I notice a change in my habits. I used to read; now I listen. Various factors have influenced this, but in the main, it is to do with movement. I don’t have the ability to sit still, and even less do I have the inclination to do only one task at a time. There’s a karmic, yogic, meditative voice inside me repelled at this admission, as surely the whole point of self-care and of my ‘not working’ is to spend time being still. I ventured too far down the road of doing too much when I worked in a corporate job, and I misplaced my equilibrium, both mental and physical. I am restored now, although it took years.
When I first stopped working, the silence in the house was a deafening friend, so I started listening to the radio. Mainly Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 which kept me from being lonely and reminded me of what it was like to spend time around clever women. That was the one thing I missed the most about working; the cleverness of my peers. Seems intellect is something I value more highly than I knew, and even though the dog was a fine companion – the best – I found the quietness unnerving. I started listening to books on Audible. At the start of my Masters degree, I recall my tutor telling me I should be reading a couple of books a week. At least. What started as a luxurious permission to sit still and read for the good of my ongoing education, became something else entirely when I realised the time it sucked. Audio books enabled me to multi-task; run and listen, iron and listen, drive and listen, walk and listen. The experience of listening to literature is an entirely different one to absorbing words that are read. There’s a theatricality to it, accents and intonations, and I sometimes miss a really good line and have to scroll back to capture it, whereas before I would have folded the page, made a note in the margin.
I then moved on to podcasts, a handful of them but none with much longevity. Then a few weeks back, I saw a recommendation on Instagram for a podcast called Dear1995 so I started listening. It is genius! Throw-back, big time, it made me go to the attic, and get out my diaries from that time to see what the hell I thought of life when I was all of 20 years old. I recommended it to everyone. I recommended it to my friend Robin, who is an interior designer and who incidentally is my American style counsel and facilitator to the times when I buy clothes from American companies and I don’t want to pay postage. She’s like a feeder to my fashion habit; shameful but necessary. And a pretty awesome person all around. Robin is a 90’s child, so I knew she’d love it. She and I were both running events (opposite sides of the Atlantic) in the past week where we have had to stand up in front of a group and talk about what we do. Terrifying. The only salve to that is online shopping.
Then I saw on the newly revamped Selfish Mother instagram feed – for whom I occasionally write articles – that there was a podcast called ‘Bookish By Sonia Walger‘ where Dawn O’Porter was being interviewed about writing, and her top five book choices. Listened. Loved. Was hooked. For what its worth, my favourite book of all time is still John Updike’s ‘Couples’ which is a work of such genius, it makes my heart ache. I digress; then I downloaded Dawn O’Porter’s podcast called ‘Get It On‘ where she (with irreverence, intelligence and sassiness) discusses style, and why people wear the clothes they do. This concept has always, always fascinated me. And best of all, I now have a supply of about thirty episodes to get through which makes every other mundane journey in the car just that little bit better.
This is how micro-influencing works and I love it. I really do. I follow an eclectic, hand-picked network of people and brands and they lead me to such riches and now I have, through the wonder of technology, clever peers with me in my working day again. It is just the best thing. Positive, happy, bold women who talk about stuff that interests them and interest me. So I start most conversations now with ‘I’ve been listening to…’
Can’t be bad…can only be good.