What is “Home”

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“Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.”

– German poet, painter and novelist, Hermann Hesse

“Home is not where you live but where they understand you.”

– German poet, Christian Morgenstern

The tiny house movement, its enthusiast’s, founders, builders and advocates may just be my “home”. They get me, they champion me, they help me, they celebrate the sustainable tiny life with me. And more than that, they get, and champion each other. It is an inclusive group, all ages, types, kinds, levels of ability. A sustainable group. They embody the soul of the two quotes above.

Let’s back-up a minute. Growing up in the Midwest in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, my childhood was inculcated with the American Dream of owning one’s own “home” in the nation of “equality, democracy and material prosperity” where upward mobility and pursuing your “bliss” were a “given” that you had succeeded in life.[1] You know the words we were taught in grade school, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

Today for millions of Americans, including myself, the American Dream is looking a lot different. The Great Recession affected all of us. Debt is so embedded into the fabric of our society that millions have lost their homes, jobs, retirement, and their financial and social stability.[2] I am sure Wall Street had quite a bit to do with the foreclosure of the American Dream for most of us.

Cliff DuRand, Truth-out columnist, posits that upward mobility is dead:

My favorite slogan from the Occupy movement was “Wake up from the American Dream. Create a livable American reality.” That is the challenge We the People face in the 21st century. And we have to face it with little help from our political elite and none from capital. We have to do it ourselves. It will take social movements and prolonged struggle. It will take courage and bold experimentation. And for starters, it will take speaking the truth: The American Dream is over. For good or ill, history will move on without it.”[3]

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A large number of us nearing retirement, have lost our savings in the recession and can no longer retire. Others of us lost everything paying health bills for chronic illness and cancer due to toxins in our consumer products and the polluted environment.

Yet how can we achieve financial or social stability in a society that thinks the labor force or the older American (over age 50) is “irrelevant”, “of no value”, “unproductive” or “health-cost prohibitive”?

“The flood of “micro-aggressions” towards older employees in the workplace is astounding.”[4] Corporations could engage and educate their workers by fostering an ethic of inclusion (think best sustainable practices) but few do. Are they aware that someday they will be our age too? (You can see more details about my personal experience with this in the 2008-2010 archives on terrabluteams.org).

Surviving ageism in the workplace and discrimination for being a disabled adult, I made the positive future-forward decision in 2008 to find my own solution. I started a customized 5-year plan (which has taken me 6.5 years) to recreate and manifest a deeper sustainable tiny life.

Home, to me, is wherever I am. It is an authentic life of integrity, joy and peace. It’s a mindful life in balance with nature and living creatures.

My net zero Silver Bullet tiny house on wheels, when its finished next year, will be the manifestation of my new “livable American reality”. I believe “The tiny house movement has been growing for a decade and it is the sustainability imperative at work”.[5]

I can hardly wait to take the Silver Bullet on tour across the country to inspire and help others learn about the joy and rewards of living a zero waste sustainable tiny life. It is not a life of sacrifice or doing without. On the contrary, it is a substantive life of authenticity, compassion, kindness, sharing and caring. A life of non-violence or harm to the planet or its people.

A road less travelled, for now, perhaps. Yet a movement that I am happy to observe is growing exponentially daily.[6]

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Poster from the tiny life.com


[1] As an environmental and social activist I was considered a “hippie” during the late 1960’s and 1970’s.

[2] Solman, Paul, “Brutal Job Search Reality for Older Americans Out of Work for Six Months or More”5/3/13

[3] In his article “The American Dream Is Dead; Long Live the New Dream” Cliff DuRand, Truthout columnist, posits that upward mobility is dead.

[4] Solman, Paul, “Brutal Job Search Reality for Older Americans Out of Work for Six Months or More”5/3/13

[5] Struck, Vera, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants8/28/13 blog article from tinyhouselistings.com. 38% of tiny house dwellers are over age 50.

[6] You can read all about the joys, rewards and challenges of our founder’s tiny house build and sustainable tiny life journey at silverbullettinyhouse.com.

Asyouquietthemindgraphic

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