Friday, December 29th, 2017
There has been considerably less activity on this little blog of mine this past year, which in a way is somewhat misleading. It has actually been a year of tremendous growth. Not for the blog, but for myself personally.
Take clothes, the primary reason why I started this blog. Reading about ethical fashion, I felt like I couldn’t win. Synthetics were the devil, but bamboo and hemp based fibres were doused in toxic chemicals to make them workable. Wool and organic cotton were viable options, but most of it was blended with the aforementioned devil fibres. If not, the clothes were cut in a way that only an Olsen twin could pull them off (or otherwise afford). Thrifting is a great option if you have the time and can find what you’re looking for, but I didn’t find that I often had the time to devote to hunting for fashion treasures.
You could easily apply my frustrations with ethical clothing to multiple areas of my life. I didn’t, and in many cases still don’t, feel like there actually is a right choice to be made. Every choice I make has an impact. The question is, am I okay with that impact? A lot of the time that answer is no, but I often didn’t know how to fix it.
This frustration really came to a head early in the year, for a variety of reasons. If I’m being honest with myself, the primary reason would be a bout of undiagnosed postpartum depression and anxiety. Had I realized what the problem was I would have tried to seek treatment earlier, instead I tried to “fix” all of the problems I thought I had by thinking my way through them. Not a wise idea for my general mental health, but rather helpful for overall reflection.
TL;DR – my life is needlessly complicated, I care too much what others think, and the pursuit of “more” is leaving me feeling empty.
I made a lot of changes this year, though not as many as I want to. I’m part of a family unit, so I can’t completely upturn everything about my life on a dime without negatively affecting others. To my husband’s credit, he’s gone along with a lot of changes that I know he wouldn’t have chosen to do on his own. That man is my rock.
These are some of the major changes I’ve made this year:
Minimalism would be an epic stretch from where we are now, but I’m assessing what we use and what we actually need. For example, we have 12 mixing/serving bowls. We do not need 12 bowls, and I’m going to convince my husband that we can part with some. I’ve already done this with our sheets, towels, some of our kitchen items, and some of our clothes and shoes. There is still a lot of work to be done, but looking back on the last year I can see a ton of progress has been made.
We (read: I) have an obscene amount of bathroom products. Given that my routine was pretty minimal to begin with, I had no reason to have this many products other than the fact that I like to buy them. When I cut my hair off I gave my hair products to a friend with long hair. I gave the bulk of my makeup to my sister’s teenage step-daughter. I poured the plethora of small shower gel containers I had lying around into a single pump bottle in the shower to use it up. My disposable hygiene products were donated to an organization that helps the homeless. I’m not allowing myself to buy anything new until I use up my existing products (which slows down the quarterly makeup bag purchase posts).
I went down a little bit of a zero waste YouTube rabbit hole while I was on maternity leave. To say it feels authentic would be a tad trite, but it does feel like I’m moving in the right direction for myself and my family. Our consumables (shampoo, laundry soap, dish detergent, etc…) have been purchased in bulk with reusable containers since last summer. My personal products (razors, etc…) have been swapped out for reusable options since last spring. Produce is largely either loose or in drawstring bags I made. Deli meat is purchased in a glass container at the deli counter. Oil/vinegar/nut butter/honey/etc… is purchased bulk in mason jars. Dry items like rice, lentils, pasta and coffee beans are purchased in IKEA bins that go straight into the pantry. We can go over a month without putting our garbage bin out, and that makes me very, very happy.
I haven’t purchased a single article of clothing in 3 months. This wasn’t something I planned, it just sort of happened. I don’t have the urge to shop right now. My wardrobe is serving my needs at the moment, and since I haven’t been taking outfit photos I haven’t felt the need to have something new to showcase. I’m sure the other style bloggers out there will know exactly what I’m talking about. I may look at adding another pair of jeans to the mix since I’m wearing them daily and one of them is getting ready to die, but to be honest they may very well be thrifted. I should start looking when everyone starts their January purge.
More specifically, I’m cooking at home. In November I set myself a goal of not buying lunch while I was at work. I wasn’t 100% successful (I think I ate out twice?), but I definitely got more into the groove of cooking at home. The picture above is a jar of ham broth I currently have in the fridge. The rest of it turned into a ham/lentil/veggie soup a couple days ago, and this is turning into a crock pot full of split pea soup tonight. I’m hoping to take after my mom and preserve some tomatoes and jam this coming summer.
I saw my grandfather at a wedding in October. Given that I have so much white showing, he asked me why I decided to stop dying my hair. I told him my hair is what it is, and I’ve decided I just don’t care what anyone else thinks about it anymore. He liked that answer.
When I first stopped dying my hair I told myself if I didn’t like it I could always start dying it again. Now? I love it. I feel like I’m not hiding anymore. It feels sassy, not matronly. I’m slowly learning how to embrace that attitude in other areas, such as my body’s new normal shape, though I’ll admit that’s slower coming. It is coming though. As I focus more on areas of my life that are more deserving of attention (my son, my husband, my career), the things that matter less (what society thinks of my stretch marks) take up less mental space. It’s a process.
The better care I take of myself the better I look and feel. 2017 drove that home. If I’m being honest, I foresee a lot of vegetables in my future.
Ugh, it felt so good to actually write tonight. It was either blog or take a hot bath, but I was seriously missing my blogging. The next couple months are going to be rough (we’re moving houses), but I think 2018 will be interesting, because it has a lot to hold.
How was your 2017? What do you foresee coming in the new year?