Welcome to my new blog, “Full Life Reflections”! In this initial post, I will share what this blog is about and what you can expect to read here in the coming weeks and months. Also, if you were previously a reader of my last blog, “Recovering Shopaholic,” I will let you know why I decided to start a new blog and how this one will be different from what you were used to from me. Regardless of whether we have crossed paths before, I hope you will find “Full Life Reflections” interesting, thought-provoking, and helpful.
How Did “Full Life Reflections” Come About?
From 2013 through 2017, I wrote the blog “Recovering Shopaholic,” which focused on my journey to trade my full closet for a full life. I had struggled with compulsive shopping for over three decades and wanted to find a way to create balance in both my wardrobe and my shopping. The blog served as a means for me to explore the reasons for my maladaptive shopping behavior and ongoing wardrobe management issues, while correspondingly connecting with others with similar challenges. It also fostered accountability as I worked to clean out my closet, adhere to a clothing budget, and discover a personal style that resonated for me at my current stage of life.
Over the four years that I wrote “Recovering Shopaholic,” I made a lot of progress in terms of my wardrobe, shopping, and style, yet I continued to struggle with the “full life” side of the equation. I found that dedicating so much time and attention toward my wardrobe had become counterproductive and had begun to stall my recovery process. Accordingly, I decided to pause the blog in February 2017 and take some time to evaluate whether or not I wanted to continue blogging, as well as the shape any further writing I would do might take. I spent quite a few months mired in confusion in this regard but finally gained clarity that my next step would be this new blog, “Full Life Reflections.”
What “Full Life Reflections” Will Be About
I originally thought I might just shift the focus of “Recovering Shopaholic” to be more about life than clothes, but it feels better for me to create something new. “Recovering Shopaholic” will remain in place as a resource for both previous and new readers for the foreseeable future, although I have opted to move some posts from that site and earlier blogs here, as their subject matter is relevant to this blog’s mission.
The best way to describe “Full Life Reflections” is that it’s a blog about life, specifically about living a fulfilling life: what that means, and the internal and external factors that often stand in the way of our experiencing the happiness and peace we want to feel. It will be about my experiences, questions, and insights, but I don’t want it to only be about my individual journey.
Ultimately, I would like my posts to be the start of a dialogue among readers and for this site to be a safe place where we can all reflect upon what matters most to us and how to achieve it. While I have a lot of ideas for what I will write about here, I expect “Full Life Reflections” to evolve as a result of the comments and feedback I receive from readers. Here’s what I see the key subjects being at this point in time:
- Intentional living
- Life balance
- Personal fulfillment
- Relationships and communication
- Habits and productivity
- Health and self-care
- Success and purpose
- Challenges of aging
- Hobbies and interests
- …and much more!
I will also periodically embark upon personal experiments in the realms of life, health, and wardrobe (I’m open to suggestions for those experiments!) and write about my experiences. I’m not sure how often I will post, but I’m thinking it will be once a week on average. I’m not going to set any hard and fast rules or targets just yet – or maybe ever, but I’m sure I will settle into a sort of rhythm over time that will work best for all of us.
How Will This Blog Differ From “Recovering Shopaholic”?
Those of you who were readers of my previous blog, “Recovering Shopaholic,” will likely find that this blog picks up where the last one left off. The tagline for that site was “Trade Your Full Closet for a Full Life.” Over the four years of writing posts there, I focused primarily on the first part of the equation, the full closet. The majority of my posts were on the topics of wardrobe management, conscious and responsible shopping, and personal style. While I will sometimes still write about those subjects on “Full Life Reflections,” they won’t be the primary focus here. Whereas wardrobe and shopping posts represented probably 80% of the “Recovering Shopaholic” content and only 20% or so concentrated on cultivating a full life, this blog will most likely be the obverse of that.
Some other differences I foresee involve the structure of posts and my interaction with readers. I see the posts on this new blog being shorter and less focused on numbers and statistics. While some essays will still be lengthier, others may just be a few paragraphs introducing a topic and inviting communication among readers. Also, I won’t necessarily respond to every single comment like I did on my last blog, especially if I get a lot of comments on a particular post. That got to be exhausting sometimes and it also took away from my development of new content.
Furthermore, it wasn’t always necessary. Sometimes it’s more helpful for readers to dialogue with each other rather than interacting solely with me. Also, I often felt like I was repeating myself in my replies to similar comments, which probably wasn’t that useful for anyone concerned. I will still reply to some comments directly – and maybe all of them if there aren’t a lot of comments on a post – or I may address multiple comments in a single reply. In some instances, I might choose to dedicate an entire follow-on post to responding to reader feedback, especially in cases when a lot of questions have been asked or multiple suggestions have been made. I will figure this all out as I go along, but I feel that I need to approach comments differently than I did previously.
Why Not Simply Re-brand?
Part of my reason for starting a new blog rather than simply re-branding is to basically “reset” the way I blog. I burned out on blogging the way I did it before – the lengthy posts that took many hours to write, overthinking what I was going to say, and responding in great detail to every single comment. It wasn’t fun for me anymore and I found myself tempering my writing based upon what I thought readers might say in response. I censored myself too much and that dampened my voice and my impact. I don’t want to do that anymore, but I still want to blog, so I’m starting anew with a fresh new focus and an altered approach.
While this blog will still focus a lot on my experiences, it won’t be as centered on my personal information as “Recovering Shopaholic” was. Of course, I will share what I’m thinking and doing, and sometimes specifics will be highlighted, but I really do want it to be more of an exploration of life and common life issues than akin to an online journal. I hope I will be able to strike an appropriate balance with my writing on this blog, as that is a big part of my goal.
First World Problems
Much of what I wrote about on “Recovering Shopaholic” and what I will cover here are considered “first world problems.” I realize that I live what could be called a privileged life because all of my basic needs – and then some – are covered. The same can probably be said for most, if not all, of those who will read this blog. Yes, we are lucky to have the luxury of asking ourselves whether or not we are living a fulfilling life, especially as many others around the world are struggling simply to survive each day.
While I care deeply about the plight of those who are less fortunate and try to remain present and grateful for my own good fortune, there is also space online to write about less weighty issues that are still significant to those of us who feel challenged by them. Our problems are very real to us and thus deserve exploration and resolution, and I will do my best to do justice to the topics I will address here. I will also do my part to help a small cluster of causes that matter to me, as I know many of you do as well. I hope to make a difference in the world through the things I do in my life, including my writing. If my reflections can help to shift even one person’s life, it is well worth my while to share them!
My next post will go live within the next week and will be dedicated to debriefing 2017. Shortly thereafter, I will review my 2017 theme, “peace,” and how it impacted my life last year. I will also introduce my 2018 theme and why I chose it, and invite readers to share their themes/goals for this year. Beyond that, I have lots of ideas for future topics, but haven’t determined a specific editorial calendar. I welcome your suggestions for topics you’d like me to explore here.
I hope 2018 is off to a great start for you, and I thank you for joining me here on “Full Life Reflections.” Best wishes to you in the coming year and I look forward to connecting with many of you soon.