After 17 months of sharing a single room, Carol and I recently spent a week in our friend’s quite spacious two-bedroom, two bath (plus office) high-rise apartment overlooking downtown St. Petersburg, Fl. Spacious enough, in fact, that I found myself losing track of stuff — and Carol! — until I got used to the extra real estate.
I’ve always liked Judy’s place, located steps from the water in a building where we also lived when we moved to St. Pete 15 years ago. What surprised me about this recent week was how much I enjoyed our time up there on the 24th floor. It taught me something about how I’m feeling about living spaces and places these days.
We were in St. Pete to teach in a masters program made up of mid-career media folks from Europe, Africa and South America. At dinner one night, one of the participants asked us about life at BHFH and made the point that most people our age in her country (Austria) seem headed in the opposite direction — more stuff, larger quarters.
I get the attraction of a homestead, as well as the accumulation of stuff that’s precious for one reason or another. But I find myself more attracted to the lighter life that feels possible with less stuff and smaller quarters. At a time in life when our RAM feels limited, freeing up as much as possible seems like a good idea.
Doing so feels like a good fit with the Sharing Culture I’ve written about before. While sharing leans heavily on the generosity of others, it also summons a looser grip on our own stuff. Without a home of our own at the moment, we welcome the chance to share in other ways. Anybody need a seven year-old Volvo for the weekend?
All of which has me looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner this evening at the home of friends, to Christmas at Maleita & Matt’s in Michigan and to return visits to Judy’s cool apartment, hopefully next time with her in it. Enjoying such times and places seems increasingly decoupled from owning them. I guess I’m learning that, when it comes to space and stuff, living large is all about less is more.