The grass is always greener on the other side.
Think about it for a moment.
Some may call it a truth. Some, a proverb. Some may have it over their desk on a calendar or tucked into their wallet for regular reading. For some it may ring true while others use it as an albatross. Whatever the case, it is a euphemism that many throw our way when we talk of consumerism, mini-mansions, corporate slavery, and mounting debt. “They probably grew up as rich, entitled, youth so they want to rebel against their parents.” We have heard that, yes. “Oh, they are just trying to make a point and become some sort of Internet celebrities.” We have even heard that. It doesn’t matter though. We know that the grass is only as green as the effort you put into it. Grass doesn’t green on its own. It takes resolve. You have to first plant seed then you have to cultivate that seed and protect that seed. Then as the grass begins to grow you have to feed it and nurture it. As the dirt turns to carpeted stems you have to maintain it and continue to shape it and work it. Such is the case with our tiny house dream. No, the grass isn’t any greener anywhere else for us. Yes, we could have “the American Dream,” if we wanted. Our annual salary is above that of many of our peers. We have money in a savings account. We have land. We have, we have, we have. We have the greenest grass anywhere, we think. But let me tell you how we got it.
Crystal grew up poor in rural North Carolina. Her parents were divorced when she was just two years old although her mother remarried soon after. Along with her three brothers they worked the tobacco fields with their extended family making just enough to get by and through some of the off-season. She lived in a multitude of rental houses; not one better than the one before. Her memories are filled with stories of falling chimneys, snakes on the porch, empty cupboards, and hard knocks. No matter what address they were at nothing seemed to top 1000 square feet and with six people in the house quarters were tight. But even against those odds there was love and support and honor and work ethic. There was good food on the table each Sunday afternoon and family meals were commonplace.
I grew up in Norfolk, Virginia with the Chesapeake Bay at my backdoor. Our house was shared by a rotating cast of siblings along with Momma and Daddy. Sometimes there were five of us and on occasion six. Our friends were always welcome and it was nothing to have hotdogs on a Saturday afternoon with ten or so of your closest people. My daddy worked three jobs and my momma at least one. We went to church every Sunday and were taught to take school seriously. Our home was 1100 square feet and we shared everything – bedrooms, blankets, food, and one television. We weren’t impoverished but we knew there were others that had more than us. Even still, there was a joy that filled the air of our home on a more than regular basis. We laughed together, cried together, and everything in between.
When Crystal and I did meet we had collectively lived in 13 countries. I alone had stayed on the beach in Virginia, in a flat in Paris, in a retirement village in Miami, a condo in Florida, a castle in England, a studio in Brooklyn, and a shack in Japan. She had seen life from an apartment in the Ukraine, a room in Israel, the oceanfront in North Carolina, a rowhouse in New Jersey, and a number of points in between.
Needless to say when we married and dreamed up the Tiny r(E)volution we didn’t even dream of a large house with expansive rooms. That grass never existed to us. We had both always know small, compact, efficient. Sure we had dreamed of champagne wishes and caviar dreams with golden fixtures and infinity pools. But we both realized that in our lives, no matter where we lived, no matter what the size, everything came back down to who we shared it with. It was about love. It was about relationship. It was about spending time with our families and our loved ones and nothing else. We were afraid that the more we had….well, the less we would have.
The r(E)volution allows us to spend less time in the cubicle and more time living. There is less overhead which literally means there is less over our heads! The sky above us is blue and the grass beneath us is green. We choose tiny house because it is a place to sleep and a place to eat. It is not our life but just part of it. We live in this world with everyone else; feet bare and cool from the green, green, grass.