How’s it going? Do you know, if you ever fancy actually telling me, you really can? Just visit me for chats at my market stall on Saturdays in Skibbereen! Easy. Schull market has finished for the season, and Saturdays are also a bit more relaxed now, with an emphasis on the social. Everyone seems a little more at ease. I know I am. Just because it’s getting darker and chillier outside, it doesn’t mean we have to get all gloomy again. Let’s find comfort and joy in the little things while we can, I say. A nice hot cuppa, some delicious street food, a little treat, friendly chats… It’s all still happening. All we have to do is take the time to enjoy this seasonal adjustment, the slightly slower pace, the possibly more pensive mood. Let’s not shy away from what autumn brings in its wake and embrace the transitioning into winter. I can honestly say that I am enjoying the prospect.
It’s not news to you, dear readers, that autumn is my favourite time of the year but this goes well beyond my favourite month of September. I feel there is a lot of creative potential in the kind of seasonal retreat that is happening almost naturally, especially if you live in tune with nature. For those who suffer from fear of missing out it may get easier to let things go, to switch off more, and to not feel the need to be constantly available or broadcasting. The purpose of autumn is to step back a little, reflect, and possibly even find some peace of mind. A sense of calm and tranquility from which new creative thoughts can spark.
If you’re thinking that I sound unusually confident and are wondering if I’m taking it a step too far (towards deluding myself into a false sense of optimism, say), worry not. I am not at all in favour of toxic optimism and, on the contrary, have always been an advocate for allowing all your feelings and let them fulfil their purpose. Even the not so pretty and instagrammable ones, perhaps especially those! Let the tears flow, allow rage, sadness, grief, misgivings… and then step back, figure out what these feelings are trying to tell you about the current state of things, maybe learn something from it, and then move on, knowing you’ve addressed (as opposed to suppress or omit) what needed addressing. For me, it’s about a healthy kind of confidence, a self-reliance that promotes moderate optimism. No point in airy-fairy passiveness for whilst some things are beyond your control, others do need proactive involvement. It’s for each of us to individually decide what can be done or attempted. There is empowerment as well as satisfaction in at least trying! If it doesn’t work, well at least you’ve tried and know for sure. If it does work, even better! Either way, you’ve learnt something, at the very least about yourself. It’s about gauging possibilities and finding out what’s realistically doable, rather than forever just wishing this or that. The old backbone vs. wishbone situation, I suppose.
With this in mind, I also put on my big girl pants once more and made some decisions about how I want my own autumn season to go. You know I tend to daydream big and whilst there is nothing wrong with that, at some stage after you dream and plan, you also got to do. Thus after spending September with considering and acknowledging the status quo, asking myself how I am, how I feel and what I need, my answers were clear. There is only so much one person (ie me) can do, both in business and private life. So I made the executive decision to not take up my place again at the large craft fairs returning this year, to not organise away my family life for all of November, to not spread myself even thinner [figuratively speaking, mind]. I already work too much as it is, without any regulated cut-off times, scheduled breaks, or holidays. The joys of being self-employed etc etc… Seriously though, I am merely allowing my feelings to fulfil their purpose, namely alerting me to what I need, rather than ignoring them until I burnout entirely. In short, this season I am working with and for myself, rather than against my own personal sense of wellbeing.
It would be the obvious thing to do, you’d tell your friends, you’d pass it on as solid advice. Doing it for myself, making allowance for my own needs is a different story altogether. One that has to be told though, one that I have to write. For long enough, I have placed too much value on me being highly functioning, being productive at all times, and keeping everything up at all costs, 24/7, 365 days a year. This season, the price is too high. I have worked through anxiety, grief, and a whole range of other emotions, not to mention a pandemic… and, to a degree, work has helped me to pull through. Now, however, it is time to set boundaries and actually stick to them myself. That’s why less is more and more is also more. Sometimes it simply gets too much, hence enough is enough. Not much good in wearing out my one and only employee (myself!!), right? With this account of my considered and conscious decision making this autumn, I leave you to your own seasonal reflections, possibly (hopefully) a little bit inspired by my own musings. A comforting thought!
Also, don’t get me wrong, I hope to return doing larger fairs again eventually, it’s just not feasible for me this year and I am comfortable with that choice. I will keep up my weekly market trading in Skibbereen on Saturday all the way up to December, so you have plenty of opportunities to look at and purchase my creations in person. Later in October I will also finally (!!!) update my online shop again, another chance for you to #shoplocal and #shopsmall without even leaving the comfort of your own home. As for commissions, my book is filling up steadily already so I advise you to get in touch now for personalised creations or, easy peasy, consider a gift card to ensure your loved ones get the presents they really want.
To help you stay on track, I will send out a newsletter once the shop update with ready-to-wear pieces goes online, promise!
For now, let me thank you once again not only for reading this far but also for your continued and generous support throughout the summer market season in both Schull and Skibbereen. I am humbled and grateful for each purchase, every kind word, and all the friendly chats. This may sound soppy or even hollow to some, but I genuinely am still beyond happy that there are people out there who want to wear my creations and who invite a little bit of NDS Jewellery magic into their lives! For me, there is true comfort in that…
With lots of love always and big, warm October hugs,
PS: As a parting shot… While out and about doing your seasonal shopping this year, do yourselves and all the wonderful designer-makers, crafters, artists, producers, and growers you love a favour: get it done early-ish (not last minute), give everyone appropriate time [not last minute, I mean it], don’t expect the impossible [not. last. minute.], and don’t ask for more for less, ok? Just be sound, yes, pretty please?