As I start this blog anew, ostensibly changing the focus of my writing from academics to minimalism and living with less objects, I am experiencing dread.
Dread that this will be a phase in my life, that this blog will be forgotten in six months, that my foray into minimalism and rather extreme decluttering will be something I fondly remember I did once.
I tend to be a magpie in my hobbies and lifestyles: picking up something new and shiny when it looks like it might solve my problems, discarding it when my problems inevitably remain. Hobbies and lifestyles I have been almost obsessively interested in for time periods ranging from 4 hours to several months include: vintage clothing and makeup, acupressure and Traditional Chinese Medicine, astral meditation, yoga, fruitarianism (half a day! – I got hungry), cross stitching, veganism, knitting, Weight Watchers, essential oils, various animes and mangas, varous podcasts, intuitive eating, the Real Housewives of Any City, anarchism, fat acceptance, and Jamberry nail wraps. All of these, I thought, would surgically excise all of my problems and insecurities: make me happier, thinner, curvier, healthier, smarter, more productive, a better writer.
But they didn’t.
And I find myself in the unenviable position of a 30-something still learning how to be the best version of myself — and realizing that this is a normal part of life. I’m not behind because I don’t have everything together, no one has everything together.
I know that sustained change and behavioral goals are possible for me, because I have stuck with quite a few hobbies and/or lifestyle changes in the past. (While these have had impressive staying power in my life, they have not made my life perfect.)
Judaism: I converted to Judaism when I was 21 years old — and not because I was engaged to a Jew. (This stuns some people.)
Yoga: All though yoga’s presence in my life ebbs and flows over time, I have always returned to yoga for an exercise practice.
Sobriety: I have been sober for almost 7 years, and I work on my sober journey daily.
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series: These books, particularly the City Watch series have been my constant companions through life for over 10 years now.
Vegetarianism: I do eat a lot of dairy, but have been fish and meat free for 6 years.
A Desire to Write About My Life: Sometimes through journaling, sometimes through horrendous drafts of “memoirs” of my life, sometimes through blogs that have eventually become dormant.
Which path will minimalism and the quest for tidiness take in my life? Will it have staying power, like sobriety or Terry Pratchett, or will it fade into obscurity in my life just as Sailor Moon and veganism have done? Right now, I watch YouTubers about minimalism, read blogs about minimalism, and am constantly wondering what things or habits I can remove from my life in order to concentrate on things that feel more important to me.
I hope this minimalist turn sticks around in my life. My journey of decluttering my house and life of things that no longer serve me has come with quite a few excellent side effects.I’ve recommitted to an almost-daily yoga practice. Getting rid of other exercise items (aerobic step, running shoes, weights, etc.) reconfirmed to me that I want to focus on yoga with the goal of someday being able to do a sustained side plank. (Which is not, it needs to be said, a difficult goal.)
I’ve been journaling more, using the Notion app.
I’ve been reading more, using my kindle.
It’s easier for me to keep areas of my apartment clean. (I won’t lie, some areas are still a struggle.)
It’s easier for me to get dressed in the morning, and I no longer feel a vague sense of guilt for not wearing certain items (skirts, dresses) even though they may be more visually slimming on me than pants. (I love pants. I only want to wear pants from now on.) I feel like I have a sense of style now, even thought it is extremely basic.
I’ve completely eliminated using certain things in my life: I no longer paint my nails, use facial toners or masks, or hair styling products. The lack of nail polish is obvious, but the rest has made absolutely no impact on my life. The trick, now, is sticking with it: not allowing marketing to convince me that a new toner is the best thing, or (as my hair grows out) that I need a gel or a hairspray. Hopefully this blog will keep me committed to these promises to myself to not bring things into my life that add nothing and cost money.
I’ve made peace with the reality that some of my hobbies are watching television and video games. That feels like an awkward thing to say: these days, I feel as though our hobbies ought to be of the self-improving kind like the list of failed hobbies above. But, I came to the startling realization the other day that hobbies are supposed to be fun. And watching television and video games are really fun.
So, I hope you (and I) stick around for this foray into my life of attempted-minimalism, reflection, and the goal of sticking with it. And, maybe, eliminating dread.