I’m Too Much of a Hobbit to Be an Influencer
Too Simple to Be Mainstream
I love reading and writing with my whole heart. My goal is to one day make a true living doing exactly what I love. However, that goal ends there. I still want to be surrounded by my loved ones, and deeply enjoy living our plain, unassuming lives. I've been thinking considerably about the reasons I want to write, and enjoy the writing process in the first place. What motivates me? What propels me forward? Why do I write?
This inner debacle and focus on self-reflection was spurred by my own publishing inconsistencies, and the consequential rollercoaster graph of readership fluctuations it produces. I have every intention of trying to boost my views and reads through social media, but then I become quickly frustrated with the upkeep. Honestly, I do well to log into my personal accounts to check my notifications and messages daily. What am I spending my time doing instead of promoting my work and gaining followings? Aside from writing for forums, researching and drafting articles, or composing my personal fiction novel, the answer I've determined is that I'm being a hobbit. I have pinpointed five main focuses that hobbits and I share that directly conflict with my technological management, social media presence, and screen time, and therefore null my ability to be an influencer.
1. Enjoyment of the Natural World
When the sun is out, it draws me outside. I'm satisfied with the way the light touches and warms my skin through its radiant beams. I take moments to truly feel it, and find I feel better and gain both energy and inspiration from it. I love a nice walk in the woods, and I leave my cell phone at home or in the car. I don't have cell service in most of the places I walk anyway. I take our family dogs with me when I'm able to walk alone, and they look out for me. Otherwise, my husband, our son, both dogs, and I enjoy long walks together. We make note of the wildlife, different smells, new tracks, etc. and truly take everything in during the short periods where conversation ends. This period of mindfulness, even if it is only a half hour to an hour, is an essential key to my health and happiness level. I also enjoy stacking and splitting wood from fallen trees, homesteading, identifying regional plants, gardening, composting, and many other outdoor activities. I feel that working with the earth and its elements speaks to me on numerous levels.
2. Importance of Family Time
I also enjoy making the most of time spent with our son. My son is interested in so many things, and has gotten me interested in them as well. Whether we are pretend-playing as truck drivers with a plethora of imaginary vehicle types to choose from, building towns with blocks or a beach with sand and seashells, acting as superheroes and supervillains, trying a new sensory activity, playing outside, coloring, reading, baking, cooking, or cleaning, I want to focus on the little moments we spend together. I realize he is only little for a short while, and watching him learn, change, grow, and develop his own ideas is captivating. I wouldn't trade this experience for the world.
3. Love of Food & Cheer
As aforementioned, my son and I cook and bake together fairly regularly. In fact with the exception of the late 9p.m. supper, he eats like a hobbit. He doesn't really get that anywhere strange. Food culture is huge in this family, and we have no problem with adjusting to our son's eating schedule. We find that mealtimes are the perfect time for family conversation, and an opportunity to leave the electronics alone for a while.
As a family, we spend a large chunk of our time creating and trying new recipes. I am especially excited by this, and will sometimes forgo writing articles in favor of trying out a new meal my family enjoys. I write down the ingredients I've used in new experimental dishes we've all found delicious, and dream of one day handing a true family recipe cookbook down to our children and extended family. At present, I'm working on a beverage book with non-alcoholic counterpart options. When I fix a cocktail for my husband or myself, my son also gets a child-friendly cup and alcohol-free version. I also experiment with gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, soy-free Chinese food, appetizer, and baked goods recipes for future cookbooks.
When we have guests over, we cook enough for a true feast. I enjoy working around others' dietary restrictions, and look at it as an opportunity to create something new. We always overcook for the amount of guests we have coming, and have a variety of dishes for everyone to try. This leads to sending everyone home with a nice little goody container or full meals for later in the week. We've also extended certain holiday celebrations for anyone who wants to come and try some foods later in the week. We understand the pressure of showing up on the holiday itself is often stressful and cooking large amounts to be heated up for more convenient times for others has become a habit of ours.
We've also started new holiday traditions like "Christmas around the World." During our celebration, we pick a one nation's food dishes and drinks to have on Christmas day and throughout that weekend. Last year, we paid homage to Italy with a variety of their dishes. This year, we're cooking traditional Irish Christmas fare. I'm learning how to feed our boozy, fruity, Christmas cake. It has been a lot of fun compiling our ingredients lists and recipes. Next year, our culinary tour is going German. We find that when you don't want to physically or financially travel, there is only the restriction of your pantry to cook up a sweet or savory escape.
