Last October I turned 30, and I still begin to answer the question of “how old are you?” with “twenty… thirty!” I’m happily 30 solid years old and I feel happier than I’ve ever been. In my teens, I was MUCH more “uptight” and riddled with anxiety, but in my 20’s, I started to let things pass by me I would have normally freaked out about for weeks! As we get older and life gets more complex, we have way more things to freak out about, or, as I discovered, way more opportunities to let things go. The latter is my go to now.
There are many things I haven’t worried about for years that I hear people griping about daily, such as chipped nails, frizzy hair, holes in their clothes… etc. While I can’t empathize with those things because, quite frankly, I enjoy them, I have plenty of other little demons that try to squash my happy. I didn’t learn how to let things go all of sudden one day. Instead, it was something I had to practice and exercise regularly. I don’t mean to sound like I’m a total Zen guru, but maybe I can share something with you that will help.
I remember vividly when I was in college and we ambushed our professor one day near finals and asked “does it ever get easier?” She said “no, it only gets crazier and crazier and busier and busier. Don’t for a second think it’s going to be more simple... But, you get better. You learn how to do more and handle more.”
I was talking with a friend the other day and we reminisced about how easy it was before we had bills and a whole host of adult chores. We had no idea, even though everyone told us, how easy we had it. On the other hand, we also didn’t have much choice or power. Personally, I like the complexity of my life, but I must say that I have done much to simplify it. I’ve learned the most about myself in the quiet moments. I’ve found that when I disconnect and spend time alone, I discover all the little things that were right in front of my face, but I was too distracted to see. I discover who my true allies are. I realize that I don’t need certain things in order to be happy. I narrow in on the parts of my life that are truly fulfilling.
If you haven’t heard, I live in a tiny house. A very tiny house. 99 square feet tiny. It’s so small that I don’t have a shower or a laundry room, but don’t worry; I shower and wash my clothes. It does have a big sink, a bathroom (I love my compost toilet), bed, dresser, closet, refrigerator and freezer, and a kitchen that I’m able to cook what I need in.
When I moved into my tiny house almost 2 years ago, I didn’t bring in all my “stuff.” Instead, I let necessity dictate my actions. If I missed or needed something, then I would go get it from my storage. I let this play out for a few months and was surprised by how little I needed and how free I felt from the avalanche of junk! I’ve read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying and while I’m certainly not the poster child for it (I DON’T empty my purse every night, but I’m beginning to think I should), but that book was very motivating and inspiring. Less is more, with words and stuff!
I’ve learned to listen to my gut and to not ignore the things that bring me joy. It’s a wonderful compass, this gut of mine. It’s a much better guide than the idiot in my head that keeps spouting out all sorts of wacky ideas. I recommend listening in to your gut, and not the idiot. When something didn’t feel right, instead of ignoring it and trudging on like I used to, I began to solve the puzzle and figure out what exactly was wrong. OR if something made me smile ear to ear and want to share it with the world, I dug deeper into it.
I hear people complain about their commute to work or their coworkers or their bills and I tell them to change it. You don’t have to make that drive every day, you can do something to change it. Then the excuses come in. So what? There are obstacles. OVERCOME them. Change it. This is your life that you are living and you have so much freedom. If you can’t change it, then accept it. I realized there were many things I complained about on a daily basis, things that really did make me unhappy. Guess what. I decided if I couldn’t stop complaining, then I had better fix it. It was SO worth it. Sure, it’s easy for me to sit here and tell you to do that. I realize it isn’t an overnight switch, but anything worth having…
I might drive some people a little crazy on this next one, but I refuse to stop. I get a little enthusiastic with telling people I love them or talking about how incredible things are, but gratitude has an amazing host of gifts. I highly recommend it. I LOVE my job, my schedule, my family, my goats, my cats, my dog, my home, my garden, my town, my boyfriend, my family, my friends, my weekends, my car, the weather, art, my backyard, the books on my shelf… there’s nothing wrong with loving on all the beauty in our lives. People, animals, plants, possessions, the weather… they all know when they aren’t wanted and if you don’t appreciate them, they won’t dote on you. It’s a full circle kind of thing.
Lastly, a big thing that has stood out to me in my 20’s is the fearlessness to be different. I’ve always kind of had this strangeness and deviant nature to me, but it seems that the older I get, the braver I get. I only buy clothes that I want to wear and it doesn’t matter what anyone else is wearing. Yes, I will rock overalls or harem pants. No, I won’t cut and dye my hair, instead I’ll let it turn into a giant frizz ball that I will strut like a crown.
The big joy for me in making jewelry is that I can make something that no one else has. I’m so tired of everyone trying to fit in and follow the fashion rules. I’ve helped so many people shopping for jewelry that have asked me “well, what are people wearing these days. What is everyone else getting?” AGH! NO! I just heard you say you loved that necklace you just tried on. What does it matter if no one else is wearing one like it?! It looks great on you and you lit up with a huge smile when you tried it on! That should speak volumes to you.
Don’t wear jewelry for other people.
Wear jewelry for you!
You’re the one that is going to spend the most time with that necklace, so shouldn’t it be the one that YOU love?!
You get one chance at this life thing, so make it AWESOME! When you’re happy and taken care of, you are in the best state to help others!
Here’s my rough recap:
What I'm really trying to get at here: