You won’t BELIEVE what number four is! Well, maybe you will. It’s not that crazy. I’ve been dragging my feet about this blog idea because it’s so click-bait-y.
HEY YOU! Have you already scrolled down to the list? Do you know any of them already? Companies that produce these click-bait numbered lists are just trying capture your attention for a few minutes. They feed on your own egos in the name of the algorithm.
I’m a sucker for it! I always click on those “10 Best Places for Young Professionals to Live in 2024” lists. Part of me hopes that I’ve lived in all of them. I barely give a think to how the random editors compiled the list. I just start clicking.
I’m part of the attention economy just like the rest of us. It’s hard to encourage people to invest in reading. That’s why there are so many marketing best practices like bulleted lists, all-caps, and other easy-to-scan, broken-up sections of “content.” Attention spans have dropped 47 seconds since measured in the early 2000s, when they were 2.5 minutes.
I usually skip the story in food blogs when I’m looking for a recipe. I scrolled past writing just last night when I needed the red lentil to water ratio for cooking a quick dal (it’s two cups water to one cup red lentils). I’ve worked as a professional writer for almost 30 years! You’d think I’d give it a quick read.
So, I get the joy of QUICK TIPS. I’ve even curated a list of searchable travel tips on The Lovelight Project’s travel and explore page.
But counting the clicks isn’t what this blog is about. I’m not trying desperately to keep your attention. Affiliate marketing is not how I make money. It’s okay. This isn’t a money-based experience we’re having. Maybe now’s a good time to take a breath.
Still with me? Long-form writing has become a disruptor concept to the attention economy.
Art is in the written word.
Top Reasons Art is So Cool
!!! Not too many exclamation marks. AI will find out. You can’t write AI without it tracking you. It’s tracking you. *She shifts the gaze back and forth*
Not everyone has time for art. You may not have that kind of time. You have to scroll past the blah-blah-blah. Go straight to what you can buy. Maybe that will relax the nervous system. That’s another secret about the attention economy: the constant consumerism will keep you in a state of anxiety. It’s an addiction, and addictions make it hard to focus on anything else.
Especially something that doesn’t really have anything to sell you. French impressionist Edgar Degas famously said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
So, click-bait is the opposite of what I normally go for. If you’ve ever read any of my writing, you know that I are more interested in ideas that get me, at least, thinking and feeling. If you are willing to feel — not everyone is, that’s the thing about the world today and always — you have to give a little time. Give the idea time to marinate within you. Consider the energy.
When you invest time like this, it may be a risk. What if you don’t learn anything? What if you already know the five products that I love and that’s that? Everything requires a cost-benefit analysis these days, especially with what kind of content you are intentionally consuming these days.
Busyness is a modern social psychological condition. And yet, you have time to scroll away on social media. Or whatever your drug of choice is. Maybe you’re into, I dunno, dance classes at the gym. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got all kinds of things to do. How are you doing on that new year’s resolution with those new habits, anyway?
Rest, by the way, is an excellent habit to adopt. It’s free. I plan to make daily rest part of my next 60-DAY CHALLENGE TO CHANGE initiative. I hold an accountability group every 60 days. The name sounds kind of click-bait-y, so I wrote it in all-caps. I hope I don’t stress myself out by holding myself accountable for calming my nervous system and balancing my hormones.
Rest, by the way, isn’t lying back and scrolling social media. Rest relieves you from the pressures of the world. Art is a great way to escape the norm. When you read a story or check out any kind of art, you’re allowing yourself an opportunity to feel the ideas and energy. I hope you know the difference.
Don’t fool yourself by thinking that a small breadcrumb of knowledge is a worthy exchange for your precious time. Let yourself experience life fully!
That’s exactly what I was doing yesterday I was when I found myself with a small cut. I pulled out the powder I bought in Argentina that works really well healing the skin. I tried to remember what it was called. I made a mental note to research it (Mental notes are written in disappearing ink!). Since weekly blogs have been part of my current 60-DAY CHALLENGE TO CHANGE, I thought maybe readers would be interested in a list of these products I love.
And that’s why I’m giving you:
SUZANNE’S AMAZING MUST-HAVE CAN’T-BEAT OH MY HELL YEAH I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE SAID THAT OH NO YOU DIDN’T OH YES I DID LIST
This list is in no particular order and consists of products that work great, are relatively inexpensive, common in the country and less-so elsewhere.
Top 5 International Products I’d Buy Again
When I rode a horse over the countryside of Argentina, I held on the strap so tightly that I ripped the palm of my hand up. I went to the pharmacy and showed them the wound, and they sold me this product. At 250 grams for under $14, it will last you a lifetime. I see from the description that it’s “specifically formulated for horses,” which is hilarious because I use this on my face sometimes.
2. Tiger Balm
You’ve likely already seen Tiger Balm, but (like dragonfruit) there are two types: red and white. White Tiger Balm is more common in the West because it is milder. It can serve as a Vicks VapoRub when dabbed in the nose or even lips. The red version is stronger and is a great for aches and pains. Both are great to stop itching from bug bites. It’s also a bug repellent, and I once saw it for sale as a spray at the Ego Pharmacy. An often-overlooked benefit is relief from flatulence, which I can’t even.
There’s plenty of debate on this topic, and I welcome all your naysaying in the comments. But don’t knock this Thai Crystal Deodorant without trying it. I bought a stick for a couple of dollars in Thailand and used it daily to stop myself from being stinky. Then, when I visited my parents during the start of coronavirus (they were really stressed out), I cleaned out my childhood bathroom closet and found a stick I purchased when I was in 8thgrade from the local natural food store. Score! Talk about doing my future self a favor!
Speaking of my hometown, I need to give a shoutout to the New England version of Tiger Balm, kinda, called Boroleum. While Tiger Balm is a more versatile ointment, this stuff always pulled me through the dry, cold, crappy fall into winter into spring weather of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I wish I had a tube now as I’m living in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands of Spain. We’re experiencing the calima, which is dust that comes off the African Sahara desert. My nasal passages are a little congested.
You can make this ginger and turmeric drink I discovered in Bali, Indonesia at home. But warning: It’s a little bit of a process to make, however. I found it online here. It is the answer to gastrointestinal distress, as it is a traditional medicine from the home of the cutely name but super-gross phenomenon of Bali Belly. But you have to give thanks for everything, including Bali Belly.
Honorable Mentions: Japanese bathroom anything, palo santo, and white sage.
Were you worried that I wouldn’t actually give you a real list after you clicked? Well, I did. And now’s where I continue to engage you by asking for what I missed in the comments. But I’m serious. What would you add to this list? Let’s share and connect, for art’s sake.