3 modern ways to be old fashioned
June 25, 2024

3 modern ways to be old fashioned

On reclaiming delight, slowness and calm.

A customer recently emailed with a sweet compliment: that our products like cloth napkins keep old fashioned customs relevant for modern lifestyles. We always love hearing from customers, and I particularly love that idea. So, I've been thinking about a few more ways I aim to be old fashioned in a modern way...

  1. Sending snail mail: receiving a nice piece of good news (i.e., not a bill or another roofing flyer!) in the mail feels incredibly welcome, right? It feels like my whole adult life, I’ve been resolving to send more mail to people I love, with mixed results. The following tip might seem painfully obvious for an older reader like my parents, who always had a well-stocked drawer of envelopes, cards and stamps… But for the rest of us, we have the intention, but the bottleneck is just getting the stuff organized: get some stamps in a design you really love, a nice pen, and a stash of all-purpose (but in a style you like!) note cards and interesting birthday cards. Aim for at least sending birthday greetings to your most important people by putting their birthdays on your phone calendar with a reminder to send the card. Maybe batch them by month, and get them written and ready to send? Whatever gets it done. Then move on to the magic of the “just because” piece of mail, a rare and exotic thing these days! I’m literally still working on all this, but surprising and delighting people I love seems worth it.

  2. Caring for the things we live with. Resisting the urge to go faster, consume more, throw away and re-buy. This might look like practicing weekly meal planning to save time and money (and the dreaded 6pm indecision), learning to mend small holes in your clothing or refreshing your interior by paring down or “shopping” your own possessions and rearranging. This also might also look like owning and caring for a stash of cloth napkins, carving out the tiny bit of time to put them in the wash and keep them folded in a nice basket. Setting a good looking table with intention cultivates a small daily joy, which can help us slow down and be present. Practicing “old fashioned” habits doesn’t mean any particular style, just go with what you love and feels grounding.

  3. Reclaiming a calm, focused mind. Like most of us, I have a good half dozen major things fighting for my “do now” attention. My brain tends toward over-working and stressing about what I should be doing next or instead. There’s running all the aspects of this product-based business, starting a new service-based business aimed at helping other small biz (coming sometime this year!), parenting 3 kids, trying to maintain (and occasionally improve) our fixer home and growing garden (together with my husband), exercising, meal planning and cooking (again, together with my husband), etc etc. It all feels very more, more, more in an internet age you're-over-doing-it kind of way. Even though I've scaled back in certain areas this year, most of the things above are non-negotiable... so lately, I’ve found some “old fashioned” mind peace in some modern productivity techniques, including time-blocking (aka theme days), simple goal trackers (just a spreadsheet!) and pomodoro work sessions. I’m making steady progress in all my areas, a little at a time, and feel way less overwhelmed. Getting things done while cultivating a calm, focused mind feels like a rebellion against the modern-day firehose of stimulation, shiny objects, “should dos” and comparisonitis.

    PS: Want to hear my current simple summer self-kindness trick? It all comes down to tote bags. We have a few pool days each week, ice skating lessons, trips to the post office (dropping off your lovely orders) and library runs—everything gets its own tote bag (with necessary items inside), hung on a hook near the door. Less searching = more mind peace.

Do you have any favorite ways to maintain old fashioned customs in your modern life? I'd love to hear 

[2nd photo: Tina Dawson; 3rd photo: Covene]