I never really noticed it, but I always set my intentions for the year at my birthday. That’s more meaningful to me than the New Year — maybe because it’s personal, or maybe because it happens to lie within a change of season era (mid-September). Either way, my intentions/resolutions/goals/whatever you want to call them are always more meaningful when set on September 13th.
That said, I do give myself a theme each calendar year. Matt and I have done this together a few times recently: in 2015, I think it was, we said no to fried food. In 2016 (and 2017, after we kind-of, sort-of failed), we committed to traveling less. In 2018, although Matt’s not in on this one, my theme was — and still is — to embrace simplicity.
A couple of years ago, in late 2015/early 2016, amidst what we joke was the start of my “quarter-life crisis,” I started hearing a lot about minimalism. I began following The Minimalists and reading books like Chasing Slow, The Little Book of Hygge, and Essentialism, all of which inspired me to start thinking about slowing down.
I attempted to Marie Kondo my life and got rid of all but 40 or so pieces of clothes (I’ve since added about 20) and shut down a little bit each day as I went through this internal transformation. I started to declutter my friendships, my email inbox, and who I was following on social media — everything I could think of that might help get rid of that feeling of extreme overwhelm and burn out.
Slowly but surely, I started finding myself again. Most surprisingly, I started accepting myself. I stopped giving into peer pressure as much and started leaning into what made me happy (or at least, what I thought made me happy in the moment — still figuring that out). I hate the taste of alcohol, so I stopped drinking at happy hours. Things like that. I had to go through a ton of internal challenges in order to accept that it’s okay to embrace being a little different from the person next to me.
My last blog, Lauren Lives Healthy, was the in-between. It was the result of all the peer pressure I felt in the health world — to lose weight, to eat healthy, to diet, to follow trends. I backed myself into such an intense wall that I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I couldn’t share anymore because my writing wasn’t good enough, my photos weren’t good enough, and I wasn’t good enough. It got to the point where I wanted to rebrand but I was so scared to use my real name and put a label on who I am that I kind of shut down. I faked it for a year and then kind of gave up. I lost all motivation to share online and started embracing my life offline.
But now I’m ready to try again. This time, I’m starting from scratch — literally. I’m on a new platform and am using a new host. From the get-go, I’m labeling myself as me: Lauren Shaber. What I’m not doing is labeling what I’m sharing. This won’t be a health blog or a food blog or a travel blog. It won’t have a timeline, so there may be weeks where I post every day or months where I never post at all. There won’t be any sponsored content (though there may be some affiliate links embedded to help offset the cost of hosting and site maintenance, but I’ll only link to things I truly love — promise).
In terms of a theme, as I said there isn’t one. But I do want to embrace the lifestyle I’ve been accidentally living the past few years: slow living. Have you heard of it? You might be familiar with the slow food movement, especially if you’ve visited Portland, as our restaurants definitely embrace it. It’s basically a way of life that encourages you to slow down in your everyday actions. It’s a way to escape from chaos of our go-go-go mindset and focus on the present moment. In terms of food, I actually just found out that it’s an acronym:
S = seasonal or sustainable
L = local
O = organic
W = whole (aka unprocessed)
I want to embrace this in the rest of my life outside of food, too. So, without putting a full-blown label on it, the theme of this new blog is slow living. This phase of mine could last three days or three weeks or three years. Who knows. But I’m here to document it all: slow mornings, slow evenings, slow money, and everything in between.
Here we go. Blogging take 2.