4. I'm a Homebody
You read my previous line on traveling via the pantry right? While I don't mind having a grand adventure every once and a while, I still prefer my comforts of home. I'll often choose a staycation or short trips nearby instead of travelling somewhere far away and dealing with the hassle of trip-planning. I like sleeping in my bed. I like our home with large windows and wooded views all around. I like inviting friends over to enjoy the simple things. I find that I'm not dissatisfied here, even the rare times I'm home alone. It is peaceful here, and I don't need to go anywhere else to feel fulfilled. I will often focus on creative ways to stretch our ingredients, recycle things, craft new projects with what I have on hand, and find more sustainable ways of doing things both indoor and outdoor here so I don't have to go elsewhere as frequently. In the winter, we have a warm wood stove downstairs, rocking chairs, and plenty of games and ideas we can enjoy right here, especially during the holidays. When old trees fall on our property, we stack up the scrap wood that can't be used in the stove for a bonfire with friends and family. Drinks and snacks are obviously included. I find it best to be happy with what we have, and enjoy the simple blessings we've been given. This sort of lifestyle makes me happy.
5. Materialism and Commercialism Don't Appeal to Me.
When my husband and I have travelled with others, they often get frustrated that we "only buy food and drinks." There are occasions where we purchase family photos at an event or a rare funny or memorable trinket we happen to see that appeals to us, but those are usually few and far between. Relatives and friends note when we shop together, that we buy significantly less than they do. My mother gets irritated that I still wear a few quality items I've had since middle school. My view is if it is still in good shape, why buy a new one? Others don't always share that view.
I'd rather experience a good meal, good drink, and good company, than waste money on something material that I don't actually need. I'm fortunate to have clothing, a place to live, food to eat, drinks to drink, and positive interaction with family and friends. What more do I need?
A name brand item will do nothing for me. Labels are lost on me. Status and prestige are also lost on me. When I told my aunt who usually strives to buy name brand items for everyone that her homemade cookies have always been enough for me, she was surprised, flattered, and also very confused. She makes the best pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, which I adore! In my eyes, they are her trademark, and one I look forward to each year.
I love heartfelt, homemade, thoughtful, and tasty presents, and they speak multitudes more to me than anything that can be bought in a store. I save every photo card I receive, every hand-written note, and any card that held special meaning. I can't "keep up with the Jones's" and I have no desire to try. I've always said, "When you learn to live with less, you beat the game of more." I'll always value true genuine connections and displays of friendship, affection, and care more than all the wealth in the world. You can't buy those.
When I've tried to be more active on electronic accounts and technology, I've consistently found myself more easily agitated, stressed, and burned out. Upon reflection, I've discovered why: I have to compromise a portion of my wholesome daily life activities in order to maintain a presence and remain relevant online. This trade is absolutely not fair to who I am as a person or the similar hobbit lifestyle I strive to live. Views and readership in all reality aren't worth the exchange.
The best memories are rarely captured in photographs, reels, or videos. I want to feel and experience my life moments and interaction in real-time anyway. To me, a camera or phone becomes a mere distraction that rarely adds to my experiences with others. I have more fun in a photo booth making silly faces as an activity all its own. I don't reenact events in front of a camera. I'll often try a recipe several times before I capture a photograph that is "Instagram or Pinterest-worthy", especially when my son and I are working cooperatively. Sometimes I'll get lucky, but even when I don't I still focus on enjoying the activity itself. It is liberating to enjoy the experiences for what they are, and to focus on nothing else.
I've discovered that I write to express myself, leave a legacy behind for my family, show what I've learned, how I've grown in character or beliefs, or to demonstrate the happiness and enrichment my loved ones have provided to me as a sort of thank you. I write for mental, emotional, and spiritual health reasons. I write to encourage mental exercise and stimulation. I write for entertainment and humor purposes. I write so I can understand things better or provide new perspectives to the select few who read my stories, articles, and works. I write to create worlds and fantasies for people who don't necessarily desire to physically travel or others who just want a respite from the outside world for a while. I write because it is human to be a story-teller. My connections to life are deeply personal, as is my connection to writing.
So you see, I don't write to influence others. I don't write to be mainstream or to gain fame or fortune. I don't write to tell people how to live, what is in style, or what is trending right now. I don't write to achieve notoriety, presence, prestige, or influence. To gain fulfillment in my writing, I don't need to post my work everywhere or market myself. I don't have to force myself to fulfill social media and networking obligations that I'll grow weary of anyway. If one person enjoys the work I've put forth as much as I do, I'm glad they can share the same joy or experience. I'm glad I have that interaction with another human being, even if it is from afar. Quantity does not matter to me as much as a shared human connection and relatability. My standards of satisfaction do not necessitate the endless management of technology or constant attention and interaction. Therefore, I have decided that I am content to be a simple hobbit and am happy with the life I've chosen.