Monday, March 18, 2013

Tiny Living, Large Communities

Theres not much chance anyone will confuse me with Graham Hill. Hes a young, hip, multi-millionaire who just wrote a front-page opinion piece for The New York Sunday Times

Not even close, right? But heres where the resemblance begins. His topic: living tiny. The article, “Living With Less. A Lot Less,” talks about his life in a 420-square-foot studio. “I’ve come a long way from the life that I had in the late 90s, when, flush with cash from an Internet start-up sale, I had a giant house crammed with stuff,” Hill explains. His transformation didn’t come from financial woes, but was triggered by a romantic relationship. He and his girlfriend Olga travelled the world, living in love and living with less. Even though they broke up, he realized he still liked having fewer possessions and a tiny home. “My space is small,” he says. “My life is big.”

It’s a great message, but to some, it’s the wrong messenger. People took issue with someone so wealthy telling the rest of us schlumps that we need to get rid of our stuff to be happy. Hamilton Nolan, editor at, quickly took him to task, as did other writers.

But focusing on the message, it’s no surprise that Hills article was a front-page Times story. Tiny is trending, whether through economic necessity or choice.

And all this was a great reminder that living tiny doesnt mean skimping on your connections to people. I was reading Nolan’s article on Gawker for five minutes before I noticed who wrote it. He happens to be the son of one friend here in St. Augustine and the nephew of another. But I’m used to such synchronicity. Because if you want to live tiny, live in a small town where you are always within one degree of separation from someone you care about. Its not about the size of your home or the number of things you own, but the people who make up your community.

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