Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
Sometimes you just luck into things. That was the case when we decided we didn’t need or want a large retirement home. There are the two of us and when we were planning our retirement home one of the features we did not want is a larger home that requires maintenance and continual cleaning. As it turns out technology has provided additional benefits that we did not project into our home or even envision.
We both like to read and when I would read a good book I would put it into the book shelf to perhaps read again in a few years or hold for reference. Books tend to accumulate and more book shelves are needed to store the saved books. Then we discovered the Kindle which holds more books than we can read, and some can be downloaded for free. You can have a complete library that can be held in your hand and you can adjust the type size to make it an easy read. If those books were stored in our home it would take an entire wall to house them. Instead there is an entire library stored in something easily held in one hand. We even save trees by reading books on our Kindle.
Then there is the flat screen television that replaced the one that had the protruding back that took up so much room. This one mounts to the wall and requires very little space, plus it has clarity that defies description. Or our laptops that store and maintain our records. There goes the space-eating file cabinets and record storage. We can put an entire household of records on a thumb drive that is so small I am more concerned over losing it than losing records. Or family photos and storage of albums. They can be scanned into a computer and put on a CD for easier viewing or downloaded directly from a camera. Or my camera itself. It has been reduced to the size of a business card and does not require filters, lens or careful adjustments. I can slip it into my shirt pocket; my old one required a small suitcase to carry around. More space-saving technology.
So going small or downsizing is now more practical and our home is more than comfortable, even with three large dogs to share it with. We never anticipated that downsizing would have so many benefits and we would not have to sacrifice our comfort to achieve it. Technology has been a real benefit for us. We went from over 2,000 square feet down to 850 square feet and now see where people are actually downsizing to 200 square feet. When we stop and think about it, this downsizing makes sense because we spend a lot of time outdoors anyway and don’t need multiple rooms or a larger home. We just plain lucked out when technology made life more simple and helped us reduce wasted space.
We take so much for granted now days that we should really stop and give thanks for all the advancements that make our life more efficient and comfortable. We have portable instant communication, a vast network of information at our fingertips, apps that simplify almost every task, and vehicles that astound me. Our truck has On Star that diagnoses problems, tells me if my tires are low, grants me emergency communication, and has GPS that tracks exactly where our vehicle is. It gives me the direction, temperature and road conditions.
We can read newspapers on line, listen to current news stories and even take college courses on our laptops. These are all conveniences which we take for granted and eagerly anticipate the next advance that we can put to use. It is only when I reflect back on an earlier life that lacked these timesavers that I can fully appreciate them today.
As the new year approaches I believe one of my resolutions will be to tell people who have made my life easier that I appreciate what they have done. Just yesterday we opened a package of lettuce that said "field packaged." We went on their website and found that it is cut, cleaned and packaged right in the field so it will be fresher when we receive it. I for one plan to start thanking people for the advances they've made that make my life easier and more convenient. I no longer plan to take for granted the modern conveniences that give me a better life.
For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray and living in the mountains go to:http://www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com