August 10, 2013

Unintended Benefits: Blogging and Blogilates

It is unfortunate that when we think of unintended consequences, they are generally bad. You wanted to hold the door open for the woman behind you and end up either being yelled at for assuming she's helpless or holding up traffic. You send an e-card to your grandchild and it opens a virus when they download it. And so forth.

But I've recently had two chances to reap positive unintended benefits from two regular- if not daily- activities.

First, as you might all guess, I blog more or less regularly.  In the past season, it's been a rare week when I don't set down two or three of my thoughts into the blog format. Normally, if someone asks my why I blog, I'll answer something along the  lines of "to develop my personal philosophy and sense of aesthetics." But so much writing has had another benefit.

On the last day of my manditory intro to Psych class, we had a paper do. I, in one of the flaws that I am in constant struggle with, procrastinated up until the last weekend. But, when I sat down to actually hammer something out, the words flowed much, much easier than they ever had before. I could express myself much more clearly. My sentences flowed more easily. I didn't become distracted by the siren call of the internet nearly as much. And I think this is all a result of blogging so often.

The practice of sitting down regularly and trying to make my jumbled thoughts somewhat orderly and understandable has translated into a greater skill when writing ten page papers as well as a blog post. I certainly never sat down to blog with the intention of improving my writing (if I did, nothing would be posted for fear of judgement) but the sheer volume that I have done has reaped tangible if not expected rewards.

The other unitended benefit is from my Blogilates work outs (which were going fine until finals week). I live on the top of a hill which makes biking to school each day a breeze, but when I find myself starting the long trek back home and reach the first incline, I'm as likely to hop off my bike and walk it up as I am to bike it. If I did bike it, I would end up a sweating, huffy mess by the top of the hill (yes, you can still be a Neo-Aristocrat when you're a sweating, huffy mess).

However, this past week I've been able to bike up the hill every day. Oh, it is still  more fun to go down hill. And yes, I do have to tell myself "exercising my will, I'm exercising my will," as I pedal up. But I finish it. And I end up being less of a sweaty, huffy mess than usual- even after not stopping at any of the lights. This is a nice benefit of the Blogilates (and after only two weeks too!)

What unitended benefits have you had from regular practice?

Scheduling note: I'll be traveling for the rest of the month and won't be able to post or answer comments. I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your month.

August 2, 2013

A Daily Dose of Your Aesthetic

Edwardian Street Fashion depicts a woman reading as she walks down the street.
Edwardian Street Fashion

Today, I made an effort and dressed up. I had a simple errand to run: a quick trip to the mall to upgrade my old, faltering phone to something new and less likely to give out of battery in an hour or send random texts to random contacts while in my bag.  My first instinct was to just throw on a basic skirt and matching top- after all, it was only the mall. As long as I looked decent, right?

The siren call of "The Efficient" or "The Good Enough" is a powerful one. Many times, it is wise to heed her call- when we are stressed, busy, or tired there is no use adding guilt to exhaustion by wracking our brains to think of a way to do this- in that vague word- better.  After all, an act of beauty should only ever be an indulgence- not a duty.

However, there are often times when you do have the energy, mental clarity, and time to imbue your life activities with an extra bit of effort and consideration. Everything from slowing down to sit and eat your breakfast at the table, writing a message with a nicer pen, to dressing up to go to the mall. It is important to take these little efforts, even if they seem pointless in the mean time. There is a lot of inertia, especially when you've already put on one outfit, think you're going to be late, or need to jot down the note in a hurry. 

Except that any lifestyle is the sum of your daily choices. If you want to live as a Neo-Aristocrat- or in any lifestyle besides the mainstream cult of Efficiency and Busyness- you'll have to imbue each of these small daily choices with aspects of that aesthetic. 

It's work. It's not always the natural thing to do. It sometimes requires forethought and planning or an abrupt change mid-activity. But it is, I think, one of the essential aspects to deliberately cultivating your personal aesthetic.

What do you do to add a touch of your aesthetic to your daily life?

August 1, 2013

What an Aristocrat Should Know: Part III

What is she waiting for?

1. An Aristocrat should have a reading list and be updating it constantly.

2. An Aristocrat should acknowledge these two scientific theories:

2.1. Climate Change is currently ongoing.

2.2. Evolution does govern existence.

3. An Aristocrat should be able to distinguish between black, green, white and herbal teas, even if she doesn't partake of them herself.

4. An Aristocrat should know how to hard boil, scramble and fry eggs.

5. An Aristocrat should know when to rest and do nothing if it gives her a chance to recuperate.