The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

The Year of Less

If you’re looking a book purely about decluttering and spending less you’ll be disappointed in this book. The Year of Less by Cait Flanders is so much more than that. I tried reading that cult favourite book which asks you to take every item you own and hold it in your hands, see if it sparks joy, then throw it out if it didn’t. That book didn’t spark any joy so I threw it out. The Year of Less has its own electric current and I struggled to put it down.

Cait Flanders is a well-known blogger and freelance writer living in BC, Canada. I’ve been a blogger since 2006 and a freelance copywriter for almost as long and so can tell you, it’s rare to see anyone write so openly, honestly and so compellingly about alcohol dependency, consumerism, mental health and facing and overcoming it all in a brave and inspiring way.

Cait tells us what led to the decision of starting a year-long shopping ban, how the challenge was set up, what she could and couldn’t buy and we live with her through that year, and beyond. We see events unfurl in her life that threaten to break her, we look at things in her past that have shaped who she is today (or during the period the book was written about) and we look at where she finds herself after the year of less, and beyond. This is a personal journey for Cait that she generously decided to share with all of us and in doing so offers inspiration to countless others struggling with the pressures and expectations life likes to heap on top of us.

There are many books out there which tell of how a person has reinvented themselves or found the “true them”. Some are tongue in cheek, some hilarious and some rather dark. The Year of Less offers a lot of this and yet is somewhat unique in that it is written in a refreshingly matter-of-fact way.

This is a beautifully designed book that is easy to read (you don’t want to put it down) which glows with a truth that’s hard to deny. If you’re not sure what I mean by that read it. There’s a little of all of us in Cait Flanders and I for one wish there was more of Cait Flanders’ bloodymindedness in me!

If I was the sort to hand out stickers and give people star ratings The Year of Less would get a solid 5/5.

Find out more about Cait on her website and purchase her book from all major retailers (you won’t be sorry).

Hay House Publishing were kind enough to send me this book to read and review.
My thoughts about the content are entirely my own.

Social Media: Life Behind the Glass Wall

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Social media can be a wonderful thing. As someone who uses it professionally myself, and on behalf of a number of clients it offers opportunities to reach out to people in ways you couldn’t manage effectively offline.

Social media is fabulous for raising awareness, for sharing local information and international news. Personally, I use social media as a sort of digital scrapbook, a way to record and revisit memories whenever I like, and for years to come.

I love seeing what’s going on in my community, sharing news with others, celebrating and when needed commiserating with them. The online world is also a place to gain support. I know people who for various reasons, for example, due to dealing with mental health issues, find themselves isolated. The online world offers aid to those who find themselves alone, scared and in a dark place at 2am and that is a great tool to have around.

Social media is a wonderful thing however, there is also a dark side. People find it perfectly acceptable to say things online, behind their glass wall, that they wouldn’t dream of saying face to face. I’m not talking about these infamous trolls either, I’m talking about people you see every day. I find this bemusing on one hand and incredibly sad on another.

I see people joining groups in order to moan. Don’t get me wrong, I can whine and moan and rant with the best of them and yet I sometimes find myself asking “when did social media replace our ability to act in real life if there’s change needed?”.

Used effectively social media can be a wonderful thing but sometimes I think we could all do with taking a step back, to pause before we post (for our own sakes) and to remember what social media is, to consider its limitations and its dangers. Being behind a glass wall offers a perception of power and that power can be misused sometimes. People on the internet exaggerate, they out and out lie, they victimise, they bully and they convince themselves that they are righteous, that they do have the right to say and do such things. Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, if not used by a wannabe vigilante mob, or by those who have lost sight of how to deal with issues in person, preferring the keyboard warrior stance and the little thrill it offers.

We live in modern times and as such have access to the most wonderful modern technologies. Take advantage of them but follow your own tune, be true to who you are, protect yourself where necessary and enjoy it. Make sure that you don’t take what you see on social media sites as being automatically factual, check things out. Use the internet and social media sites as a set of useful tools, not as a weapon against someone else.

PS: Please don’t disagree with anything I’ve written here, in my little corner of the online world where I like to ramble on sometimes about the thoughts and ideas rattling around in my head. Having a different point of view to someone online is a no-go so don’t be tempted. The backlash can be appalling…. 😀 

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