Things we should all do more

#MondayWithAimée

Happy Monday sweethearts!

I don’t believe I am much of a role model or someone who can teach you how to behave, but I can let you in on my latest thoughts and hope they spark up something in you. Lately, there are a few things I found more and more important, especially with everything that is going on with this world we live in, and I thought we could all share the knowledge. Although I am convinced you have seen these a lot and you know about it already, maybe this time will be the final hit you needed to start acting upon your latest discoveries. So here are a few things I think we should all do more.

Shop local // support smaller and closer.

There are many ways to support smaller businesses. If you love arts and crafts, you can go on Etsy and find dozens of little shops with stickers, art, jewellery, and so many types of hand-made things you can purchase to support smaller businesses and artists. For example, I love buying stickers to brighten up my journal sessions, and I like buying sheets of stickers from smaller shops I found on Instagram. The latest I found was Nicole Josephine  (https://www.nicolejosephine.com/)and Carolliart (https://www.etsy.com/ca-fr/shop/carolliart?ref=ks_wide)  on Etsy. I found them through someone I followed on Instagram and their art and stickers bring me such soft joy, I had to buy a few for me and my friend (which is fellow writer, Seb!).  (These two are based in Canada, which is a plus for me supporting local!)

This is still online, but since the shops are slowly reopening, there are many ways to help struggling businesses and choose to not contribute to big Amazon and help smaller. For example, buy your books in local, independent bookshops, instead of ordering online. Even with the pandemic, there is such a comforting thing in going to a smaller shop that you love. Some have adapted to the online shopping activity, but going to the stores is great. Great for your brain that needs a little bit of fresh air and new faces, and great for these businesses as well. There are a lot of local smaller businesses that are maybe a bit pricier, but usually, much more quality and that support your local economy and your people.

Same goes for restaurants. I don’t know how slowly the opening works where you are, but they’re so many smaller cafés and restaurants that are fighting hard to keep afloat. Find them and encourage them. It’ll be amazing to have delicious food, and you’ll have used your money for better use than giving it to McDonald’s.

Thrift! I don’t know how open it is right now, but second-hand is a goldmine. I love that in the last few years, it started being less frowned upon and started to be trendy, and people are doing it more and more. Sure you have to look a bit harder maybe, but there are so many clothes or pieces of furniture you can find for half the price and even better quality sometimes. If thrift stores aren’t the best for you, there is always online communities on Facebook or even Marketplace. Honestly, you can furnish a whole apartment with pretty second-hand.

There is so much you can do to support your local community. You can buy local food at the grocery shop, because you know there were taken care off in your country or even your area, and because they had to travel far less to come to your plate. Follow the seasons for vegetables and fruits when you can, so you have strawberries in the summer and corn in late August and they come from where you live or close by. Not only do you help your local economy, but you help your people live and thrive.

Educate yourself

It’s the key to a great personality, citizen, human, friend, lover, sibling, son or daughter. I’m not talking about school necessarily, I’m talking about digging deeper with reliable sources. Whatever interests you, dig deeper and educate yourself on the matter. Whether it’s gardening, baking, politics, the role of woman in literature, cinema, animals or astronomy, name it, just educate yourself. Not only will you have tons of information to teach others (always teach generously, not condescendingly, please), you will understand the world better.

Educate yourself too on subjects that are important to all, because you might learn that you don’t know much. It is an immense privilege to have the choice to seek information and you must be grateful for it, but use it. This is one privilege you shouldn’t deny. You will be much freer in your thoughts and opinions, because you will have more information to form your opinion, and you will be open to more information and to people teaching you. We have to learn to change opinions when given new facts and say “sorry, I didn’t know, but now I do.”, that’s what teaching is for, learning and evolving. It’s normal that you learn new things every day, and it’s normal that your opinions change and evolve through time. That’s a sign that you are growing.

You can watch documentaries, read articles, books, listen to podcasts, there is so much information in our world nowadays, and you can find anything to support any opinion so my tip for you is this: start with no opinion, only curiosity. Don’t search for facts to support your opinion, but start with facts from each side and then form an opinion. Remember that nothing is completely black or white, everything has a little bit of both.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put these words into Sherlock Holmes’ mouth, and it is still a great truth, more than 100 years later: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

So go get your data, sweethearts.

