Mr. Sweetspot and I (hypothetically, of course) live in a micro-home and love it. We’ve owned our land since May of 2017, and have really enjoyed our time here. Or, at least from my point of view, we have really enjoyed our time here since we had power and water. We downsized, reduced, and moved to just over 200 square feet. We have a motto, and that is “living small, so that we can live big”.
We take the meaning of this to be three-fold. The most important is that this lifestyle enabled us to save and build a healthy nest egg, including f*ck you money. This enabled Mr. Sweetspot to quit his job and go into business for himself. It also allows for my “let’s quit my job” fantasies to be an actual possibility, which at the very least makes me feel empowered to know that I’m working by choice, especially on crummy days. This particular aspect of our lifestyle is not affected. I’m still employed at my main job, although I have lost a few side design gigs to theatre closures. Mr. SS lost most of his gigs as they involve both travel and gatherings (he’s still able to teach a weekly yoga class remotely). However, we are ok, and lucky enough to still put money in savings. Let’s face it, we are not spending much (Even if on our masked shopping trips we stumble upon vegan hazelnut butter and spend $7 on a small jar).
The two other aspects of living big are utilizing available spaces outside of our micro-home and adventure/travel. These have suffered since the pandemic and are the areas where we currently struggle. Obviously, the third category of adventure and travel suffered for everyone. Nobody can travel (although we both had work funded travel plans to the city the cancellation of which we’re a little bitter about) and nobody can go to events, out to dinner or to a bar. While remote happy hours with coworkers have made me realize that there are folks who have a legitimate bar in their house (like with a counter top and several seats, not just a booze cart), I’d say we’re all in the same boat on this one. And while we of course did occasionally go out to restaurants, we mostly miss dinners at home with friends anyway.
The second category in the mix is the one specific to us in a micro-home: utilizing available spaces. What are some examples of this? We both love going to the gym, and since our space is not conducive to at home workouts, we don’t mind paying for the membership. We use it a lot and go an average 5 days a week. Typically, Mr. SS will shower there as well. I never bring work home- in addition to my office at work I have access to quiet rooms in both the campus and public library, or I’ll work in a coffee shop. Mr. SS does the same thing and has often checked out a recording studio on campus for his use on his podcast. Naturally, that has gone away. Our 200 square feet are now, in addition to already being a bedroom, living room, bathroom and kitchen, are now two office spaces (accommodating among other things zoom meetings) and a gym. It’s a lot to ask out of one location.
For entertainment, we typically go out of the house. Often we visit friends and cook a big meal at somebody’s house, eat and play board games. In nicer weather we organize get-togethers on our land or go to the local park for a Sunday Funday. For our birthdays this year we were going to rent places for both events. Mine happened in a back room of a boardgame store. Mr. SS’s was going to take place in a campus owned even space located on a beautiful piece of property, with an adjoining barn. Unfortunately, social distancing was in place by the time it happened.
Like everyone else, we’re stuck….we’re just stuck in less space. Living small to… well, just living small. How are we handling this?
The very reassuring thing is this: the other day we had a conversation about how we both feel a little bit ignored by our partner. Turns out, we were really conscientious about giving the other person space, even to a fault. Consideration of others is key when sharing a small environment. We go over each other’s schedules and make sure we consider quiet time (such as a work zoom meetings) or gym time (one person needs the whole living room for an hour) and my introvert needs- I try to be by myself for at least an hour each day. Talking about these needs really helps with making sure they’re all being considered.
The great outdoors have been an awesome respite. Even though it’s still very cold here (it’s only been in the 50’s twice, most days are rainy and grey) I added a walk at the end of my “work day” and it was a great chance for some alone time, a new routine that got me out of the house and a physical signifier that work was over. Two weeks into this, I developed a blood clot. I’m ok, and taking blood thinners, but it’s a very, very painful condition. For the past two weeks I’ve been confined to the house, as I could barely move around. I’m slowly getting better, and yesterday I actually took a walk in the park, so I’m on the mend. This made me realize how much I rely both on the outdoors and having an able body. I have newfound gratitude for both.
Do we regret being in such a small space in current circumstances? While having some more room might be nice right now (even the tiniest designated office space), I’m so happy we theoretically live where we live, and how we live. The fact that in spite of the upcoming (current?) recession we are doing fine is a direct result of the lifestyle changes we made, and I’m still very happy and proud of those. We didn’t plan on this in any way, and are not set up to work from our space… but frankly it’s not like we were set up in the apartment we had prior to this.
We will return to some version of “normal” and then we once again will be able to “live small in order to live big”. For now we’ll live small, continue to be considerate of each other, and frankly, we’re getting used to it. Which means, eventually, the great big world out there will be even more exciting to explore.