Walled in by Possessions

I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that we’ve lost our sense of community, as our “standard of living” has increased.

There are so many little things, that used to be done outside of our home, that we now do in our house.

–Instead of going to the movies, we watch our big screen television.

–Instead of going to the playground, we own a swingset.

–Instead of going out to eat, we order fast food and eat it at home.

–Instead of going to the library, we order books and e-books at home (and have our own Internet access at home).

–Instead of going to the laundromat, we own our own laundry machines.

–Instead of taking our children to various places in the community, we fill their rooms with toys.

–Instead of enjoying hobbies within the community, we fill our houses with the supplies for different “activities”.

–Instead of cooking out at the park, we grill at home.

This disconnect never really hit home until last summer.  With 100 square feet of living space, we were forced to either make use of community resources, or lose our minds while living in a very small bleach bottle.  We didn’t have our own garden, so we would sit and enjoy the public garden on the riverwalk, right by our slip.  Beanie’s one box of toys got old fast, so she got used to walking across the bike path to the playground, where there was always a multitude of friends waiting.  Laundry was a weekly task, and I would enjoy the company of other transient boaters while I attended to it, in the laundry room.  We went to story hour at the library, we used the public grills (and sinks, if we were lucky!).

Docked in a public place, especially in a downtown wall slip, we were instantly a part of everything.  Tourists walked past our home, and looked inside.  We talked to everyone, and we were a part of it all.  Without a fortress of possessions surrounding us, we had no choice but to join the community.

We need to rethink this “American dream,” and we need to rethink “standard of living.”  Our current lifestyle is removing us from each other.  It’s time for us to come up with something better.

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13 thoughts on “Walled in by Possessions

  1. Everything you say here is so true. Even lighting up our grill used to be when we invited neighbors and friends over as well. When we baked we baked extra and shared it with neighbors. I still remember when we took a small gift to a new neighbor to welcome them and introduce ourselves.

    While a boating community is unique, I think we can find similar situations in more places. Take for instance where I live. I know all my neighbors with the exception of one who won’t talk to anyone. I wanted a beautiful view outside my door and received permission to start clearing and planting the open field. Now neighbors come out to visit, we have areas set aside for all activities. Some want a place to quietly read or sun, others have room to allow their pets to play, there are garden beds in place and we share tools rather than each of us having to buy our own, finally we created a shady spot to visit and cool off in the hottest times of the day. That one step introduced me to all the neighbors who are now friends. It just takes one person to start a change.

      • I agree, a couple of days ago I met a new neighbor who told me she had asked the person showing her the apartment if they did all the work on the back field, and they told her I did, (I had lots of help for the record), and that I did it for everyone to use. She wanted to thank me and let me know that was the reason she rented here and not somewhere else.

  2. A wonderful post and I was guided here by Livingsimplyfree ….
    We have long lost our sense of community and because of the very reasons you speak of.. Plus both parents are now often forced to work to pay bills and many now do not even know their neighbours as they now are strangers…
    We are all linking our thoughts now together and many are putting those thoughts into actions by making different life-style choice.
    To change the world we first have to change ourselves.. Wonderful that you are creating the Ripple effect no longer do you stand alone…Wishing you well upon your journey

    • Welcome! Any friend of Lois’s is a friend of mine!

      And you are right. It is through our actions that we bring about change, and our smallest actions can inspire others and create a ripple effect. Our choices matter.

  3. Pingback: Walled in by Possessions | journeytominimalism

  4. We moved across the country last year (from Maine to Colorado) and shed a lot in the process- both possessions and assumptions about the way we wanted to live. I’m now living in a small-ish rental house with neighbors all around and a tiny yard. I used to think that lots of land and privacy were important, but I’ve found I love living in a neighborhood and being able to walk downtown. We have beautiful parks and open spaces here, and because my home is so simple to care for we’re able to get out and enjoy them. I downsized my huge book collection when we moved, and now we use the library and I don’t miss the books at all.
    Great point about how having less stuff of our own can push us out into the community more.

  5. Here, here, I couldn’t agree more. You put into words the thoughts I have and can’t articulate, thank you. Food for thought, I hate being so disconnected and long to find my way back to or forward to community and reconnection. Loving your posts. X

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