Someone the other day commented on how I like “old things” and I was pleasantly surprised they had noticed. While there are aspects of my life that do not line up with traditional ways of living, such as working full-time, I love the concept of following more traditional practises where I can. It is in these things I feel closer to God, find contentment and joy, and cultivate skills I believe society should not stray from amidst a time of convenience and outsourcing.
// cooking as much as possible
“As much as possible” is not a good way to measure anything because there is always more I could be doing. But I tell myself to take things slowly, and learn one thing at a time. A couple of years ago, it was bread. Next is pizza dough. Making things like stock, bread, dough and pastry, allows for two things: being able to control the ingredients that go into something, and relying less on the supermarket. While everything still requires ingredients, it is easier to buy flour or to freeze vegetables for stock than to no longer have access to store bought bread or frozen meals. I say this because for the past few years there have been delays and shortages and there’s a possibility of these getting worse. It’s a good idea to have access to these basics without needing to go out and buy something immediately.
// avoiding overuse of social media
I know, I know, I have a blog. I should be promoting being online and subscribing! But I truly believe that while social media can be a nice way to keep in contact with people and learn new things, it can affect us negatively. How many people have high screen times and a decreasing view of themselves because of what they see online? Not to mention privacy and protection when it comes to our information and the people who have access to it.
// taking care of a home
The house I’m renting is slightly odd in parts. The tiles are not what I would choose and the backyard isn’t particularly inspiring. But I have so much joy in caring for it and presenting my home with cleanliness and warmth. Most of the time it is just me in here. But walking through the door after a long day at work is a delight. I come home to a beautiful space that motivates me to create; in the kitchen, with my sewing, and with my writing. It is neat and still lived in; clean and tidy does not have to mean cold and stifling. Instead, it allows for inspiration and rest, a space to learn new things. A clean kitchen is more inviting to learning a new recipe than a kitchen crowded by dirty dishes.
I think part of the problem is our over-consumption of cheap items and the accessibility we have to them. There is not the same value placed on what we do own because we know we can buy another for $5 on the weekend. Taking care of your home is finding contentment in what you do have. Taking care of my slightly-odd home means I am actually proud of it and enjoy cleaning it.
Of course, I am not talking about those lived-in details. I often have empty mugs and tea strainers in the kitchen. My sewing basket currently resides on the dining table, because that is how I’ve been spending my time. A book might be on the lounge, my bullet journal open for the world to see. But the windows are open and the pantry is stocked; there is nothing to be embarrassed about.
I know not everyone agrees that spending your time this way is worth it, but for me there is so much goodness in these things. They might take longer and take your time away from something else, but I find they are grounding and, as I said, are ways I feel closer to God. There is joy to be found in the most humbling of tasks, there is patience in the time they take, there is love in presenting something beautiful that someone else can enjoy.
A note: there is one reason I struggle to write posts such as these, and it is this: I know my situation is different to others. I know the way I do things is not what will work with young children who are constantly playing, moving different objects, and requiring attention. There is a difference even that I am single and do not have to live with someone else’s stuff and how they use it, manage it, and store it. I am aware that we all do what we can, with what we have, in the season we are in. (Hey look, I wrote a whole post about that once!)
But in saying that, part of the reason I felt motivated to write about femininity and the home in the first place was because of my situation. Because my life doesn’t mirror the housewife and the stay at home mum. I wanted to share my own experiences and how I implement and navigate my interests whilst working full-time, living with housemates, and embracing femininity without wearing a frilly dress every day of the week.
And now, into the day we go.