I started listening to podcasts late last year. Most days I have a 35-45 minute drive to work and home again. A lot of the time I’m lucky enough to drive with Boyfriend Bee, but on days that I can’t I thought podcasts might be a good option to read without reading, and without paying a lot for audio books. So I dove down the rabbit hole.
At first I looked for migraine and massage podcasts because that’s what I was what was playing on my mind at the time. I was studying massage therapy and I was trying to understand the physiology of my migraines better. But I quickly found that those podcasts were pretty dull, or dated, or just not about the things I wanted to hear about. So then I just meandered along and was at some point nudged by Apple into the direction of The Art of Decluttering. Now this is where it started to get, dare I say it, a bit life changing.
I’d been listening to The Art of Decluttering for a while, caught up and on schedule, when one of the conversations referenced The Slow Home Podcast. Well that’s over 200 episodes deep so sure, why not start from the beginning? That won’t take forever or anything. Anyway, I really love it! It’s really taking me in a new direction with the way I think and the way I want to live my life.
And then last week I gave in. A couple of times Brooke at Slow Home had referenced a new (well, new back in 2016 anyway) podcast called Sweet Teen Club. This podcast is everything 90s with a focus on rehashing Sweet Valley High books. What? There is a podcast that won’t judge me for my awful angsty 90s taste in music? And it’s still going today? I’m in! And it’s amazing!
It’s so amazing in fact that for all my efforts to declutter and simplify I almost immediately went out and bought two Sweet Valley High books and a handful of The Baby-Sitters Club books. And THEN I went on eBay ordered The Complete Guide to The Baby-Sitters Club, which I ALWAYS regretted selling. I nearly squealed when I opened that package at work and was busted by my boss 10 minutes later reading it instead of doing my job. HR life!
So yes, I’m officially down the podcast rabbit hole and may never come up for air. But the nostalgia is so warming and it’s gotten my creative juices flowing too. Yay!
So we just finished Christmas! It was a whirlwind but was kept relatively simple and dispute free so that’s nice.
I want to talk about gift giving in my new attempts to adopt simple/slow living. In recent years I have had a couple of attempts to keep my gift giving to a certain “type” for the year. One year I handmade all the gifts. That was a challenge. It was also very satisfying and rewarding, but there were many nights of swearing over a sewing machine.
This year just gone I had a voucher giving year. I am not one of those people who find vouchers offensive or impersonal in the slightest. I try to think through the choice of voucher very carefully, and I love giving them because they give the recipient some choice. I hate the thought I am giving someone something they won’t enjoy. This year I also tried to give vouchers that were less likely to add to the “stuff” load of the recipient. Sure, a few of the kids got vouchers to the local nerdy/gamer shop and will probably bring home a trinket of limited value. But in the mix were restaurant vouchers, a voucher for my mum to pick her new fancy dinnerware and a couple of movies vouchers. I like receiving gifts that are genuinely useful, and so I try to give gifts that way too.
It’s only January but I’ve already settled on my plan for Christmas this year. I wanted to take the “carbon footprint” aspect to another level and buy only second hand items for Christmas 2018. I’ve decided the best way to do this is to be buying continually the whole year through and have settled on books as the primary theme (unless I happen upon any awesome vintage Tupperware or clothing that I can find a special home for – I know some of the ladies in my family would love that!).
Some people might cringe at the thought second hand gift giving, but people do it all the time. You might spot a vase you know that your mum will love and drop it off saying “I knew you would love this…and it was a steal, only $5!”. When people do this it’s accepted because it’s spontaneous and unattached to an occasion. But for some reason, when there is a gift giving occasion such as Christmas or a birthday, the expectations (mostly self imposed) are that “new is best”. I’ve decided I don’t believe that. Gently used, good condition books, picked with consideration and love, are going to be my gift of choice this year. Also, this means my giftees may get 2 or 3 books, not just 1. Even better!
I’ve cleared out a little spot in my study to start collecting what I find and I purchased my first gift-book today. I work right around the corner from a great little second hand book shop so it will be very easy for me to drop in a couple of times per week. It occurs to me that this little idea could be an opportunity for me to curb my own book buying as well. Every time I walk in there I walk out with a book. Perhaps I can convince myself to only buy gift-books. Ha. Who am I kidding!
Happy reading everyone!