Three years ago, I had everything I’m supposed to have: a great house, a husband and pigeon pair of kids, a Peugeot station wagon in the driveway, a huge wardrobe.
I cried myself to sleep every night.
I thought something was wrong with me, because none of it was making me happy.
In among the vast amounts of things that make up what we call a “successful life”, I never felt so completely lonely.
I wondered, Is this IT? Is this all my life is? Is this who and what I am? Shouldn’t it all mean more?
I know a lot of people go through the same processes I did. Some people might call it a mid-life crisis.
I call it my awakening.
Fearing the chrysalis
Here I am, three years on. My huge house is sold – we’ll be leaving it all behind very soon. I’m taking my first steps into the void.
I’m separated from my husband, and I’ve found a new partner.
I’ve sold, given away, or thrown away about 90% of my possessions.
I have a capsule wardrobe of 33 items, or less.
I’m truly happy, for the first time since I don’t know when.
I feel calm, at peace, even while at the same time I’m scared at where this path of minimalism and simplicity is leading me.
I don’t know where I’ll be living even two months from now. I don’t have a job waiting for me. My life lacks security.
Despite the fear, I’m okay with that. I have faith in myself and I believe that I will work everything out.
Do caterpillars fear becoming butterflies?
Big changes – huge changes – are scary. But they’re necessary in order to grow and learn as human beings.
Becoming a minimalist, where I was a consumerist or maybe even a maximalist before, is a huge change. I’m flying away from everything I know, everything our society teaches: that more will make us happy, that material wealth is satisfying, and that what our neighbours think truly matters.
The truth is, there is no such thing as enough, if you base your joy in things. There never will be enough. Enough doesn’t exist. Never did.
But if we stop, listen, breathe, and take time to reflect on what truly makes us happy – if we face our fears head on – then we might find that our own personal enough is quite a small amount after all.