REFLECTIONS ON 2017

Somewhat belatedly, Happy New Year! If 2017 was an awesome year for you, I hope 2018 is equally fabulous. If not, well, I hope you’re looking forward to turning over a new leaf. I am, but not necessarily because 2017 was a bad year. Rather, because in some areas, my 2017 was a directionless and sporadic and I’m looking forward to renewing my motivation and purpose. Segue to my apologies for the radio silence around here over the last five months or so. The lack of regular posting in this space (and my plan to turn over a new leaf) are two of the topics I’m going to be addressing in today’s long post, along with sharing some broader reflections on 2017.

Here’s the high level summary of what’s in this post:

  • 2017 blog reflections
  • What else has been going on in my life in 2017?
  • 2017 travel reflections (and lots of travel photographs!)
  • 2017 style reflections
  • Some resources to help you reflect on 2017

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2017 BLOG REFLECTIONS

I’ve hinted at this throughout the past couple of years, both here in my post on the fourth anniversary of this blog and on Instagram: I have no idea what I’m doing on this blog anymore. I am directionless and unmotivated. There, I’ve said it. It feels a bit odd to openly recognise this, rather than hiding behind the excuse of ‘I’m a lawyer who travels a lot and is completing a Masters and I don’t have the time to blog consistently’. Though time constraints affect us all, if there is something I want to write, I find time to blog. Consistency comes easily when I feel that I have a purpose.

Truth is, I don’t know what my blogging purpose is anymore. When I first started blogging almost five years ago (!!!) I had never uncovered an ethical lifestyle blog. For real. So I created that blog. In this space, I attempted to write about topics I wish I could read about on other blogs. I rounded up ethical alternatives for mainstream products. I shared simple tips to demystify ethical fashion and prove it was just as fun as regular shopping. I muddied my way through ethical lifestyle lessons – from discovering the concept of Fairtrade, to replacing fast fashion with ethical fashion, to reducing my waste – and sharing those learnings with my readers. Though my attempts were amateur and personal, they were authentic and I genuinely felt that I was filling a niche.

Nowadays, ethical bloggers are everywhere. Once upon a time, I knew every single ethical blogger there was out there. In today’s blogosphere, there are hundreds, probably thousands, of ethical bloggers who I’ve never heard of and who have never heard about me. Sometimes it makes me a bit sad that I’ll never be able to connect with all of them and sometimes I even feel envious when I see the motivation and purpose that they have and that I’ve lost.

There are so many ethical bloggers, there are even genres of ethical bloggers, from the ethical fashionistas, to the minimalists, to the slow fashion advocates. But I don’t feel like I fit neatly into any one of these categories. I also feel like I no longer have a niche. If offering insight into living ethically is no longer unique, then what can I offer that can’t be done better by other ethical bloggers, many of whom have more time, more sponsorships and certainly more motivation? As I’ve become ever mindful of consumerism, I don’t want to constantly share shopping round-ups. Nor do I want that to leave me continually preaching the same reasons for why we should buy better and reduce our waste. I’ve had a really hard time finding my place. Relatedly, I’m not big on sharing photo after photo of myself on Instagram. And for some reason, that seems to be a necessary precursor to platform growth.

But I don’t think I’m ready to give it all up yet. I still love the thrill of hitting publish! And when it’s thriving, I’m proud of this little corner of the Internet. So if it’s okay with you, I think I’m just going to stop trying to find the answer and experiment for a while. I’m going to ditch perfection (perfection is the enemy of the good, right?), try some different things and see what sticks. I’m going to focus on sharing stuff that’s real and authentic, even if that’s rambles like this one. And I’m going to focus on getting creative and connecting with other likemindeds, because that’s what I really love about blogging.

One of my other blogging realisations is that I used to share my personal stuff here (with my One Fair Month posts) and on Instagram. For some reason, I’ve shied away from that a bit in recent years. But I think I might return to it. After all, I’m not a professional blogger and I have no plans to be. So given this is my personal hobby, why not share a bit more personal content?

