The dictionary defines a naysayer as:
". . . someone with an aggressively negative attitude or someone who systematically obstructs some action that others want to take."
We've all dealt with naysayers in our lives. Naysayers might be family members, friends or work colleagues that give you odd looks when you talk about simple living or alternative career choices. Most of the time, the naysayers in my life have good intentions. They want me to be happy, but don't understand my choices.
With that being said, I get really frustrated when I hear negative comments. People usually tell me things like:
Going car-free is crazy, you'll never survive in the world without a vehicle.
Simple living is a joke. It's gone mainstream. So there's no need to discuss this topic anymore.
How can you survive without a refrigerator? That's insane!
When I find myself getting annoyed by these kinds of comments, I take a step back and ask myself how I can explain my viewpoint.
Communication and finding a commonality is key. I usually sit down with the naysayers in my life and tell them our story. The conversations can be difficult and awkward, but the results are often positive. These kinds of conversations have helped me distill my beliefs and reaffirmed my resolve for living with less.
When I have these conversations, I usually bring up three key points.
1. Money is life energy.
Debt is an opportunity cost. A cost that you trade for one of the most valuable things in your life, time.
Not owning a traditional house or a car means I save money and valuable time. My rent is less than most people's monthly interest on their mortgage and my transportation costs are very low since we don't own a car. So I'm able to use my extra income to volunteer and give money to community based organizations.
I'm not opposed to working hard. I'm in favor of working on projects that excite me and bring joy into my life.
2. Television is a burden (and so is excess stuff).
A friend recently asked me:
"How do you get so much done everyday?"
My reply: "I don't own a TV and don't have to worry about cleaning."
In my former life I was addicted to television and spent many hours numbing my mind. When we lived in a huge apartment with a TV, I devoted about 20 hours a week to the zombie box and cleaning.
I was unhappy and unhealthy. As a result, I wasted an incredible about of time that could have been spent with friends, family or working on kick-ass projects. Now, I spend my days writing, volunteering, and connecting with people. I've rediscovered my time and it's an amazing feeling.
3. Visiting us is still an option!
Many naysayers have asked:
"There isn't room for us in your tiny apartment! And your little house will be even smaller. Where are we going to stay?"
My response is always the same. Family and friends are always welcome in our home. Logan and I are more than happy to camp out on the floor while guests sleep in our bed. If people don't feel comfortable with that option, there is always a hotel. The money we've saved by living small and lightly allows us to treat friends and family to a lovely bed and breakfast experience.
Closing Thoughts . . .
Do we really need a big house, a six-figure salary, two cars, or an iPhone to be happy? Probably not. We need strong relationships and community. Don't let the naysayers hold you back from pursuing your dreams or living simply.