Sorry for the silence! Time to tell you what’s up with me – and there’s breaking news!
Where to begin?
OK. Bicycling. My cycling peaked in early July and has fallen off precipitously since then. At first, it was an intentional few days rest which I kept extending. Then my attention became focused on Tiny House issues – both one for me AND a place where I’ll live once I have one. Not a specific place, but I discovered others who are, to some degree or another, pursuing the dream of an intentional community of tiny house residents (and most likely owners). And this has, frankly, diverted me from regular cycling for exercise.
And even on days that I wake up intending to use the bike for a local errand, I get so focused on the brainstorming I’m doing that I suddenly look up, see the clock, and realize that I no longer have TIME to do even that local errand by bike!
I’m struggling to discipline myself to keep regular cycling in my life. It IS important to me! It is important for my health, for my sanity, and for my still deeply held desire to transition to a car free life.
And another thing has changed – for the worse. I’m smoking more. At the height of my training for the Climate Ride, my smoking was down – a lot! And I was coming fairly close to deciding to – this time – really quit! I’ve got an e-cig, and I’ve trained myself to use it when cycling (to the point that I often leave the real cigs at home when I ride). E-cigs certainly fulfill the demands of the nicotine addiction of smoking. But they aren’t a complete, instant replacement for cigarettes.
How so? If you’ve never been a smoker, you may not realize that a significant part of the habit is ritual. Reading the paper in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee and a cigarette. The muscle memory of just holding the cigarette, much less taking a puff, holding it, blowing it out, and trimming the ash. The mental break when you’ve been in a no smoking environment (say at work) and you step outside for a cigarette. Every smoker (and ex smoker) can tell you multiple different rituals surrounding smoking that is such an integral part of their daily life that it’s hard – REALLY hard – to give up – even if the nicotine itself is totally replaceable with e-cigs.
I’ve managed to carve out a few places in my life where I’ve broken free of my rituals. It’s far easier to simply NOT include smoking when you add a NEW ritual to your life (see my cycling – above). And I’ve forced myself to keep my e-cigs FAR more accessible than my real cigs while I’m driving. I haven’t completely eliminated smoking while driving, but I have reduced it significantly.
What has tripped me up is itself a ritual. Most of the work I’ve been doing has been computer work at my desk at home. And there, I constantly find that I’ve lit a cigarette while I work. And yes, I mean I’ve started it (nearly) unconsciously – and often smoked half (or more) before I notice it!
But things are coming to a point that I’m likely to be doing LESS at my desk – and more in face to face groups – no smoking allowed groups – of similarly obsessed people. So I’m hoping that this increase is, indeed, temporary. And that my lessening desk time – and increasing cycling time – will get me back on the downward trend.
What else? As I continue to refine the estimated costs of living car free in a tiny house – revise DOWNWARD – the possibility of my choosing to retire instead of going back to work increases. It may be cheap enough that I can stretch my funds so I never HAVE to work again! I’d rate the possibility of my choosing to retire now (or soon) at < 20%, but that is far higher than I’d rated it just 3 months ago! I’m excited (or perhaps relieved) enough by the possibility that I’ve started to get a bit more frugal in how I’m living – beyond the savings I’ve already enjoyed through reducing use of my car.
So what exactly is it that I’m working on? I can’t tell you – yet! Along with a few other people, I’m creating an organization (and website) that we believe will fill a growing need – a place for people who are interested in issues specific to tiny house villages. It’s the group setting – and the need to be “legal” in the eyes of the local authorities – that make them distinct from the issues of “how should I build my tiny house” and “where can I live in it once it’s built”. On the latter, MOST people living in tiny houses are doing so illegally. They’re in someone’s back yard where the authorities are unaware that they are “camping” in a “home built RV” (which isn’t even legally an RV in the eyes of the DMV – and hence can’t be licensed!) – something that most jurisdictions don’t allow for more than a few days at a time. Or they’re far off in the boonies – in an unincorporated area – with their nearest neighbor is far enough away that they don’t care – in the least – what you’re doing. Tiny home villages are too big to escape the notice of the local authorities. And many of us who are interested in tiny village living want it to be near – or in – a highly urbanized area where neighbors ARE likely to react negatively to something so far out of the mainstream happening near them.
We already have a name. And a website. (Although it’s highly unlikely the public – or even tiny house enthusiasts – will stumble on it before we publicize it.) And we’re talking about how to govern ourselves. And we think that when we go “public” – most likely in two days at a local meeting of tiny house enthusiasts (not tiny house VILLAGE enthusiasts) – we’ll grow fairly quickly. So have patience. I promise that all will soon be revealed. In fact, if you want to see it as soon as you can, subscribe to comments to THIS post. I guarantee that the first place I’ll announce it to friends and family will be as a follow up comment to this post as soon as I return home after the “debut”!
One other thing: I’ve met and befriended someone else nearby who not only want to live in a tiny house village, but his concept of the structure of his ideal village – both physical and social – is nearly identically aligned with mine! (You know who you are.) I’m certain that if we can find 2-3 more people we’ll end up forming a core group organizing around one of two specific sites that he and I have already identified!
Stay tuned … and subscribe to the comments for the big reveal!
<5 minutes later> Whoops! I just posted this, then tried (anonymously) to subscribe to comments. It’s not an option unless you MAKE a comment! So I’ve already made a comment – be sure to scroll down beyond the ads (which are the price I force you to pay so that I don’t have to pay WordPress to host this blog) and read my comment!
And of course, feel free to comment yourself!