I did it. I got small.
Not hobbit small.
Not even #VanLife small.
Nor Sailing La Vagabonde small:
But small enough that, as 2018 dawns, all of the essential Los Angeles possessions I share with my wife Rachel now fit in a cozy 1920s bungalow we are renting in Los Feliz. Each item thoughtfully handpicked for its joy or utility.
All the administrative and financial elements of our lives have also been streamlined (and rendered paperless) for ease of management and maximum flexibility — cataloged on two identical Aegis Secure Keys in case SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan).
Our remaining furniture we shipped to New Zealand to fill the property we bought with proceeds from selling “Club O,” the Hollywood home we’ve occupied since I returned from “The Lord Of The Rings” in 2004. There and Back Again indeed:
But this is more than a Marie Kondo moment (though I’m a big fan).
Nor is it about plotting a cynical prepper escape from the US, Peter Thiel style.
The motivation for getting small is to enable an exciting new chapter in which we intend to have two homes (no mortgages) in two places we love: Los Angeles and the Wairarapa region of New Zealand.
Even without the Club O sale, getting small has meaningfully reduced our financial footprint so that we have new resources to save or apply elsewhere.
As importantly, it has allowed us to substantially reduce the amount of distraction, accumulation and related maintenance in our lives.
This five-minute Graham Hill TED Talk on the tyranny of stuff is a good primer.
Energetically and spiritually, the benefit of getting small has been the opportunity to better align daily life with my core values. By getting rid of my car (Rachel still has one) and moving within three miles of work, my commuting is a non-event.
And, much as we loved our Club O lifestyle, having a bigger house — at least in our case — tended to discourage adventures and breaking routine.
As importantly, there is now heaps more time for fitness, friends, meditation, preparedness projects, travel, blogging, and discovering/celebrating the creative artists who are my passion and livelihood.
It’s empowering to have your habitual behavior reflect your actual priorities. We are what we do, after all, not what we think or say.
And you don’t have to sell your house or upend your life to feel this empowerment. There are so many things, big and small, one can do to get started that yield immediate benefits and satisfaction.
To that end, as we’re now in a new home, in a new year, I plan to create shorter, targeted posts on how I am specifically manifesting simplification and readiness in my life. One post per topic. Some posts I’m planning:
What’s In My Wallet And Why
Designing And Stress Testing Disaster Plans
Creating And Maintaining A Prepper Pantry
Building A Bag For Evacuations/Emergencies
Mapping Neighborhood Risks/Resources And Creating A Village
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this:
In boxing one often hears: “A good big man always beats a good little man.”
That may be true in boxing, but I don’t think it’s true in life.
Seth Godin, author of eighteen international bestsellers that have changed the way people think about marketing and work, presciently wrote in 2005:
“Big computers are silly. They use lots of power and are not nearly as efficient as properly networked Dell boxes.”
That’s straight up, pre Cloud wisdom.
How does this apply to #ReadyIsSexy, you ask?
Not to get too philosophical, but readiness is about more than provisions, gear, skills and planning — though these make up a crucial baseline.
The fifth dimension is: community
That’s why the most important decision Rachel and I made was about where to move in Los Angeles. Our priority was proximity to a community of friends and an engaged neighborhood.
Thus our new neighbor in Los Feliz is my producing partner Jane Fleming. She is literally next door — indeed, she spotted the bungalow we now rent, and knew it would a match, before it ever hit Zillow. Now that’s leveraging one’s network.
Apart from the fact that we immensely enjoy each other’s company, the collective resources and networks of our adjoining homes are exponentially greater than the sum of their parts.
In New Zealand, my Kiwi in-laws live full-time in our home there — along with a newly planted orchard and a small herd of cattle.
New hashtag: #CompoundLiving
Until then, go small or go home!