by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC
When I heard a friend on Facebook today, say, “I’m excited about what the future may hold”, I immediately thought of the recently reported story of Hannah Salwen and her family.
The short version: In 2006, Hannah was 14yo, living in a 6,500sq ft mansion in Atlanta with her parents and brother. As a young girl, she was already interested in helping people and doing volunteer work for the homeless, but one day Hannah proclaimed that her family could do more – way more. In fact, why not sell the house, move into a smaller one, and give half the proceeds to charity? As it turned out, they did.
I was slightly skeptical upon stumbling this story. I mean, really, many multi-millionaires love to give away tons of money for tax breaks, while not denting their net worth or lifestyle significantly. And moving from a mansion to a home half the size, was still a darn big house. But then I did some research and discovered the longer version:
Upon agreeing to this plan, the family decided to leave no stones unturned. They met each week to watch videos, discuss ideas, research helping organizations, and basically, learn as much as they could about the world’s problems. As they narrowed things down to their biggest areas of concern and interest: water, homelessness and poverty, they also learned more about each other and became more bonded as a family.
They documented the project in a newly released book, The Power of Half. Aware of initial skepticism, they wanted to share their reasons for writing the book, which they do so eloquently on their website by describing how they wanted to share their experience and methods with others, introduce us to the amazing people they met along the way, share the new closeness they have found through less space and less stuff, and create a roadmap for others to pursue their own Half projects.
Realizing that most of us have less of a financial Half to give, Hannah points out that we all have our own kind of abundance or “time, talent or treasure.”Â “Everyone has their own Half, you just have to find it.”
I’ve moved quickly past my first glance and am inspired and hopeful at the thought of the coming Aquarian age and ‘what the future may hold’ as we join this family in giving more and taking less.