Of Friends New & Old

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When I joined Instagram a couple of years ago, I had hopes that I would be able to meet like-minded people, share my love for books and style, and maybe along the way make a new friend or two. What I never expected was that not only would I do all that, but I would also gain so much more than I had ever thought possible.

I’ve been doing style challenges from pretty much the beginning, hoping to get out of my clothing ruts and wear pieces that often get neglected in my wardrobe. What I never anticipated, however, was that I would meet people who not only inspired me with their style, but who would encourage me in my own quirky tastes, affirming my style because it was mine and not someone else’s.

I’ve also met fellow creatives, artists who produce beautiful works or art for the joy of it. Such as Marissa, whose incredible jewelry I’ve already featured, but who sent me yet another necklace (which can be seen in the above photo) as a gift. I really can’t believe the generosity and kindness of people sometimes – it brings light in the midst of a culture that is currently chaotic and seemingly confused on how to achieve happiness. What I wish everyone to know is that true happiness isn’t solely an inward discovery, but an outward gesture.

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The beautiful bookmark is from an Instagram friend and fellow book-lover. Isn’t it a kind and thoughtful gift? Again, my mind is blown by kind gestures, which I think rather a sad state of cultural & social affairs… don’t you?

Another community on Instagram that has brought me much joy has been the book community – not only do these people understand my love of reading, they share my love for bookstores, book photography, bookish products, and anything else reading and book related.

In both communities I have met interesting people, made tons of new friends, and shared something in common with people from all over the world. That last part is almost mind-boggling, you guys – meeting and connecting with people in multiple continents the world over. We may not share culture or education or living styles or faith or jobs or what-have-you… But we share at least something in common, and through that we have connected over a wide expanse – even feeling as close as next-door neighbors. It really makes me think that all of the fighting in America right now results from people failing to find a connection with one another. I’m not saying it’s the answer to everything, but it’s definitely an approach to world peace: the ability and desire to understand others and appreciate what they have brought into our world. It’s something that we need to cultivate in a society that is growing increasingly inward and self-obsessed.

It seems so counter-intuituve, but it’s true: reaching out to others brings a joy and happiness that self-focus and obsessions can never give. Perhaps because when we give of ourselves to others, it returns to us two-fold later on.

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If you’re in the Fort Worth area, be sure to check out Avoca Coffee – their lattes + mochas are the perfect accompaniment to a good book!

I encourage you to find a social platform and either seek out or create community on it. Don’t neglect your physical community, however – I’ve found that balancing both is challenging, but necessary. Humans need connection and contact, so it’s vital to cultivate that in person and online. Enjoy what both has to offer!

Until next time,

Shelbi

p.s. Both necklace and bookmark are one-of-a-kind, but you can check out these two artisans if you’re interested in owning something that is handmade and unique. Bonus: you’re supporting two incredibly talented, lovely women!

Marissa T. Designs on etsy

Literary Journey bookmarks on etsy

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