Image via WikipediaI recently visited my local Greek Orthodox Church with a friend and was happily surprised to hear a homily by the local bishop. The bishop took a swipe at the materialism that envelops so many, including Christians of all stripes. He noted that at the end of World War II, the average square footage of a home was a relatively low number. As of five years ago, he stated that number was many, many times bigger.
I do not recall the exact numbers that he gave, but these are the numbers I found on my own. In 2009, the average square footage for a new single-family home in the U.S. was 2438 sq. ft. In contrast, in 1973, the comparable square footage was 1660. Going back to 1950, the average U.S. home size was about 1000 sq. ft. Ironically, during this same time period, the size of families significantly decreased.
When is enough is enough? Human nature has an insatiable component based on our own grandiose illusions and on the need to obtain the social approval or envy of others. Is it healthy? Beyond a certain point, it is a sure-fire recipe for unhappiness and turmoil. Simplicity offers peace and contentment. But to get there, you need to declare your independence from the irrational standards of others. I call this independence maturity.