Article and YouTube Video by Rain San Martin *Photo of Rain by Sage San Martin.
Beyond reenactment, a vintage lifestyle is taking the best elements of a chosen time era and incorporating them into everyday life. This may include home decor, customs, fashion, and lifestyle habits. Though some go so far as the "historical reenactor", attempting to emulate an accurate portrayal of a historical time for educational purposes and enjoyment.
When I speak of "vintage" as in "vintage lifestyle" it's important to note key character traits as described in the dictionary. We'll look at a few definitions found in the Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.
Vintage 2) of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality, classic. 3) Dating from the past, old. Old-fashioned. 4) Of the best and most characteristic.
All of the above definitions apply to a vintage lifestyle. As you can see, this is a highly curated life.
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Greatly limit technology use - Reflecting on technology creep.
From my vantage point there is no more impacting step to take toward living a a vintage lifestyle then limiting technology consumption and use. Prior to the 1930s most households lived an unplugged lifestyle. It was this decade that the majority of homes were plugged into the electrical grid for the first time. And with it, families began to gather around the radio instead of the hearth. Gradually unplugged activities were replaced by additional electronic entertainment.
The television began to take presence in homes during the 1940s, growing stronger each subsequent decade. Add to this video game consoles of the 1970s. By the 1990s homes were filled with TV's, radios, CD and DVD players, gaming stations, personal computers, and the internet. With each passing year individuals spent more of their personal time being entertained with electronic and digital media. By the early 2000s continuous texting would interrupt productivity work flow or face to face interaction. If this wasn't enough all would change forever after 2007, the introduction of the smart phone coupled with the rise of social media! By 2010, the year the iPad was released, society (including students in the classroom) had officially entered into the Matrix.
Learning how others lived before electronic media and modeling this behavior for as many waking hours as possible will help us to reclaim our lives. Though I am a Blog writer, YouTube video continent creator, and composer I consume a minimal amount of electronic media. Over the last few months, I reduced my consumption of online content, video, and audio entertainment to 1 day per day week! This I did in response to my 30 days unplugged lifestyle experiment. During this time I discovered I desired to live even more of my life unplugged. This does not include essential computer work, which I try to limit to 3 days per week. If you have a day job that requires a computer or when you do mandatory household computing this does not count as electronic media. I acknowledge this is extreme. It was only 6 years ago, in 2015, that I first began to unplug on Sundays, gradually increasing my days without electronic media. I embrace silence. When I do plug-in, I use it to find the most unique and enjoyable content possible. Something I can take with me throughout the week.
The magnifying glass.
Gradually replace modern household items. Rather than jumping ahead to reading glasses you may simply need a focused lamp light or magnifying glass. I love my brass wooden model we have displayed on our mantel. Worthy of a Sherlock Holmes novel.
I had an ongoing wishlist of items to gradually replace over the years. When it's time to replace one I ask, "Is it vintage or Gothic in style"? If not I see if I can hold out. Our home style is Old World - Enchanted Cottage.
Avoid plastic when possible.
Five years back, in 2016, we began the process of replacing plastic fans with metallic vintage inspired models. One effective way to learn about a practical vintage lifestyle is to study tips for living an eco - friendly lifestyle. Using as many metallic and wood items as possible. Over time you may very likely develop a strong aesthetic preference for lasting quality materials.
I keep washable fabric tote bags at the ready in my trunk at all times. During the events of 2020-2021 many stores would no longer bag groceries with tote bags brought in by shoppers. I then asked if I could bag the groceries myself, using my own. Thankfully the answer was "yes". This keeps unnecessary waste out of our landfills.
Do kitchen work by hand - The minimalist kitchenUnless I'm making a smoothie or hummus I do all kitchen prep by hand. For homemade salsa, I chop by hand. Rustic simple whole foods are my go-to. Modern gadgets are blissfully not present.
Rather than pulling up Google maps by default to see a geological location consider a few alternatives. In the book "The Glass Cage", Nicholas Carr writes of how part of our brain has atrophied due to relaying on Artificial Intelligence for tasks such as navigation. We can look to the past for inspiration in unplugged map viewing. A vintage inspired globe is perfect for gaining a birds eye view. In the 1990s I used a physical Thomas Guide, a book of regional detailed street maps, for navigation. Today these can still be used in place of a GPS or Tom Tom. Also on my wishlist, is a world atlas.
Physical address book.
I used to keep all of my contacts in a digital document only. Now that I am spending most of my time away from the computer I reach for my old fashioned address book.
These suggestions on how to live a practical vintage lifestyle are some of the ways I myself have discovered. You may also wish to view my YouTube video, The Practical Vintage Lifestyle.
Enjoy the journey of an "unplugged" vintage lifestyle!