I'm going back to the 90s
See you later
remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return
Happy Halloween/Samhain/Day of the Dead!
This quote from Ash Wednesday’s church service seemed fitting for today. The words ran through my mind while I was gardening, probably because I looked very, um, made of dirt at the time.
The memento mori theme is perfect for a time when many of us all over the world honor our deceased loved ones. In Maine, it’s also a time when the trees shed their gorgeous, colorful leaves, and all living things — myself included — scurry around to prepare for the cold, dark months ahead.
Like flora and fauna surrounding me, I’ve been busy harvesting, storing, insulating, and shedding what no longer serves me.
One of the biggest things I decided to let go of is my freelance writing career.
Betcha didn’t see that one coming!?
Or did you??
It started when I finally cut ties with a client that had been stressing me out for more than a year. I had stayed because it was easy, comfortable, and familiar. It was also steadily draining my soul and depleting my passion for writing.
For me, writing feels like more of a calling than a choice. I’ve always been a writer and I don’t plan to stop. I started creating stories and recording insights and observations as soon as I could wield a pen.
Becoming a freelance writer was a massive goal I set for myself about seven years ago.
After years of trial and error, I developed a career that not only supported me financially but granted me the freedom to travel whenever I wanted, work from any location, and earn many times the hourly rate of any job I’ve ever had. All without leaving the couch.
Achieving this goal was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. More difficult than any ultramarathon I trained for, though the experience of one certainly prepared me for the unyielding determination the other required.
If you’re wondering why I’d walk away from all that, the answer is simple: I have a new dream.
As you may know, I started writing fiction this year. I have about 60 pages of my first novel, a young adult horror/supernatural fantasy, tucked into a manilla envelope in my writing room. When I started, my goal was to finish the first draft by the end of this year. I registered for NaNoWriMo, an organization that challenges authors to write 50,000 words during November, to help me meet that goal.
The thing is, when I spend 4-6 hours a day writing for other people, the last thing I want to do is stare at a screen inpursuit of a passion project.
When I ended my contract with the soul-sucking client, I didn’t think that would be the end of my freelance writing career. But the lightness, the freedom, and the sense of joy I got from walking away made me realize I was ready to take a bigger leap.
For now, I’m focusing my energy on writing my first novel and starting an online business. It’s scary and intimidating and terribly exciting! Part of me feels worried and certain that I’m not going to succeed. Thank goddess there’s another voice in my head that calmly and cooly whispers back, bitch, watch me.
So, out with the old. The website I’ve used to share my blog, writing portfolio, and resume will come down at the end of this month.
Hopefully, before too long, my new website, LunaPhoxx.com, will be up. You’ll be able to book email tarot readings with me there, and, eventually, there will be a blog. When I (self) publish my book, it’ll be under the pen name Luna Phoxx.
I’m not legally changing my name or expecting anyone to start calling me Luna. That defeats the purpose of a pen name! But, my hobbies and interests have changed over the years, and starting fresh with a new name is more appealing than explaining to my old audience why I’m not writing about running and freelancing anymore.
I already registered a new Instagram account under the Luna Phoxx name, which you may have already found because Facebook/IG laughs at the notion of privacy.
Speaking of Instagram, I think that might be another thing I’m ready to walk away from. I’ve been spending more and more time with the app deleted from my phone. It’s liberating. I have so much more mental space to conjure ideas and focus on my real-life relationships. It’s been about one year since I permanently deleted my Facebook account, and I haven’t missed it.
When Facebook and IG went down earlier this month, I didn’t even notice.
I’m not ready to break up with IG for good. I still enjoy logging on every so often to see photos of my friends on adventures with their tiny humans and fur babies. Not gonna lie; that shit still warms my heart!
The things I don’t like, though, are starting to outweigh the good stuff.
When you use any social media platform, you lose control of the information that goes into your head. There’s no way to be mindful or deliberate about consuming content when you scroll through any feed. If you’re a highly sensitive person (like me), this isn’t good for your mental health, including your attention and focus.
When the Instagram app is on my phone, I set a timer that shuts it down after 15 minutes. That works for now, but I can’t help but compare this behavior to the way I used to set limits around alcohol consumption during the months and years before I finally stopped drinking. I wonder how different this is, especially considering all the research about how smartphones affect dopamine activity in your brain.
Not that I need a team of scientists to confirm what my body has been telling me for years, now. Instagram has morphed from a place to post pretty pictures into a high school cafeteria full of bullying and insecurity.
So, I tend to handle it the same way I did in high school...
I take my lunch to the art studio for some damn peace and quiet.
As one of the oldest members of the Millennial generation, married to one of those in-between Xennials, I remember what life was like before smartphones. Before the Internet, even.
Recently, I’ve found myself pining for that precious time period more than ever. It started with a pair of vintage Pumas I bought for myself as a nostalgic treat when lockdown took effect. Then there was the Lisa Frank explosion followed by a new Caboodle and nonstop 90s playlists on Spotify.
I assumed this was all just my inner child longing for comfort. But then, I started to ponder what I might really be after.
It wasn’t until I was a few seasons into rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer that I realized that the absence of smartphones in the storyline made me feel warm and fuzzy. No one’s ever like, “OMG did you see what they just posted!”
No, and I don’t care, either.
Before you get all excited, I have no plans to toss my iPhone into the bay. I just miss the freedom of not being online, accessible, or trackable 24/7.
I do love listening to music, podcasts, and audiobooks when I’m doing work around the house, so the phone stays. For now.
However, I turn off all push notifications and keep it on “do not disturb” most of the time. Jason bought me an old school analog Swatch watch for my birthday so I don’t have to pick my phone up to check the time.
Instead of opening apps and scrolling indefinitely with no clue what I might see, I deliberately fill my mind with stories (fiction and non) about teenage witches, werewolves, and vampires, as well as books, blogs, and newsletters about topics like homesteading, self-publishing, and tarot reading. I consume just enough news to stay informed, and when I’m feeling lonely, I call, voice memo, or Marco Polo my friends and family.
So, I’m going to finish this very long post with a goodbye for a short while as I retreat into the 90s for at least the next month.
For now,I have pumpkins to carve, apples to sauce, and ancestors to commune with.
Catch you on the flip side.
Aerial photos of my property courtesy of Jim Sewell. Front porch and cemetery photos by me.