Blogging, tiny living

Tiny Living vs. Living Small

go jules go_tiny living vs living small title graphic 23jan2019

It’s eight steps from my living room loveseat to the bathroom.

Seven steps from the bathroom to my bed.

Twenty-four steps -two flights down- from my kitchenette to the front door.

Over the past fourteen years, since graduating college, I’ve moved five times, had eight jobs, four broken hearts, one marriage, one divorce, run two marathons, lost and gained several hundred pounds, said goodbye to five loved ones (including one dog), written two books and 407 blog posts, gotten two advanced degrees, and traveled to three different continents.

Sometimes when things feel stale or stagnant, I review that list and remember: life is always changing. A notion that used to send me into the fetal position now puts a skip in my step. Thank god things are always changing.

Otherwise I’d still be dressed like this.

No matter how many things we try to track and count, or how many boxes we tick on the Checklist of Life, we’ll never be able to control that one constant – change. Nor will we ever arrive at some magic moment, proclaiming, “Ah, okay, done now!”

When I moved to my 350-square foot apartment in November 2017, the only thing I was sure of was that one chapter was ending and another was beginning.

Also, that I’d save a butt-ton of these.

I was terrified, but determined. After all, if I wanted a different sort of life, I was going to need to do things, well, differently. Of course, I still placated myself with thoughts like, “If you hate it, Jules, you can leave whenever you want and go back to living with an actual oven.”

Totally overrated. Photo credit

I needed to tell myself things like that because I still didn’t trust The Grand Unknown. I still didn’t really believe the old adage, “The path will appear when you take the first step.” I always wanted a Plan B, a back-up, something I could measure and rely on. So often we look for sure things and guarantees, favoring our logical, expensively-educated brains, while missing what I’m starting to believe is the entire reason we’re inhabiting these funny flesh sacks in the first place: to follow our hearts.

Right, Darren Criss?

Who says our hearts are unreliable, anyway? Have you ever tried tackling a tough question by getting still, taking a few deep breaths, and sinking down into that space within your chest? That space that says: You are enough. You can do anything. Your dreams matter. You are loved.

Isn’t that the voice who should always dictate our next steps?

There are still many days where I straddle the line between my heart and my head. Not sure if that’s you, too? In my experience, it feels a little something like this: Hope vs. desperation. Giddiness vs. dread. Authenticity vs. fraud. Ease vs. restlessness. A life of seeming forward momentum and social media-worthy accomplishment vs. that huge part of you that just wants to scream:


Do you ever imagine standing up in the middle of a busy day and doing just that?

Then you could walk five steps to the fridge, fill three water bottles, and take your one dog two flights of stairs down to your one car. You could drive hundreds of miles until you reached the infinite woods.

There, you could hike countless miles and relish innumerable sights and sounds. You could consider your endless blessings, remember your boundless spirit, and realize your limitless potential.

Because counting only matters when you’re living small.

On second thought, the hike might have to wait.


How do you deal with The Grand Unknown? (Hey, come out of that corner, you. It’s safe over here. I have bean dip!)


27 thoughts on “Tiny Living vs. Living Small”

  1. we are kindred spirits. in so many ways. i have learned the same lesson over time and continue to learn every day. change is the only thing we can count on. i’m in the process of selling my small cottage to move into an even smaller space, freeing me up on many levels.

  2. First – please tell me you still have that hat and wear it on a regular basis.
    Secondly – I don’t think about the big unknown, but go on with my life blissfully unaware of the future. I figure it’s going to sneak up and smack me on the back of the head anyway. No need to worry.

  3. Hey Jules, very nice one.
    We all are sometime in our life dealing with ” Grand Unknown”. And for few, every new step leads to path of ” ? “. I have second one in my life.
    I sometimes envy people, like they know where their life will be after 10 years… And they deal with more major problem (uncertainty) of what to have for lunch/ dinner….

  4. “Because counting only matters if you’re living small.” Whooooa. I love that. (Unless I’m counting weighted pullups, and then infinite seems like a lot…)

    We lived in a 550 sf studio (w/sloping walls) for a year in 2010 and it was AWESOME. Oh, and I suppose the 75 sf van for 3 years counts as small? Hmm, hold on…some of our best years (or most growth-oriented) came when we weren’t sinking hours and days of our lives into managing a big property! #lightbulb

    Love these heart-felt posts! Almost as much as I love your flower hat from that picture 4 weeks ago.

    1. As I wrote this, I was thinking about all of the times counting is really fun. Like “Days until #BEND2019.” But then my whole post would have fallen apart and I would have had to go back to scheduling my only other completed post, “What Happens When They Let Me Blog Drunk.”

      You and Chelsea could definitely fill a book with all you’ve learned and experienced via tiny living! Hey, has anyone ever told you, you should start a blog?

      And. THANK YOU! I’m tipping my giant, giant, flowered hat to you.

    1. Well, now. Free promotion and compliments? SIGH. Why, world, why?! Why do you keep sending nice, generous, likeminded people to me?!

      THANK YOU so much (and high five)!!

        1. Thank you so much! It looks like you are doing ALL the right things, so keep on crushing it! In my experience and what I’ve seen, most bloggers are churning out content on a steady basis (2-3x/week) for 6 months to 2 years before gaining some traction.

  5. You are amazing and full of hope and heart, love and light. And just remaining open to all the universe has in store (especially the unknowns) is a huge step to take down that path…and maybe one day soar with galaxies of wisdom!!

  6. Fabulous! You made me think back to all the moments when I took a big step into the unknown, sometimes terrified, and sometimes excited. I used to get tied up in knots over the grand unknown, especially when it felt like the walls were caving in. But these days I take my fears into a hypnotherapy session, and heal the part of me that’s unhappy, creating a permanent shift in how I see things. It really is like magic.

    1. MAGIC. Yes. That’s been my word of the year. Whenever I start sinking into panic mode, I remind myself that that’s fear-based thinking/feeling resulting from me reliving PAST events and/or stories I’ve told myself – it’s neither “the truth,” nor predictive of the future in any way, shape, or form! …Ahhh, easier to say it than to practice it, that’s fo’ sho’!!

      And thank you! 🙂

  7. I think most people struggle with the heart/head issue more than they care to admit. Which side then eventually end up falling on, and how often, makes all the difference in lives and happiness. Sometimes we understand and do what our guts tell us not to anyway.

    1. Hear hear! You’d think there’d come a point where we’d know enough to follow our hearts with gusto and no (okay, little) self-doubt…but…well…I know I’m still waiting for that day!

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