The Pursuit of Small

When I was younger, I pursued big.

Big house, big job title, big paycheck. I had hopes and dreams off-scale from my reality, and as a result I scrounged and saved and hurled myself at the resources I would require for those extra square feet of happiness.

And I’d be lying if I said that pursuit didn’t make me happy at all. The thrill of buying something I could barely afford was still a thrill, and I felt very confident knowing I owned nice things. I felt like I made those things manifest, even if it was by purchasing them rather than creating them directly. I felt that without me there to buy such wonderful possessions, they never would have existed.

Today, I pursue small.

Small home, no real job title, a paycheck that I can be proud of but not kill myself pursuing. Everything just big enough, but not so minuscule that I feel confined. Definitely small enough that I’m not overshadowed by my possessions or home. I define myself in other terms, now, and I’m much happier for it.

The interesting thing about pursuing fewer, smaller things is that you actually end up with more. Not more possessions, necessarily, but more value. More happiness. More life. I never would have thought it possible back when I was working toward a larger home and paycheck, but by applying my effort more thoughtfully, more precisely, the results are far more rewarding.

It’s like the difference between a chainsaw and a scalpel. Both are useful for different things, you just have to figure out whether you want to tear your way through life, burning through fuel and straining your muscles, or if you’d rather develop supple wrist and finger muscles, using them to make very precise, very intentional cuts.

Update: April 10, 2017

It’s amazing how much more useful the same amount of time and effort can be when applied precisely and intentionally, then when applied without real thought or purpose.

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