This past week, we had our last snow day of the year (all future snow days will be remote days). Committed to enjoying it, I treated it as a ‘free day’ (since I was supposed to be teaching anyway) during which I could do whatever I wanted. I loved having the freedom to follow my impulses and intuition. They lead me to watching movies from my adolescence, daydreaming, reflecting, and — yep, you guessed it! — journaling.
I started with one of my favorite journal-magazines, Bella Grace. If you’ve never heard of Bella Grace before now, I’m glad I can introduce you! Their motto and mission statement is “We believe an ordinary life can be extradorinaiy, there is beauty in imperfection, and that magic can be found in the everyday.” How amazing is that?!
This magazine comes out quarterly and is often inspired by the changing seasons. Most of their contributors are fellow readers who submit photographs or short articles or both. Every few pages, there are journal prompts inspired by the articles that you can respond to; you write directly on the page of the magazine (the paper is thick, almost like card stock!).
My favorite issues are the ‘cozy’ issues! The photographs are beautiful autumn- and winter-inspired images and the articles always give me ideas for how I can up my cozy game in my everyday life. Not to sound dramatic, but these magazines really do center me and suck me out of my busy bubble. I feel connected to like-minded women whom I relate to and aspire to be like.
For example, one of the articles was about “The Art of Tubbing,” in which the author explored how, as we age, we tend to “move from the things that make us linger, to the things that make us rush.” My favorite line was “We forget how to enjoy the smallest of moments, we forget to daydream, to play pretend, to dive beneath the waves of our imagination and let ourselves drift there for a while.” Of course, in this article she is LITERALLY talking about taking baths but she’s also talking about slowing down — the art of slowing down.
Growing up, my favorite thing to do was daydream, to get lost in my thoughts and imagination. It’s still one of my favorite things to do but adult responsibilities always tend to take precedent. After reading this article, I was inspired to daydream and linger in small moments (at least for the day). It was absolutely lovely.
All of this nostalgia for my daydreamy adolescence prompted me to reflect on how I used to think about the world, and I found that I really missed some of my old perspectives on life. I remember believing in authenticity and nonconformity — of living life according to my authentic self and my beliefs. I prided myself on being different, unique, and true to myself. I approached most things with ease: I saw life as happening to me and my responsibility was to take life in, experience it fully, reflect on it, and grow through it as gracefully as possible.
Somewhere along the line, though, I started getting scared. I was scared about finding a job, of paying off my student debt, of being ‘successful’ (although, that didn’t seem to matter before, when I entered college as a Creative Writing major at 18 years old). I started changing, conforming, to fit into society. I stopped doing a lot of the things I love — like listening to records on my dad’s old record player, writing short stories and poems on the weekends, taking pictures on my old 35 mm camera or vintage box camera from the 1950s, spending entire mornings in the library or at the coffee shop — and traded them in for more manageable activities — like journaling, blogging, or reading self-help books (which are still great, just not the same as getting completely lost in the moment).
Some of you might say this is just ‘growing up’ but I disagree! I really do believe fear and pressure from society attack us when we are at our most vulnerable, and convince us that we were wrong about our perspective life — but I think I was actually right! Now, I’m trying to recapture some of those older perspectives, and grapple with the idea that growth isn’t linear; I can actually learn something from my younger self.
So when picked up my colored pencils to draw my intentions for the month of February, I took this idea with me: “growth is cyclical.” I drew my tabletop record player to remind myself of my old hobbies but also to remember that at any moment, I can “get back on track” — that is my mantra for the month.
I hope I have more days like this — filled with daydreaming, introspection, reflection, and inspiration! There’s nothing I love more than getting caught up in my thoughts, caught up in the moment, and forgetting everything else.