This summer has been a good time too for me to take a step back from my blog. There's a quietness in me now that I think is probably connected with age. But letting go of that habit of feeding the blog machine has allowed me to dig deep into my days and really feel it all.
So many things seems suddenly simpler. I see that I've got so much and I want less. I've been living somewhat frugally and it has made me reset that spending instinct. Not constantly looking at stuff helps too. We think we can look at products with abstract admiration (I like to think we can too). But it does also create and perpetuate this gulf; what I have, what others have. Sometimes the only way to quiet that is to stop with the looking and admiring of what others have.
And it's funny that when you stop looking regularly, the stuff becomes boring to look at occasionally. I flip through lifestyle content now and find myself entirely outside of it and unaroused by it, when before it used to fuel and fizzle in me.
That said, my sense of acceptance is also connected with a sense of accomplishment. I'm no longer starting from scratch and building something out of nothing. I look around my home and it feels right; not necessarily planned top-down, but every thing is a decision I made, an object I fell in love with. To want to undo and redo that because of some interior spread would feel like a kind of identity-stripping extreme makeover.
So I guess what I'm saying is that I don't have much appetite for reinvention these days and that drains a lot of the allure of lifestyle content, which seems to deliberately make us want to be wholly other.
And this isn't just about home decor, but fashion and body too. I'm altogether less hung up on the seemingly innate idea that one day I'll be emerge into something I wasn't before. I'm more interested in how walking to and from work every day makes me immediately feel than how it makes me look. I've let go of the unrealistic expectations of all of it; expectations fuelled by magazines and by comparing myself too much to others.
Like I said, this feels connected to age. I notice myself becoming more and more invisible and, in some respects, that's freeing. But I suspect this has more to do with my own eyes than with those watching or not watching me. I've finally realized that self-consciousness that gets in the way of doing the simplest things is a juvenile feeling for a woman in her late thirties. That letting myself grow up in this one regard outweighs all the dreaded things about aging.
I've also been thinking about being single and all of this. I'm still learning to live on my own, which is strange because I've been alone a long time now. But it's not what I expected for myself when I was young and there's still that voice that measures present me against what past me expected, even if that's an outdated idea. I know more and more that coupledom isn't for me; that I would contort like heated metal under the expectations and pressures of it, that I would break it because I was afraid of losing myself in it.
And so the summer I've felt all of this. Some of it as a burden and some of it as the most liberating idea. Sometimes, I've felt something like resignation or excess resistance in all of this and I've worried that I'm cheating myself somehow. But mostly, I feel like I'm accepting and letting go of voices external and internal, real and perceived, that tell me I would be better if I were otherwise.