• Lara Flanagan

Day 1 - 360 days

Updated: Jan 5

Day 1 - Monday 4th January 2020


Non-essential purchases: none

Weight: 70.8 kilos

Calories: under 1200 calories

Alcohol: none (day 1 of 1)

Exercise: 60-minute walking, 48-minute yoga, 37-minute yoga

Today I finished my minimalism project in the cottage. This has been ongoing for a few years, but I just wanted to start my project 360-days with a completely clean slate.

As I have mentioned before Archie and Rissie’s rooms are out of bounds to me. Their life choices are their own as otherwise, they do not mean anything. The rest of the cottage, however, is my domain. Walking through the cottage today made me feel a few kilos lighter and I am increasingly loving the lack of clutter and the increased space.

Al’s room is monkish anyway with the bed, fan, cupboard, and chair so there was nothing to do in there. My old closed in verandah acts as my studio and simply houses my wood prints. In my bedroom, I cleared out some old drawers, tidied my dressing table, and filled a donation bag with some clothes that Rissie had outgrown as well as a few items of clothing that I have not worn in over a year.

I cleared out some books from the lounge room that I have not looked at in years and will gift them to a friend who has a number of fellow readers that she can then on-gift them to. I packed away a few photographs and got rid of some candles that I have not lit in months.

In the kitchen, the kettle was put away underneath the counter, all shelves were cleaned, and I sorted through the utensil drawers. In my office, I got rid of old paperwork and study items and cleared out my office drawers. It does not sound like much, but it took a few days and it has made a big difference to my little cottage.

It feels like an incredibly good place to start.

Bloody phones

A 360-days musing.....

It is crazy to think that it has only taken a decade or so but human beings have adopted a new posture. It is the head bowed over, neck strained, shoulders hunched, eyes down posture. I often wonder if, in a decade or two, there will be countless generations of people with hunched backs, tech neck, and forward head syndrome.

I think it every time I drop the kids off at the bus stop when almost every kid without fail is standing with their shoulders hunched and heads down. I don’t think we can expect the kids to act any different because they are only learning by example. Almost every parent waiting in the cars at school pick up is heads down. You see it on the main street, on the subways in Italy, in any airport, at dinner tables, in bedrooms, in hotel lobbies, at bus stops, outside Coles, in chemists, and at wine bars.

The kids do not have social media on their phones as they are not allowed. When they want social media, they can pay for their own phones and internet. But they do have skype, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Gmail, and discord whatever the hell that is. They are also allowed to download Netflix shows or movies for their daily bus trip to school. However, I have made them sit down and watch The Social Dilemma so they could understand why I have such strong feelings about social media and devices.

Social media is a hard one for me as I use it for work which includes my blog. Initially, I fell down the wormhole that is Facebook but several years ago I unfollowed anyone personally and I only follow pages that are relevant for work purposes. I use my personal FB page rarely, usually when I travel when I will post a daily photo album so my mum can keep up with anything that we are doing. Instagram is a different story and especially in the last couple of years, I seem to have spent an extraordinary amount of time there trying to do everything right for my blog. That bloody algorithm.

However, I think this year has reminded me of what is important. Personally, I have seen so many people behaving badly this year in ways that are too numerous to mention. When the end of the year wrap-ups started, I realised that I did not care. Social media has nothing to do with personal, genuine connections, and if you think they do you are kidding yourself. If you want a personal connection, you need to find it outside of social media.

Social media is good of course for finding inspiration, finding a network, sharing your work, providing inspiration and joy, especially if you are authentic, and for keeping up with trends and all sorts of other things. It has multiple uses, it just shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all it is for so many people. It should also never be a barometer for your own personal sense of self-worth.

When it comes to the kids, I know that I need to teach by example. I have never been a fan of teaching by telling as it generally falls on deaf ears or ends up sounding like yelling. It is like my plant-based choices. Sometimes when I see vegans on social media, I just shake my head and think that is why people eat meat. However, make people yummy food repeatedly and share your joy of beautiful food and you will have people thinking differently without ever once feeling like they were being preached to.

If the kids are with me and we are going out to dinner, I now no longer take my phone. I have given up on Instagram stories, IGTV, Facebook Stories, and Instagram and Facebook Live. I refuse to teach the kids that documenting your every move on social media is normal. I really don’t care if the algorithm demands it. I am also not going to jump on the bandwagon of sharing my misery and every element of my life because if something sacred is shared with everyone, it is no longer sacred.

What I want to show the kids is that apart from my paying clients, I use social media to share my joy. I shared things that make me happy, that make me smile, and that I am damned proud of. I would like to think that if the kids picked up their smart devices in a decade and looked back through my social media feed they would smile, be proud, and be reminded of what a wonderful world it is in which we live.

When it comes to phones, less is more and I want to show the kids that my phone belongs on my desk when I am working, that it belongs in my bag when we are out during the day and it belongs at home if we are out to dinner. I want to show them that phones are for making phone calls, texting, and sometimes looking for an address. Phones are not an extension of our bodies. Archie and Rissie will only understand that less is more if I show them that you don’t need a phone to live.


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