It started back in the eighties. I found myself wishing for a simpler time, with a slower pace. I loved wood moldings and retro/reproduction furniture from Pottery Barn, and old crystal doorknobs that looked like they were from the twenties, from Restoration Hardware. I started listening to standards and lounge music. I discovered the joys of fragrant French soap. My roommate at the time taught me about how 300-count thread sheets, egyptian cotton towels, and how these things combined with fresh-smelling fabric softener, could all bring a little more joy to your daily life. I found myself drinking lemonade and gardening more. I learned to enjoy hearty weekend breakfasts, followed by hikes (and a nap) in the afternoons.
Of course, this was all in between my mad, hectic, compressed, insane race to an advertising career and cosmopolitan youthful lifestyle. But I thought perhaps there was a cultural shift going on: something bubbling beneath the cut-cut-cut of the instant music video world we lived in, and something beyond the L.A. traffic jams and instant Danish boxy furniture we’d all become accustomed to. I saw a ripple in the ether.
A cultural shift was indeed happening, and it was evident that it wasn’t just me with these yearnings. I felt like there was a move towards simplicity, slowing down, and sentimentality. Then in the nineties, it moved forward rapidly.
Spirituality, yoga and meditation became popular. The Green movement began to pick up steam. Publications like “Real Simple” and icons like Martha Stewart permeated the popular culture. The idea of “day spas” popped up in urban areas, and New Age music became a best-selling category. It seemed like as a culture, we were all searching for products that provided solace and rejuvenation. And then in the late nineties I moved to the San Francisco Bay area. I found surprisingly that technology geeks were usually also nature-lovers, neo-hippy “Burning Man” tribal guides, trance-dance Transcendentalists and idealists. New community websites popped up on the Internet, and people started sharing ideas, dreams, products, and inspirations. Sites like 43 Things popped up, as did various sites from a new movement of “Life Hackers” that wanted to approach life more simply, methodically and efficiently.
So at this time when we’re on the precipice of another cultural shift, and with the era of a new president, I began thinking. Our country has just recently had the economic and cultural rug pulled out beneath us, with various financial crises occurring. Things could get better or worse. But our continuation as a debt-ridden bubble society (on the micro and macro level) could not last. So isn’t this merely the universe’s way of shifting our attention back to the basics, and getting rid of this unnecessary load we’ve been carrying— on this never-ending multi-tasking speculative treadmill called modern society? Maybe just some de-cluttering that’s long overdue? My wonderful parents have often commented that things are much more complicated for me, than it was for them when they were my age. And it’s certainly not the trappings of success (or lack thereof), or the striving for lofty life/career goals that has nourished me all these years. So, that’s when it occurred to me.
The things that still make us happy are those things that are simplest and pleasurable. If we can find little moments of inspiration and little corners of simple joys in our day-to-day life… and collect enough of them, won’t that help provide solace and rejuvenation, in these stressful times? So I hope to focus here on the little things that make me happy and provide comfort: and I’d love to share them with you. Things like the kindness of my family and friends; the smell of fresh laundry, fresh flowers and homemade cookies; the taste of hot chocolate and strawberry shortcake; the caress of a fluffy warm pillow; the joy of playing ball with my dog; and the beauty of the sun setting upon the cerulean ocean waves. That is the inspiration for Everyday Comforts, and this blog.
I hope you’ll enjoy my suggested remedies for our modern times. At the very least, I hope you enjoy the soul candy that my musings and meanderings might provide.