Working on the tiny house this semester has exposed me to new materials, people, and ideas that have in some ways reinforced my personal philosophies about material culture in America, but in other ways I’ve learned to think more critically and be reflective of where my feelings are coming from before I pass judgement.
Before starting this class, I told my mom “Don’t ever let me become one of those people who buys a 4,000 square foot mansion and needs to buy things to keep the place from feeling empty.” I thought this lifestyle was outrageous and completely disregarded any care for sustainability. And though I still have a hard time justifying living in 4,000 sq. ft., size is really relative. The 500 sq. ft. apartment I live in is five times the room that someone living in a 100 sq. ft. tiny house may have. And they could be thinking about me, “What does she need all that stuff for?!”
Living a simpler or more “green” lifestyle takes on different forms for different people. Everyone is on their own journey. While I do maintain my beliefs that living with less things, spending more energy on doing versus having, and building relationships with people rather than stuff could lead to a more meaningful and happy life, people live out even these tenants in their own ways. I’m grateful that this class has exposed me to more people who care about leaving this world better than they found it and who inspire me by showing me what it means for them to live intentionally and with a smaller carbon footprint.