More and Less
Today I learned: that while the average American family has gone from 3.1 people per household in 1974 to 2.6 people in 2004, the size of their homes has expanded from 1,695 square feet to 2,349 square feet during the same time period.
While I'm not surprised by this statistic, it's interesting to see the numbers. My husband reels against the modern age of "McMansions" and "Edward Scissorhands" suburban housing developments. My biggest issue, although I'm sure you can guess, is the sprawl itself.
Why do we need more living space for less people? Why do we need three bathrooms, four bedrooms, a family room, a living room, a den, a playroom and a finished basement all for one woman, one man and their single child? I admit I LOVE having my own space, a home I can call my own; I enjoy not worrying about my boys' running around or wrestling bothering the people downstairs, but I wouldn't buy something I didn't need just to impress my friends and neighbors. (Besides I'm not the greatest housekeeper and I don't have the desire to keep something that big clean.)
Just another example of how we Americans seem to have an infinite desire to consume all that is in sight; to live the mantra "Bigger is better;" that Americans do it better. And our inability to curb our appetites is leading to all sorts of trouble - harming our environment, our health, our relationships with each other . . .
Why do we feel we need to gorge ourselves? What vacuous holes are we trying to fill? And why do we continue to uncontrollably consume when all logic and emotion tells us it's not working?
P.S. I also learned today that yardwork can be fun, almost addictive, and even therapeutic. (It helps when you're doing said yardwork with a friend :) I was out in the yard today pulling weeds and dead brush (and strange stalks I'm not sure what they are yet) and it was invigorating and strangely hypnotic. I couldn't stop. I was soaking in the sun, getting a little dirty and not even noticing the tiny scratches on my arms and hands (until I washed up later and they stung just a little bit.)
My little green piece of the city with my adequately sized home sitting on top of it is plenty big for me.