Closing the door for a bit...
Despite moments of great uncertainty over the past few years about how much longer I could persist, I kept pushing for as long as I could. At some point, this particular milestone seemed within reach and became a goal of sorts.
|I've never had only one blog post scheduled... as of today, there's zero.
When I started this journey in 2013, I was still occasionally dabbling in actual work; i.e., doing things for which I got paid real money. Over the years, I've heard so many people make the comment of "what am I going to do when I retire?" I feel lucky to have been doing something quite fulfilling during my final (albeit extremely part-time) working years, so that when I finally decided that enough was enough, the prospect of having all this extra time to devote to sewing – and to this blog – was exciting.
Now I've been asked, what are you going to do with all the extra free time if you're not going to blog anymore? Believe it or not, the first thing I might want to do more of is to sew. While I've cut down on making "things" simply because I don't want to have clutter around the house, the past year has been somewhat ridiculous for what I've actually managed to sew. As in, very little. Whether I actually end up doing more is still to be determined, but I will indeed have more time to consider it!
So what's a good topic for a potential "last" post? Believe it or not, I didn't think too long or hard about this one. Around this time of year, I usually take a step back from all things sewing and ruminate on other stuff... and often hop up on a soap box.
|Good advice to follow...
What does being well mean to me?
First of all, having a hobby is an excellent way to maintain wellness in spirit, body and mind heading into one's supposed "golden years". (Honestly, that term grates on me. By my early 40s, it was pretty clear to me that there's nothing golden about old age.)
|Writing by hand is a big part of overall wellness...
This year, I found out that writing by hand is enormously beneficial to us, especially as we age. (Do a search for "20 reasons to write by hand, according to science" and read all about it.) Back in July, I took an old notebook and began writing in it on a daily basis. I make it a point to write slowly and methodically, taking care to form letters the way I was originally taught to do, not the way that I've come to scrawl them over the decades. (Fun fact: back in my early teaching days, I received a comment on a student evaluation that said I was the fastest writer this person had ever seen... luckily my writing still managed to be legible!)
And what do I write, you might ask?
When I set out to do this, I looked for websites that could provide me with good things to scribe. One of them turned out to be a veritable well of goodness, and it's my recommendation that anyone who needs a little help "being well" should turn to it for support.
It's a site filled with inspirational quotes of all kinds, put together by a guy named Maxime Legacé, who started it after losing his girlfriend in a car accident about twenty years ago. One of my favourite quotes of his is, "Life is a mountain. Your goal is to find your path, not to reach the top."
|image courtesy of wisdomquotes.com...
In my daily writings, I also appreciate that some quotes make me think and give me pause, like this one by Marilyn Vos Savant: "Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent." After I copied that down, I felt compelled to compose a quote of my own: "Beating a dead horse is a waste of energy that can be better applied elsewhere." (Being a realist, I think there are far too many "never give up" platitudes and not enough "know when to give up" advice.)
In any case, 2023 was/is yet another year of things going badly for planet Earth and humanity in general. If, like me, you believe that being bombarded by a daily news cycle that focuses on disaster, violence, evil and greed is truly bad for you, then you need a way to counter balance it. This site has given me a sense of calmness in the storm every day since July 10.
What else do I write? I found material via various sites that offer daily thoughts, fortunes, questions, etc. When I want to write more than the single page per day that I usually do, I flip to the back of the notebook and work from there, copying lengthier sections of text from books or interesting articles from the newspaper. If something is particularly uplifting, I write it down and let it sink in.
|Hubby and I subscribe to this theory...
Avoid unnecessary comparisons and you'll be well positioned to...
For my daily handwriting exercise, I actually start by transcribing the Word of the Day and its definition. On a few occasions, I've actually learned new words, like abnegate and encomium. But my point about being smart is not really about increasing one's vocabulary, although aiming to learn something new every day is a smart goal to have.
|Being angry also saps your energy...
|Some things are exactly what they appear to be...
Be smart by cultivating and maintaining common sense, and by seeking advice from people with earned expertise. Whether by formal education or years of experience, there are such experts in our midst. Your common sense should tell you that they should be trusted over megaphone mouths who feed on notoriety by spouting outrageous opinions aimed at getting your attention. (Be smarter still by not giving them any attention.)
|I aspire to be what this man describes...
Be smart by taking the time to listen. Too many of us are impatiently waiting to nab our turn at the podium to truly listen, even during casual, everyday conversation; we end up talking "at" each other. Be the person who actually hears and understands and knows how to add to a discussion.
Be smart by accepting that it is okay to say, "I don't have an opinion on that because I don't know enough about it." That is, be smart enough to know that you can't be smart about everything.
Lastly, be smart by letting most things slide off you. Not being easily offended results in a happier life. Which leads to...
"Please, be kind. Especially when we don't know what's going on."
I watched Everything Everywhere All At Once last year. While I generally avoid multiverse movies, this one was different enough to pique my curiosity. The heartwarming comeback of Ke Huy Quan was a feel good story that resonated with me. It was, however, the above quote that his character said during the film that left a truly lasting impression. (It hit me sort of like how Paddington Bear stopped me in my tracks with his Aunt Lucy quote.)
To be kind is a simple concept, but unfortunately, it's not the first option that many choose. Even in seemingly benign circumstances, the "go to" response is often escalation or aggression, or at best, self-defense.
|Very apropos for today's world...
We're all so busy with our lives that the vast majority of us don't have time to make others miserable (online behaviour notwithstanding). Whatever injustices we perceive as having been done to us – by perfect strangers that we encounter on any given day – are most likely not intended to be so at all. I certainly keep that in mind whenever I'm out and about, pretty sure that I am absolutely not the center of anyone else's universe. Therefore, I choose to keep kindness as my go to response, because I just don't know what might be going on with that other person.
By the way, as a reminder, Paddington's Aunt Lucy said, "If we're kind and polite, the world will be right." How true is that when you look at what's happening around the world today?
Now before I bid you adieu, let me get some admin details out of the way.
Along with everything else on this blog, my various "shops" will remain operational. I will also maintain a presence in terms of not letting spammers take hold. I cannot conceive of a day when I grow tired of hearing from actual readers, so if you're someone who will be browsing the archives, please feel free to leave a comment or send an email if the urge strikes. (Comments may eventually need to be approved, but to reiterate, I'm still here for that.)
While I'm probably going to remove the sidebar widget for "This Week" eventually, I'll still update the home page on a regular basis to feature a different "This Week in History" post. Point being, this is not going to be an abandoned blog.
|Food for thought for those who don't believe they have the capacity to be creative...
As I've said before, I don't want to promise anything about the future that I'll feel obligated to deliver within a certain amount of time. My decision to push pause was made in the spirit of allowing myself to do nothing (in terms of posting new material) for as long as I needed or wanted. I hope to come back and update once a month, but I have no idea when or if that might be achievable. All I can say is that this little blog – in whatever form it takes down the road – will stay focused on or around sewing. While away from here, I will definitely continue to look for interesting things to make; I will never stifle that creative part of me.
But for now, I'd simply like to sit back and bask in the moment.
Peace out, everyone – ✌(-‿-)✌ – all the best and happy sewing to you!