We often hear stories about people who in some way live out our vision of buying less and playing more. We want to share these stories with you, in hope that you receive the inspiration, motivation or knowledge you need to do the same.
We received this story from Ida Frisch in December 2021.
I once heard a couples therapist talked about how certain villages were arranged in the past, and how it gave couples more support. If your partner wasn't home, you had others to socialize with. If you needed a babysitter, you called your neighbor. When it was time to harvest, volunteers showed up. If you had a rotten wall, a handy friend came to help out.
In this model, you have social, practical and relational bonds with many people in the society, and you are therefore less socially vulnerable.
From American couples therapy to my own life; I live in a cold cabin in the woods, half an hour outside of Norway's capital. There is a tiny house in my yard, and a couple friends of mine live there. I am trying to build a, for now slightly wobbly, village. Call it a collaboration, or an extended family. A friend and I bought the area to be able to afford a place to live. We found a place to live, but better yet we found a place to collaborate. The first year we lived there, my friend and her partner didn't have a bathroom in their house. So most times they came up to visit me, I knew what to expect. Intimate and casual vists to the toilet, small talk and random favors.
We have practiced co-existing, practiced sharing. We have ordered wood from the local farmer and hosted voluntary wood-stacking events. We have shared electrical bills and municipal taxes, and we have been very patient. We know that we never will be 100% even. But I think that the communal fire pit and bonfires on fall nights, shared dinners and rides to the train when needed most have made up for it.
I think that creating a culture for sharing, outside of ones immediate family, is something that can open social, economical and cultural doors for many. And maybe, if we walk through those doors, we can experience intertwined social, economic and cultural capital. Filling a little extra gas on the way home can be paid for with a piece of cake, and helping lift the heavy windows your neighbor bought off Craigslist to build a greenhouse can be paid for in endless tomatoes at the end of the summer.
By creating a lively community around myself, I have also reduced the need to buy new things. Instead I can borrow a funny hat if I get invited to a goofy hat party. And I can borrow an edge trimmer. And I can swap clothes with friends. It's OK if I don't look like the cover of a magazine. I belong somewhere and I might just be part of creating a movement away from blind consumption, and towards a new culture grounded in sharing and collaboration.
Last October I had some friends over to help carry firewood. I had received two huge piles and wanted to grab some leftovers from a nearby logging for next year. I don't own a chainsaw and I don't have very big muscles, but I have friends with voluntary spirits. Some carried logs, some stacked wood, some made food and some set the table. By offering food and time to my friends, I was able to stack this and next year's firewood. Because we worked together, and because we are stronger together.
We ended the day with a slingshot competition. I need some practice at that. My sharing muscle, on the other hand, is starting to get pretty darn strong.