As mentioned in my last post, Linda and I had the privilege of sharing our message of “Living Large With Less” at the Camden library here in coastal Maine. We were somewhat surprised by the turnout of a standing-room-only crowd, what with the event being inadvertently held on Maundy Thursday, which prevented some of our church friends from attending. Yet the end result was an engaging time with fellow travelers on the journey toward living more lightly.
Regular readers know that the core of our message is the countercultural notion that intentionally living with less stuff can contribute to a life with more meaning. Less time spent acquiring and maintaining possessions means more time to travel, collect experiences, and create memories that last a lifetime. And a pivotal point for us is the ability to leverage the leasing lifestyle in the process. Nothing frees the mind like not needing to worry about unanticipated maintenance fees.
What is interesting to us is other people’s queries about our long-term plans and whether or not they include owning property again. And while we usually reply that we are open to it if the right situation presents itself, the more we have thought about it lately, the less inclined we are to tie ourselves down, and I don’t just mean geographically. While we do love where we presently live, we also like being able to pull up stakes if necessary.
And contrary to popular belief, the reality is that ownership is a fleeting proposition as it is. For example, I calculated that we’ve owned 10 cars in our 30 years of marriage, for an average of 3 years per car. And we’ve lived in 12 homes during that time, for an average of 2.5 years at each place. So, based on my analysis the standard lease period of 3 years starts to make a lot of sense, particularly when maintenance costs are accounted for also.
As the philosopher Epictetus waxes eloquent in The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness: “Think about it: What is really your own? The use you make of the ideas, resources, and opportunities that come your way. Do you have books? Read them. Learn from them. Apply their wisdom. Do you have specialized knowledge? Put it to its full and good use…Do you have a good idea? Follow up and follow through on it. Make the most of what you’ve got, what is actually yours.”