Life is too short for housework. Living in a 2400 sq. ft. home with three step-children and three cats, I used to spend at least ten hours a week on housework alone. That was on top of the 40+ hour grind. While earning my M.A. in English and then working as a college instructor, I did a lot of work from home, frequently feeling the tension between a dirty kitchen and a stack of student essays.
I experienced seasonal depression. If the weather outside was nice and I was indoors all day except the length of time it took me to walk to my car, I felt an overwhelming despair. I didn’t recognize the cause for a long time. But my family can verify: I was irritable and angry.
I reset myself every spring with a week in a tent on Petit Jean Mountain. In 2008, a two-week camping trip to the Southwest—meeting with Hopi and Navajo artists and storytellers—was healing and spiritually orienting.
Now I wonder, “Why immerse myself in nature only one week a year?” The decision to build a tiny house in the woods did not happen overnight, but now I see that I have been evolving toward this lifestyle for a decade. At first it was scary to revise my ideas of success and safety. Then I felt freedom.
Ten more hours a week will be much better spent tending a garden, sitting on the porch, or going fishing. Maybe the next ten years won’t fly by as fast as the last ten did.