Size Doesn’t Matter
Sammi, our eight pound rescue poodle, has filled our house with joy and laughter disproportionate to her size. We have fallen in love with her, and thus think everything she does is beyond adorable. Sammi has gone from being homeless a month ago to sunning herself on the back of our living room sofa every morning. She barks at dogs walking by to warn them not to trespass on her territory. Cute, cute, cute. Sammi reminds me that in most important areas of life, bigger is not necessarily better, although to examine Americans' consumption habits and lifestyle, one would conclude otherwise. Compared to other developed industrialized countries, many of our houses are unnecessarily large, our gas-guzzling cars ridiculously over-sized, and our stuff--dishes, furniture, clothes--grossly out of proportion to our needs. Bigger houses don't bring more family love, SUVs don't arrive at destinations faster than my Honda Fit, and organizing experts tell us we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.
Our current prolonged recession, although deeply painful for millions of families, has had the positive effect of making many people wake up to what is truly important. Do we really need a new car or can we get by for another year? Do we really need to buy a new outfit for a special event or can we find something in our closet that works? Do we really need to eat out a lot or can we make a yummy dinner at home?
Recently, my husband, Mark, and I reconfigured our modest house to make it more functional for us. We both work from home, and our offices have been in various parts of the house. Meanwhile, our living room was completely underutilized, serving as a shrine to guests. We converted our bright, sunny family room into a joint office (he and I talk privately with clients elsewhere in the house) and moved the television into the living room. I have always loved my living room, and now I actually spend a lot of time in there. No walls were moved, no lifestyle compromised, no huge investment made.
Don't get me wrong... another room or two would be nice given our home office needs. But the point is we are not suffering, and the changes we made are working nicely. If anything, turning the first floor family room into an office has actually allowed for more family interactions because our children pass by us many times each day. Our not-quite-big-enough house has, once again, created greater closeness by fostering necessary interactions.
Sammi is just our most recent reminder that bigger often is not better. She is extremely affectionate, and we, in turn, hug and kiss her throughout the day. How can eight pounds of dog bring so much joy? It's called love, and it is way too huge to contain in even the grandest mansion.