Moving to London focused me. Leaving that magical New York energy that makes you want to move, in every direction, at every hour, was eye opening. I no longer had distractions to keep my areas for improvement at bay. That massive student loan that was neatly tucked away in denial land became the elephant in my room overnight.
Slowly, my relationship with money became a priority. Even though debt still hangs high above my head, her power over me is diminishing month-over-month. It’s like a chipper workout, where every month, we become richer, and I get closer to freeing myself from my past. Paying my student loan is one of my favorite activities. I visualize myself transferring money from our UK account, to our US account, to my student loan account. I mentally play around with the amounts until I settle on one that is good enough. When payday comes, I start the process and with all the transfers involved, I wait about five days until I’m satiated by seeing the balance drop by another thousand.
I found Rachel’s blog a few weeks back and her story is so incredibly inspiring. Her family paid off over $80,000 in debt, as she and her husband worked together to simplify their life.
GirlHabits: What can’t you live without?
Rachel Jonat: Quiet time on my own in the morning. I try to wake up at least thirty minutes before my son and husband so I can have some alone time to start my day. So important for an introvert.
GH: If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
RJ: Teleportation. I’d never have to make another trans-Atlantic flight with a toddler.
GH: What’s the weirdest thing that has made you cry?
RJ: It’s not that weird but I cry when other people cry. If someone is telling me about their troubles and they start tearing up, I’ll tear up with them.
GH: What prompted you to become a minimalist? What was the hardest thing about this choice?
RJ: Lots of time at home. When I was on maternity leave I spent so much time at home and really saw that we used so little of what we had. I was also short on time, energy and sleep. Clutter was taking up precious minutes that I wanted back.
The hardest thing about this lifestyle choice was the initial purging of things from our home. I felt terrible about all the things I had wasted money on. We were still in consumer debt at the time so I was kicking myself that I was now giving away things that we still owed money on.
GH: What’s the best thing about being a minimalist?
RJ: I sleep better at night. I worry less about what might happen or worst case scenarios. I know we’ll adjust our life to meet whatever comes our way.
GH: What’s your favorite food memory?
RJ: Isle of Capri, Italy in 2009. My husband and I wandered from the port side of the island over the hill and down a steep path. We had no idea where we were going but came across this wonderful restaurant right on the water. I had a gorgeous pasta with pumpkin and crisp white wine. It wasn’t just the food that made it special. It was the atmosphere, the beauty and the fun of stumbling upon this restaurant that made it my favorite food memory.
GH: What do you consider the most important event in your life so far?
RJ: The birth of my son Henry in 2009. I chose to have a home birth and I’m not what you would call a hippy or particularly into radical natural living. But I did a lot of research on it and thought a lot about where I would feel most comfortable during a stressful, challenging and wonderful moment.
Yes, having a child made me a parent but it was the choice to have a home birth, the choice to take a less conventional path, that gave me a lot of confidence to trust my instincts. I’m not sure I would have embraced minimalism or pursued writing again if I hadn’t made that one wonderful unconventional choice.
GH: How do you squash self-doubt?
RJ: Most of my self-doubt is around becoming a career writer. I’m still not sure it will happen but I try to remind myself that if I am enjoying the work and the process of it, it’s already a success.
GH: How do you show yourself self-love?
RJ: This has been a challenging area for me in the last few years. I just had my first alone trip a few months ago. I’m in a special season of life with having a young child so I don’t have a lot of time to myself. Getting up early for some alone time is my way to get some self-love. If I have enough time I’ll go for a run but if it’s just 20 minutes I’ll make myself a nice breakfast and read.
GH: What is your next big challenge?
RJ: My blog has been a surprising success and I have been thrilled with the impact it’s had. But my true love is writing fiction and non-fiction essays. I’m working on a few pieces that I hope to self-publish soon. They are quite a departure from my writing in the minimalist niche so I’ll be starting from ground zero with them.
Rachel’s Awesome Bio:
Rachel Jonat is a former world medalist rower turned marketing professional turned SAHM/writer. At The Minimalist Mom, Rachel writes about living a rich life with less stuff. Currently living on a windswept island in the middle of the Irish Sea, Rachel owns two pairs of jeans, lives without a car and is attempting to become a tea drinker.