And if you are in need of a little escape, dive in fiction. Fiction has this way of teaching you lessons without you realizing it. It makes you empathize, opens your horizons, and makes you learn languages and vocabulary and so much more in such a gentle, fun way. So don’t hesitate to dive into a good book or a series, but remember to do it consciously. I wrote a bunch of articles on how fiction affects you and can change you in a sneaky, discrete way. You can go back and read these too!

And if ever you don’t know what book to pick up, please come and ask me or the team at B0ld, I promise we will find you the perfect book.

Personally, my next (possible) reads are:

o   Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng (I just finished it, but it is such a sensible and empathetic read, and with everything going on lately, it is such a good meaningful read, I really recommend it! There’s even a TV show, if that’s more your jam.)

o   Everything is Fucked : a Book about Hope – Mark Manson

o   Opposite of Always – Justin A. Reynolds

Shut off and stay in complete silence

When was the last time you shut down your phone for even an hour and stayed in complete silence? I am guilty of always having a Youtube video running in the background, even if I half watch it. When I was younger and home alone, I would put on the tv while being on the computer just to have some kind of company, and I still have that tendency. Except that now, it makes a noise that takes space in my brain. Even if I don’t listen to the video or the show, it creates a voice in my head that overpowers the voice in my head that could create, come up with ideas or just…simply think. It prevents my own brain from working. You don’t need constant white noise, and if you do, there is a deeper problem. Can you be with yourself for an hour while you make cookies? If you can’t stay with your thoughts, what does that say about you? So just take a few minutes, start with as little as five minutes in silence or the duration of your breakfast and do it in silence. You might be surprised by what is happening in your brain. Learn to be yourself without any outer distraction.

5 or 25 minute- dance parties

Put on some good songs and have a little dance party when you need to shake things off. Doesn’t matter if you’re in your kitchen, in your bedroom, at work, just dance it out for a song or three and I promise you’ll feel lighter and brighter. Give it your all and dance like nobody is watching, who cares if you’re bad. What matters is that first, your body is moving and second, it freshens up your brain and boots your mood. Here’s a quick, of the top of my head, list of songs that immediately makes me move my hips no matter what:

o   Night Fever- The Bee Gees

o   Je lui dirai – Céline Dion

o   Footloose

o   Party In The U.S.A. – Miley Cyrus

o   Finesse – Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B

Honestly, I know some of these songs are a little bit lame, but they bring me back to good memories or they just start a little fire in me and boom, I want to dance, and even if I’m not a talented dancer, boy do I love the free, unplanned dance parties.

Be bad at new things

As I said, I am not a good dancer, but it doesn’t mean I should never dance. For me, it’s really hard to start something and accept that I won’t be good at it. Maybe, and you’ll say that I’m very privileged and lucky, I grew up being good at pretty much everything I did. You’d be right, I was good in things I did, but I also chose very carefully what I did for them to be things I knew I was already good at. Do you follow me? I was only doing the things I already knew I would succeed in. I still don’t like trying something and not succeeding immediately, but I am learning that it takes time and practice makes perfect. You can be born with a natural talent, but it’s actually working with that talent that makes you improve. We should all learn to be bad at things and not give up. Does it matter if you draw like a three-year-old? Does it matter if you mess up the cookies? Does it matter if you write a mediocre story? No, because if it gave you joy and made you learn something, it’s yours to keep and to enjoy. Nobody is going to see that painting or that drawing, so do it if you want to do it, and before you even know it, your next time will already be better. And if not, who cares! You could spend your life drawing badly but it would make you very very happy so…the goal is achieved, don’t you think? You don’t need to make a career out of everything, some things are meant to be just for you to smile.

I hope the hot summer weather is making you enjoy pools and lemonades and that you find the time to grow and get better. We always have articles for you and we are here with you every step of the way. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook to make sure you don’t miss one and I’ll see you two summer weeks, my sweethearts.

Strawberry jam and lemonade kisses,

Aimée.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

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