If you’re still here, thanks for sticking through it!

What else has been going on in my life?

While my blogging was adrift, I channeled that energy into other pursuits: training for five sports and completing some amateur pentathlons; taking some strides forward in my career; doing some deep intellectual thinking through my Masters in Law and Development, and preparing and presenting some papers at international law conferences. It’s been great and I’m looking forward to achieving some more of the same in 2018… while balancing it against some more creative pursuits.

2017 travel reflections

I recently calculated that in 2017, I took over 30 flights! Wow! Trips included to Melbourne (6 times), Perth (x 3), Vienna (x 2), Hobart (x 2), Sydney (x 2), Brisbane and Byron Bay, Jakarta and… my favourite trip… to the Philippines to visit Hannah! I also had some great short local getaways, to the Blue Mountains with my Mum and other parts of regional New South Wales that I hadn’t yet visited.

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IMG_3085(1)Palawan, The Philippines

IMG_1149Byron Bay, Australia

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IMG_3693Vienna, Austria

It’s been exciting but also exhausting travelling so much (mostly for work and studies) and my health suffered. All in all, it was a fantastic career experience but I’m hoping to stay in the one place for a bit longer in 2018, or at least plan more trips for pleasure ;)

2017 style reflections

What a year. Whether it was turning 28 or suddenly having to do a lot of travel for work – I feel that in 2017 I underwent a massive style overhaul. That, or perhaps I finally settled into my style and let go of the things that no longer fit it or my lifestyle. In practical terms, this meant I bought and got rid of… far too many things. Of course, all the new things I acquired were ethical – mostly secondhand and otherwise bought from an ethical brand. I was also mindful to dispose of my unwanted clothing sustainably.  Rather than donating to op shops, I sold nearly every unwanted piece (even if just for $5) so I could be certain it was going to a home instead of to landfill like many items that are donated to op shops do.

I become somewhat fixated on reducing my wardrobe to the arbitrary number of 100 pieces, with each one of them loved and worn. I am now sitting around the 96 item mark, with roughly one third being items appropriate for corporate wear that I wear exclusively to work, one third being casual wear, and one third being versatile pieces than can be worn for both, or for special occasions.

All in all, I’m actually feeling more content than ever about where my wardrobe is at. More on all of this in coming posts!

Some great resources for helping you reflect on the previous year

Here’s what posts are coming next week:

  • On Wednesday, I’ll be sharing a sister post on my 2018 goals because, if you’re a long-time reader, you know how much I love goal-setting!
  • Next Sunday, I’ll be sharing a longer thought piece on whether fast fashion is speeding up.

Thanks again for sticking around and being patient with me. Whether you’re a new or old reader I’d love to get to know you in the comments!

Yours Fairly,

Ashlee

One Fair Day blog - Reflections on 2017

 

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4 Comments

  1. Shannon
    January 13, 2018 / 3:36 PM

    You’re a superstar and I’ll always read your blog with a smile on my face :)

    • Ashlee
      January 13, 2018 / 6:31 PM

      You’re the best support gal ever! :u

  2. January 14, 2018 / 12:42 PM

    All I have to say is that what you offer is YOU: your perspective, your expertise, your life experience. I value that. And really, I don’t have a very precise niche either, but things have managed to come together best when I write what I’ve been thinking instead of writing what I think I have to say! Of course there’s some strategy to the headline and the keywords, but mostly people like a good, heartfelt ramble.

    I’m celebrating 5 years of blogging and feel burnt out more days than not, but that’s ok. I appreciate your perspective and hope you can find ways to share it whenever you feel like it.

    • Ashlee
      January 15, 2018 / 6:46 PM

      Thank you so much, Leah! I really admire your perserverance and tenacity. But above everything, I admire the quality of your work so I’m glad you’ve kept with it despite burn out. Thanks so much for the kind words :)

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