For a few years I’d been hearing friends describe all the magical things that I had to look forward to in turning thirty. Promises of a sudden arrival at inner peace, burst of self-confidence, and clarity of wants in life, painted a picture I was definitely excited about.
But when my thirtieth birthday came, I was disappointed that I didn’t feel much different.
I was the same person with the same old insecurities, working the same job, still stressed by the same things, wearing the same clothing. I was still just as miserable as I’d been the days before my birthday. But after a few weeks it hit me:
Turning thirty doesn’t force a moment of spiritual awakening, but it does provide justification for ditching what doesn’t work for you.
And I realized that what doesn’t work for me… is all my stuff.
It felt quite suffocating to look around and be unable to find empty space, a blank wall, or even just a spot to put new things in my apartment. Home should be filled with comfort and peace, but I felt stressed. My birthday presents stayed in their gift bags lined up on the floor, I was having issues closing the makeup drawer, shoeboxes piled up in the living room, magazines laid everywhere (even on the toilet tank!), and I struggled to find the things I wanted to wear, or read, or enjoy.
To be surrounded by things I thought I’d loved became a burden as the excess of my belongings prevented me from truly appreciating what I did have.
So I decided it was finally time to make my years of considering myself “an aspiring minimalist” mean something by finally bringing that identity to fruition. I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that I am totally scared to tackle the guilt and greed that comes along with slowly but surely ridding my life of the things I don’t need.
Like a child, I still assign human emotions to all inanimate objects. So I’m expecting this process of simplifying will be especially draining. But without going through those tough emotions now, I’ve accepted I’d never regain all the wonderful things I anticipate minimalism will provide me: physical space, a genuine love for the few things I will have, and freedom — freedom to sit anywhere, spread out, see all the things I love, or even, on a higher level, move anywhere I want.
Turning thirty gave me a newfound outlook on life, and a strong drive to finally take ownership of my unhappiness. I’m nervous… probably most nervous about feeling bad.
But I’m so excited for all the possibilities life will breed as I simplify.
I’m starting this blog in the hopes that I might help others to overcome their fears and guilt that make simplifying a seemingly impossible lifestyle. It will be difficult and messy, and while I can’t promise an epiphany every week, I can assure that the true struggles (and hopefully some easy steps) will always be shared. Join me as I embark on my journey to minimalism.
Simply, Amanda Irel