7lE) But when I started meditating on the topic of size, while making chocolate chip cookies, I could hear my revised version, sung A Capella, echoing in my ears. (It could be my tinnitus, I admit… it often takes on the sound and shape of different things!) ANYWAY, my mother used to always tell me not to make cookies too big, because if someone was gonna take two cookies they would take two cookies, whatever their size was. She also taught me to use only 1/2 of a 12 ounce package of chips in a batch of cookies. Two batches from one bag! Hey, she was raised, and a newlywed, in the depression era of the 1930s! And since times are hard all over again, it could be that these are lessons to take to heart, all over again.
I live in a tiny house. I have written about my house before, so won’t wander off the topic now, just to say that I read an article in Better Homes & Gardens where they talked about this couple struggling with a little house – about three pages into the article they mentioned that the house was 1800 square feet. Little? Whoa Nellie!
We live in super-sized times. New houses are huge, set on tiny little lots where you can hear your neighbors gargling in the morning, or fighting when they get home from work. No yard to worry about though! Only room for a lap pool, if that. Meals at restaurants are often so large that they could easily feed a family of four, unless of course you are at a trendy restaurant that serves cuisine nouvelle, with tiny portions elegantly served, with the only big thing about it being the tab.
The economy is forcing many into smaller, more economic cars – yet I am bumfuzzled by the number of SUVs trolling around the streets in metropolitan areas. Gas-guzzlers, hard to park, expensive to insure, they hardly seem worth the cost and daily expense, unless you live in mud or snow year-round! I always smile when I see a Smart Car zip past – looking so tiny and efficient, yet leaving a feeling of “where is the rest of it” when it has gone past.
Houses, Cars, Meals – bigger is better. Or is it? This seems to be a new wrinkle on keeping up with the Jones’ – we can flash our money, our status, and our value by super-sizing our lives. We are an obese society as well – making me think back to Fiddler on the Roof – when the wife bemoans that they don’t have enough money so she can cultivate a “proper double chin.” Schools no longer routinely offer Physical Education, and the evolution of home gaming, and game systems makes it even harder to get kids out to exercise and play. I truly do remember leaving my house in the morning after breakfast in the summertime and only coming back for meals – rolling in around 5 after a full day of rough and tumble playing with the neighborhood kids.
I know some nostalgia is creeping in here, despite my best efforts to the contrary. Recently, when we had our grandsons for 5 days, they spent the whole day, everyday, prowling around our 10 acres. They found a “dump” site from the previous (Victorian Farmhouse) place here, and wallowed in great joy amongst old pieces of china, wood and mysterious metal gizmos. (And, yes, I did vet the place first – and in fact, as a crafter, insisted on purloining some of their finds for future projects!) They came in when I hollered, and fell happily to sleep at night, no game systems, and only a movie or two to entertain them inside!
I think super-sizing is a choice. A bad one, but still, a choice we each have to make. I have lived in large houses, and small ones, and found ways to enjoy them both. Right now I relish the simplicity of the small house. Easy to clean, inexpensive to heat/cool, and friendlier and cozier somehow. I am getting that way about my meals too, small in portion, simple in ingredients, and providing an intimacy and charm that a big meal doesn’t give. Don’t get me wrong, I love a honkin’ big Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, but somehow our lifestyles today negate the value of the “occasional” big meal. And a homemade meal.
How can you start to back out of the mega-sized society we live in? Take a look at this wonderful list on Mother Nature Network. Think before making big purchases. Don’t stockpile things anymore. I mean, the money some families have tied up in garbage bags (600? Really!) or batteries is often ridiculous. Shop carefully for big-ticket items. The only place I intend to grow is in my knowledge of myself and in contributing to the small-is-better movement! How about you?