Happy New Year!!! 2017
Hi I’m Back
There are times in my life when I feel overwhelmed by too much activity, too many commitments and too much noise. At these moments I know it is time for me to disappear down the rabbit hole. I have done it before (as many of you have been witness to), when I shut down my website, saying “I have gone fishing,” or when I set up my email reply to read “I am currently on sabbatical”. Or in this last month and a half where the blog pots and the Instagrams evaporated. I just needed some time off. This eternal connection to the world which bombards us with too much information in my opinion , most of which at the end of the day is pretty irrelevant, is what I call the incessant noise of the 21st century. News repeating over and over until you want to yell “Okay I got it!” The screaming voices of the media, the every 5 minute breaking news. Remember when that meant something really important had just happened? Today it is often as breaking as “my aunt broke her finger nail.” The pundits pontificating over campaigns and the elections, everyone has an outlet for their voice and an opinion and they are constantly bellowing at me. The year 21016 reached a cacophony that made me scream : stop! But wait, it is time for me to stop, as I am shouting and ranting just like them. In my opinion this has become a national, perhaps worldwide, malady. So I have taken a breather to also stop and take a deep breath.
Of course this should have been a new year post but as seems to be the story of my life, it is a month or more late.– but in my new mind set and as I am not doing surgery or something life threatening who cares? So yes I am attempting to slow down, breath, and be quiet. Right now I would grade my success at a C+ \ B- (though those who live around me might raise an eyebrow at that.) But I am trying, with the knowledge that, like the ground hog that emerges next week, perhaps it is time to peak out from my hole and say “hi world.”
It seems I am actually on trend with ‘digital detox’ although I had never heard about this concept until a couple of days ago. I couldn’t endorse it more. For me, it is necessary to slow down, reflect and garner inspiration for the year ahead. And that’s not to say it’s easy – I can completely understand the seduction of social media, our reliance on 24/7 news, and the need to constantly check emails and text messages, but it is so refreshing to remember, and prove, we can live without them!
This quiet time has inspired me to do all those things you never quite get around to. Once one slows down, it is so much easier to find moments of pretty, along with newfound delights in the simplest of things .Which brings me to my February 2017 resolution, and that is to make a concerted effort in keeping calm, in finding time to think about things that bring joy, comfort, laughter and beauty, and some much needed quiet into my life, such as:
Reading books for entertainment and for learning
I decided to read Susan Cain’s Quiet : The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking this last month – for those of you unfamiliar with it, it focuses on a time when quiet and reflection was admired, comparing this with the 20th and 21st centuries, and the more recent rise in the extrovert as the ideal.
A new book that I have loved is Belgravia by Julian Fellowes (of Downton Abbey fame.) To me there is nothing better than a tome that you just cannot put down. Do the younger generations still experience such a wonderful addiction? I do hope so.
Focusing more on those you love (everyone says that but I am trying to be more mindful than I have been)
Spending more time with my Mom – talking and discussing things with her with her. At a friend’s long ago suggestion, I have just started interviewing her on video her face and her voice documented.
Being with my beloved puppies, who have featured significantly in this quiet January .
Trying to be more observent and patient with special friends. Even when I don’t agree with them – everyone has a right to their opinion as long as they do not try and force it upon you.
Making files for items that make me laugh, inspire or think
A big fan of interesting quotes, I finally compiled some of my favorites, for easy access when I most need them. I always marvel at how writers with their beautiful prose or cleaver humor come up with these things. A couple of lines to capture the essence of something – quite foreign to someone like yours truly who should get the prize for rambling run on sentences. I have dozens of them but here are just a few.
Inspiration: “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom,” Marcel Proust
Wit: “Don’t be so humble – you are not that great,” Golda Meir
“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile,” Billy Sunday
Humor: “If you’re too open minded, your brains will fall out,” Lawrence Ferlinghetti
“You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper in the world is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America’s Cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, Germany doesn’t want to go to war and the three most power men in America are named “Bush”, “Dick”, and “Colin,” Need I say more?” Chris Rock
A modest start at getting organized
When I did allow myself online, it was to clear out my emails, and unsubscribe from as much as I possibly could. All those newsletters – that of course would be interesting should I have the time to read them, but instead hover in my Inbox, making me feel inefficient and overwhelmed and laden with just more stuff. I still love the Happiness Project from Gretchen Rubin…
Paying attention to places that provide a peaceful atmosphere
Usually my time in Manhattan is a hectic jumble of appointments but recently I’ve been trying to not to over book things (something that I am so guilty of throughout my life.) By accident I was early for an appointment – a rare thing indeed – and in this spare moment, discovered a lovely little shop that only sells coffee and petit fours. It is like stepping back in time, when true, quality ingredients mattered, and providores took pride in the smallest of details. The young owners, also the pastry chef and barista, are both immigrants, fulfilling the American dream, and bringing a touch of magic to the East Side. Bon Vivant feels like a safe, slow, haven, while the world still races by outside.
Bon Vivant, 238 E 58th St, New York – just near the D&D Building, so perfect for design types in the area needing a break.
Stop talking about doing something, and to quote Nancy Regan, “Just Do It!”
One of the worst forms of noise is head noise, I am an expert at that unfortunate trait. The constant yakking in the, head “you should do this, you must do that,” those endless voices driving you nuts.. and the image of that wagging finger in your face . So as my mother says “If you really WANT to do it, you will or… let it go.”
For months I have been saying I needed to start my next book which will finally be about my designing career (something i really have not written about) and finally I started this work on the weekend, and strangely the voices stopped yelling at me!
Above: Just the beginning stage of the book process, starting to play with covers. It probably will not be this, but one starts with an idea, and then the endless project of research and editing begins….
Well dear readers enough of my meandering thoughts. There is just one more thing I would like to say ( I know you are probably rolling your eyes and saying “finally”) – the reason for this very long and personal post is both an explanation and a BIG THANK YOU to the lovely people who sent messages showing concern about my disappearance from social media, and asking if I was okay. Thank you from my heart!–cr
PS Next posts : Valentine’s Day and my dinner with Julian Fellowes.