My House Without A Chair
An Excerpt From our Tiny House Experience.
What would you do if you came home and didn’t have a chair anywhere in the entire house? Would you just go to bed? Would you stretch out on the floor? Would you perch on the counter top? Would you perhaps just remain standing for the entire evening? It is a strange thought and an even stranger experience. We tried all of the afore mentioned tactics. I remember when we first tried to watch a 45 minute television show on netflix while just standing in the kitchen. We made it through the show, neither of us wanting to show the other one how badly we were longing for our leather rocker recliners we used to sink into for an evening of television watching.
We tried the floor, which I did actually get used to. We tried the bed, which we were never able to get used to (not to mention going to sleep on a bed of popcorn and cheerioes every night). We did have the bench for our kitchen table but even that didn’t really work, we couldn’t lean back on anything and if someone was sitting on it the other members of the household couldn’t get past them to get to the refrigerator, bathroom, pajamas, etc. I even made sure to drink plenty of water so I could go pee and just sit! We did eventually put in a loft with a sitting area, but in the months we went without a chair I made some very interesting discoveries that I would have never believed or understood otherwise.
The biggest of these lessons being that sitting in a living room chair is more a habit than anything else. When I walked in and had no chair to sit on I discovered that I wasn’t really tired. I didn’t need to rest my legs. The only reason I had previously sat down when I came in to the house was because there was a chair there to sit on! Once that chair was removed I found myself diving straight in to making dinner, playing blocks with Lily, getting my to-do-list done, etc.
One of the biggest surprises came at the end of the evening when we previously would have plopped down for about 1-2 hours of TV before bed. Without a chair we simply didn’t have the same desire to watch television. We suddenly had time to do other things like talk, read, and write a blog. These were things we somehow never had time for before. Many nights we simply went to bed after Lily (our 3 year old) fell asleep and let me tell you, just as a parent, let alone an employee or a student on top of it, a good ten hour sleep will make you feel like gold! We laughed all summer because we were often in bed before the sun went down and were happy about it! As it turns out you also save a lot of calories going to bed that early too!
One other benefit, that I think the Japanese must also benefit from, is added strength and flexibility. When you think about it, one of the most basic exercise moves is to simply sit down and get back up. Then, when you get stronger, they give you a medicine ball to hug while you do it. Then, after that, they give you a kettlebell to hold over your head while you do it. I may not use a kettlebell but I bet I complete that basic exercise more than the average american. I sleep on the floor, I eat on the floor, I relax on the floor, and we play on the floor. My back is stronger, my abs are stronger, and my hip flexors are certainly more flexible.
Do I miss having a chair? Rarely. Am I saying that to get stronger and lose weight get rid of all of your chairs? No. What I am saying is that you can take a staple of american lifestyle away from someone and learn to live without it joyfully. You can learn to live that way without feeling cheated or as if you lost out on something. You can even find the benefits of it if you look hard enough.
If someone had asked me a few years ago to live for four months without a chair I would have honestly been scared. I know that is pitiful, but it’s true, just like I was scared to cancel my cable, and scared to ditch my iphone, and good heavens scared to adapt to life with a baby!
I will never be able to express my thankfulness for the lesson of internal happiness this experience has given to me. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who has let fear of something so silly as losing my chairs or switching to Android impact their life in a negative way. I’m sure I am not the only one who focuses on such silly things rather than simply looking for the parts I do enjoy and actually enjoying them! And hopefully I won’t be the last to have an experience like this one and learn this lesson first hand.