Things that matter

My first time in a kimono

Today is my birthday.

A whole year has passed since I wrote my first birthday post on this blog. I remember it was just turning midnight when I sat down, took a deep breath and wondered, what in the world will this year bring?

Little did I know, the best year of my life so far was about to come.

Flicking through old posts in the archives, I can tell that as I’ve changed, so has this blog. I’ve moved on from talking about a few trivial matters to things that really do matter. Not things that we think matter, but things that truly do. And there’s a big difference, because so many things that we think are important aren’t really, they just appear to be because they’re urgent or have ‘deadlines’, but in the bigger picture, few things really do matter.

I guess that’s what I’ve been trying to do. Find out what things are important to me. Then, minimalize. Focus. Do.

It hasn’t been easy, but if there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that there’s actually more to gain from cutting down not adding up.

The blog has grown so much, and I think I have too. I feel like a completely different person from who I was last year. I thought this year abroad was going to be a little bit of fun and adventure, but just from a bit of travelling, I’ve learned and seen things that have changed me in ways beyond even my own understanding. My host family has shown me kindness that is indistinguishable from real family love, and the connections we have made are the kind that will last a lifetime.

I can’t imagine how next year can get better than this, but at least I can hope for it.

thank you

So I just wanted to thank you all so much for supporting me all this way. For every post I write, fewer than 2% of you actually comment, but I absolutely love hearing from you guys, so please don’t be shy and speak up!

You can also find me and more minimalist morsels on Twitter.

Please keep reading, and help me spread the word. We’re all aiming for the same goal here, so the more that join us, the merrier!

Lastly, if you wouldn’t mind, how about buying me a birthday drink tonight?


If you can’t see the donate button, please click here!

[EDIT: I wrote this post before the earthquake in Japan happened to auto-publish on my actual birthday. In light of the disaster that has been unfolding, I will personally donate proceeds to the earthquake relief fund in Sendai, Fukushima and Miyagi. Thank you for all of your concern and support].

  • Happy birthday, Jessica! I wish you all the best in your next year and even if the last year was very good, it can get better from now on! 🙂 I’ve experienced this by myself.
    I really like your blog and I am looking forward to every new post you share with us. Keep up the good work and stay focused! 🙂

    Best wishes from Germany!

    • Hey Dori, thanks for the birthday wishes!

      Though it’s hard to imagine, yes I hope it gets better! I guess it’s how you think of it, I may not have Japan when I go back to England, but I’ll have my family and old friends 🙂

  • Happy birthday Jessica! You look beautiful in that kimono! I’m glad you made it safely through the earthquake. Congratulations on another year of Minimal Student, I’ve enjoyed watching your work evolve.

    • Dear Adam,

      Thank you so much for reading for such a long time! And thanks for the birthday wishes and your concern too, it means a lot to me.

  • Daria

    Happy birthday, Jessica! Your writing is so brave and thought-provoking, and the things you`re speaking about are of great importance for me (as a student and wanting to-be-minimalist). Best wishes for you, your family and your host family in Japan (from Russia, by the way). It`s so sad that you have to witness catastrophic events, but we all belive that you and the beautiful country are able to overcome it and transform the experience into something wise and powerful. God bless you!

    • Dear Daria,

      Thank you for the birthday wishes! Yes, I have learned quite a few life lessons in only a few days. The earthquake didn’t affect me directly but it’s twisted after-effects (not including the tsunami/nuclear issue) have surprised me. I’m working on a post about it, watch out for it soon!

  • Jessica, you look gorgeous. Happy Birthday sweet girl. I feel for you living in Japan right now during these terrible times. The world is watching and sending love to all of those effected. Your year sounds incredible and I wish you many more the same. Much love to you on this day.

    • Hey Katie,

      Thank you for the birthday wishes and thank you for your concern, it really means a lot to me.

  • You look absolutely stunning in the kimono, and a happy birthday to you! I would love to buy you a drink if I could..

    • Hey Matt,

      Thank you and no problem! Maybe one day 🙂

  • Moritz

    Enjoy reading your blog, and happy belated birthday to you!
    All the best from Germany!

    • Dear Mortiz,

      Thank you for the birthday wishes! I welcome all German readers with open arms!

  • Andre

    I wonder where my comment is gone… Nevertheless, belated happy birthday. I hope you had a nice day despite that catastrophe and I’m quite confident that the next year will be even better. Just keep going!

    “Find out what things are important to me. Then, minimalize. Focus. Do.”
    Interestingly, my first step was minimalizing as it enabled me to find out what is important to me. Although I’ve not figured out completely what’s most important for me, I feel I’ve made significant progress on my journey.

    You look really cute in a kimono. Therefore I hope you plan to write an article over at your other blog.

    • Hey Andre,

      You know me too well 🙂 I’m working on the post on my other blog but I’m waiting to put on my host family’s expensive kimono and take some photos with that on too. I’m glad to know you’re following that one!

      You’re totally right about what you said about minimalizing to find out what’s important to you. Many people forget that simply decluttering is not the end, and they must move onto the next step of focussing and actually doing what they set out to do in the first place.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Hi there, you look soooo beautiful in your Kimono. And thanks so much for all your blog posts. Truly inspiring.

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