Things Look Different

Things look different around here. Maybe you noticed when you opened this post, and maybe it didn't hit you until I told you to look around, but it is different. Maybe you picked up on the fact that the post title isn't just about a blog layout.

‘Unprecedented’ really is a good word for what's going on in the world.  Thanks, Steph. Not because we haven't had recessions and pandemics before, but because this set of circumstances is totally unique. There are a lot of unknowns and most people don't like unknowns. I'm among them, as you might have guessed. I like plans and order and lists and maps. 'Unknowns' are the things I find out before jumping into any sort of action, so the fact that I can't simply figure them out is frustrating. And yet, I am not in a state of panic. Not even close to it.

I haven't personally been hit too hard, for a number of reasons: I can work at home, my parents are tucked away in Florida and doing fine, John is currently on furlough (paid time off) from the firehouse so he's not riding around on ambulances catching who knows what. Things are easier when loved ones are safe. John's brother and his wife are both nurses currently in quarantine, so less safe there, but they're young and healthy and not showing symptoms. I'm also a total homebody so although the tests say I'm an extrovert, I've felt zero sense of boredom or need to get out of the house.

The news is insanity though, constant and pervasive. Enough to make even the calmest start to panic, if you let it. So I feel for the people who have big worries at this time, health or financial or otherwise, and for anyone who has already lost someone. I can understand why many people live in fear that the worst is yet to come in America. The unknown is scary.

But there's always the silver lining of sweet news articles showing that humanity doesn't always suck. People helping elderly neighbors. Companies donating toilet paper and masks. Customers leaving big tipsScribd offering books for free. Penguins on field trips.

Have you seen the news articles about the Earth healing itself though? Those are my favorite. In response to humans being contained and not completely destroying the world around them at breakneck speed, the planet has begun to show clean water and air in formerly heavily polluted cities. The Venice canals have fish and swans, even dolphins. Isolation has proven that human activity is the foremost cause of pollution and that when humans slow down, the world can heal.

And that is the perfect segue into making this all about me, like a true only child.

I'm only half-kidding, since this is a personal blog, and I do want to give an update as to where my content is heading and why. Because that's something that I've been wanting to change up and that change is starting with the post you're reading right now. The changes I've been considering for the blog are not new or in response to this virus - I had a blog day with Betsy well over a month ago where I ran all this past her, so it's been in the works for some time. I say that because I don't necessarily think that what someone shares right now online or on social media needs to change. It's perfectly okay to have a bright spot in the online world to write about and discuss anything and everything that isn't related to the news we're bombarded with everyday. Organizing the bathroom? Dog training? Cookie recipe? Book reviews? Makeup looks? Hell yes, go for it.

What the virus did do, though, was push up my timeline. I generally work super far in advance so I was done with writing posts for 2020, and planned to not switch any content until 2021.  See, I really feel like I've shared all I wanted to on organizing, finances, decluttering and goal setting. What am I doing to do, keep re-organizing our kitchen cabinets for the sake of blog content? I know plenty of organizational bloggers who do that, but it's not my style. Adding more work instead of less is not where I want my life heading.

In fact, less work and less a heck of a lot of other things are currently my main focus. In response to various hard things and high stress levels (a post for another time, next week perhaps), I made a rapid turn in the other direction to ensure those stress levels came way down. And just like the Earth's response to human quarantine, when I slow down, I can heal.

I already slowed down a lot in the last few months, from work to home life to finances. All things I plan on sharing more about, because I think that has a large part to do with why I don't feel a sense of panic or even a real sense that my life has changed very much. Priorities, boundaries, gratitude, slow and small living - all things to come on the blog, and all things that people are currently being forced into. But since I already live this way, there hasn't been a change in what my day to day looks like.

I slowed down my digital life too, which has been particularly freeing. I've completely decluttered and redefined my social media. Twitter is gone, Facebook never existed, and Pinterest is now being used for it's intended purpose - bookmarking things I want to come back to for reference. Not yet another place to promote my own blog posts. Nothing is being run as a business account, nothing has stats for me to review, I'm not consuming any content that frustrates me and I have to say, it's been lovely. 

So I had every intention of making similar changes to the blog itself, come 2021. But working from home has opened some pockets of time in my day where I was able to check in and think 'why? why wait until 2021 to make the changes?' So I went through all the posts I had scheduled for the rest of this year and deleted them. Every time I opened one I thought 'I've already shared something like this' or 'this isn't the message I want to send out.' Those thoughts were mostly on my posts about time management and productivity, something I'm totally done with thinking about - I find myself pushing back hard against the idea of being 'busy.' If I can get through most days without using the word 'busy', I consider my life a success.

This space should really be a reflection of that, of my life. That's it's intended purpose. Not figuring out what content will make money or how to stick to posts in my 'expert areas' of organization and saving money. I don't want to be an expert on anything, I just want to live slow and share that along the way. I still love goals and to do lists and spending money wisely, but the way I go about those things has shifted. Maybe, in the wake of this quarantine, it's shifted for you too. Funny how things get re-prioritized when you're forced to focus on what's important.

So what will be on this blog? Longer posts, and likely only one a week. More about my day to day life, less about lists, scheduling, and various 'how-tos'. And everything I remotely feel like I want to write a blog post about is wholly related to slow living and simple homemaking.

I completely understand that this coming content may not be for everyone (it's not supposed to be, anyway) and not everyone likes to sit down and read long content in the digital era of headlines and snippets. So if you want to unfollow, no hard feelings - and Instagram will still be full of Hawkeye photos, if that's all you're here for anyway (fair.)

But if it does sound like something you're interested in, then I'm happy to have you here. Let's chat in the comments. How is the virus affecting or not affecting your life? Are your pets happy to have you home? Do you find that you're living more slowly, intentionally or not?

Oh, and wash your hands.