I’ve been thinking a bit about what it is I am doing (or trying to do) when I’m writing this blog recently. Looking back over previous posts there are bits and pieces about my art, other people’s art and being creative, and sometimes (but not as much as I initially thought there would be) on trying to sell it. There are bits about being in nature (mostly in the woods), or out and about in lovely bits of the UK, and on appreciating the wonderful things we may have that may often go unnoticed close to home. There are also some thoughts on mental health, wellbeing and some of the tiny steps that may be part of the journey to getting us there. I think for a while I have felt a bit like this is a messy blog with out a central theme, which, while it may suit my messy brain, may ultimately not be of that much interest to other people.
I’ve been looking around at some of the ‘alternative lifestyle’ movements for a while and with each one found that it wasn’t quite for me. I like some of the principles of minimalism, but am far too (proudly) messy to be minimalist. I can see that living a ‘laptop lifestyle’ while travelling and living on a shoestring may be exciting, but I like my home and my friends and family too much to feel like swanning off into the sunset would be my thing. I don’t rage against my day job, which is meaningful and I think involves important work, but I do want to do a bit less of it. I have always been a bit anti-consumerist, but at the same time have a deep appreciation of (and am very happy to pay for) the sensuality and materiality of objects and food that have been made with skill and love. I find some of the writing coming out of the self help movement useful, but find they often promote an approach that for me is uncomfortably self absorbed. I like being with people, but also like my alone time too much to consider some form of communal living to be the answer. So I kind of didn’t really fit with any of the alternative lifestyle tribes that would require quite radical changes to my current way of doing things.
I think I’ve come to realise that the blog is all about me efforts in trying to carve my own pragmatic (and messy) path to living a creative, purposeful, connected, meaningful life. While I may not be a perfect fit with any of the currently available ‘alternative’ tribes, I do think that what I’ve been trying to think about is living a different kind of life to one that is normal and heavily promoted in western culture (striving, ambitious, busy, individualistic, resource and spending heavy). I think that in particular I’m beginning to see the kind of isolation that kind of life can lead to, and how frankly unhealthy that is. There has got to be a better way that may involve slightly softer lifestyle changes. I’ve been pretty inspired while reading the blog of Mrs Craft of Craft and other crazy plans, who seems to be doing all sorts of interesting creative and outdoorsy things and generally enjoying that. And I’ve been thinking about more collective ways of doing things. I think over the next year or so I’ll be posting a bit more about this as I work things out as I go along. We may even start our own pragmatically, proudly messy, creative tribe, together. Would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below.