Set the context right and small becomes large,
simple becomes rich, embarrassment becomes pride.

A boat for sustainability and simplicityOur son is looking to buy a boat next spring and live aboard for a few years. The boat he likes best is a 25-foot Pacific Seacraft. It has sitting headroom, a 20-gallon water tank, a 2-burner stove, and an ice box. No refrigeration, no 110-volt electricity, no water heater.

He loves it.

You have probably felt something similar. Maybe a tent with a view and a shower bag hung over a branch. A weekend cabin with wood-fire cooking. A snug camper-trailer exploring the Rockies. That first tiny apartment in a real neighborhood.

Many of us will remember with pleasure the books we read because there was no TV; the meals we cooked without refrigeration; our favorite corner with our stuff close at hand; the time to think.

Am I romanticizing? No. My wife and I for several periods have been liveaboards while raising children, working, and traveling. For every moment we wished our home had more elbow room, there were dozens when we reveled in our boat’s well-designed coziness and simplicity.

Our son is reminding us that the Joys of Small really can make up for the Pride of Big. The Freedom of Simple can feel better than the Yoke of Complex. Life in a 5-room apartment can be much less confining than a 10-room suburban home.

So here’s my point: if the next ten years make Simple more of a necessity, how reassuring to know we enjoyed it when it was a choice!