My husband frequently jokes that I have, “old lady hobbies.” I used to roll my eyes at this comment, but in recent years, I’ve come to realize that not only does it not bother me, but I actually take pride in this.
I don’t really love the term “old lady,” but I’ll happily embrace the term “old-fashioned.” It has a more positive connotation in my mind; it’s reminiscent of, “the good old days,” when things were wholesome and made by hand.
People thinking that I’m old-fashioned actually feels quite a bit like a compliment. At this point in my life, I feel like things are complete. We have a house with a pool and gardens I get to play in, we have a wonderful little boy and two dogs that are sweet (albeit mischievous). I’m happy with what we have, and yet, I have a nagging feeling that things are too easy. Technology is everywhere, and while it makes our lives easier in many positive ways, it also makes it easy to be lazy and disconnected from people in real life. To combat this, I do “old-fashioned” things.
Here are the top 3 reasons why you might think I’m old-fashioned:
#3 – I sew.
If you were to ask me why I love to sew, my answer would be simple: I love the feeling of making something from start to finish. I love picking out fabrics, coming up with designs, cutting things out, piecing everything together, and finishing the item. I love making things big and small, from full quilts to tiny fabric bowls. I love hand-sewing and sewing on my machine.
Sewing is a fun way to pass the time, but more importantly, it’s a way for me to get back to my roots. Making something by hand helps me connect with ancestors I knew and those I never got to meet. Years ago, my dad told me that my great-grandfather (who I never met) loved to repurpose old things into new, and I feel that my upcycling projects would make him proud.
#2 – I write thank you notes.
For as long as I can remember, every bridal shower and baby shower I’ve been to has had a permanent fixture: someone with a pad of paper and a pen, keeping track of gifts received. At my own baby shower, my friends kept things so organized and I was able to send out thank you notes the very next week.
This is a tradition that I will continue to follow, and I will make sure to pass this on to my son, as well. In a world where we rely on technology more each day, I feel there is an ever-growing need to get back to the basics: pen and paper. It is so easy these days to send a quick text or a one-line email, but it’s even easier in our busy lives for little acknowledgments to go unsaid. As someone who sends and gives gifts frequently, I know all too well the feeling that comes with not being thanked, and I certainly don’t want myself (or my son) to create such ill will.
#1 – I love mail.
Now, this isn’t just because my husband is a mailman. I’ve loved mail for much longer than he has worked for the post office, and I love mail of all kinds: cards from friends near and far, magazines that inspire, checks from stores where we consign our products, and sometimes, even junk mail. I don’t love getting bills, of course, but I have to admit, I’m kind of an accounting nerd and I love seeing how our electric bill compares to last month’s, and what I’ve saved by unplugging various appliances.
Once in a while, I get boxes of samples, and I frequently get coupons in the mail. Sometimes, I write to companies to tell them how much we love their products, and more often than not, I’m rewarded with a handful of money-saving coupons. Again, I’m a sucker for spreadsheets and accounting, so coupons are fun.
My absolute favorite thing to find in the mailbox is an envelope that’s addressed by hand. For many years, I exchanged letters with my dad’s mentor, Jim, who was an architect by trade and a writer by choice. Every few months, we sent hand-written letters back and forth, and he always had the best advice. Over time, the letters were fewer and more far between, and eventually, they stopped when he passed away. Today, Jim’s letters have been replaced with happy mail from my quilting friends from Instagram, who brighten my day with bits of fabric from around the world.