Five ways in which I'm still stubbornly refusing to join the 21st century.


As a child I used to take my Mum’s accusations of stubbornness as a compliment. Without the thought process to understand that my 4, 7, 16 year old self might benefit from a little open-mindedness, I believed it insinuated I had some sort of unbreakable iron will; the sort of perseverance that a suffragette would have needed on hunger-strike or what made Rosa Parks stay on that seat. Not yet appreciating that the vast majority of the human race believe themselves to be right at all times, I imagined that this sort of attitude would eventually result in justice. 


Having absorbed enough contradictory information over the last decade to understand that there is rarely a reliable answer to anything, I'm more confused by the world than ever, but can't help retaining a trace of that original pigheadedness. A mystery to the most of my friends, these are a few quirks that I am for some reason trying to swim with against the tide of the 21st century (and maybe adulthood?). 


I've never had a smart-phone.

A recent trip to London brought this oddity to my attention... Despite spending a large proportion of my life lost in new cities, often wishing I’d remembered my camera and being totally unable to contact anyone when I run out of credit, I am still holding out on buying a smart-phone. Excuses of money and necessity have begun to dry up while I’ve been working in Exeter and now, around a decade since my contemporaries first began owning them, I am forced to admit that I'm holding out as a matter of (probably misplaced) pride. I hate carrying things of value, but mostly I am just worried about what my life might become if I have access to social media every second of my day. Trying to run this blog thing, would I give myself the time to turn it off and look out the window? Would I have the will-power to talk to my friends without checking facebook every five minutes? I’m not sure and I'm not tempted to find out.


A friend I made at the park this Winter.
A friend I made at the park this Winter.

I don’t really [computer] edit my photos.

Probably born of a vague technology phobia, this one is actually quite stupid. How I'm supposed to entice people back to this site, if I won’t buy a decent camera OR edit my photos, is something I don’t like to consider very often. I love taking pictures, but my track record with cameras hasn't encouraged me to spend a great deal of money on a new one and I can’t shake off the feeling that enhancing my sunsets is sort of cheating. As it turns out, I am probably only cheating myself as photoshop is standard for the vast majority of the internet population, but for now I'll just stick to cropping in paint... 


Mull, Scotland
Sometimes Scotland's just bright enough as it is!
Feathery Travels kitten, Bolivia
My favorite flea-ridden kitten.



I've still never paid to have my hair cut.


I guess this is where refusing to grow up comes in... A professional hair cut or colour does seem to make people feel happier and I know that self-image is important, but hair is dead; I find it difficult to be worried about its health! Somehow paying someone else to cut my hair just isn't something I've ever got into the habit of and lacking an enthusiastic house-mate to do it for me (thank-you Bryony, I miss that), I've taken to simply hacking it off over the sink!

I don’t want my life story to be told by my CV…

My friend was recently told that her CV should to tell the story of her and therefore it would look bad to take a few weeks/months gap between her current job and the next serious one. I get that we can’t all just float about in the breeze with no consideration for the route our lives are taking, some amount of forward thinking is usually necessary for the well-being of our future selves, but isn't it terrifying to imagine getting to retirement, looking back and finding the only story you have to tell is in the bullet points of your CV? I'm not saying we should all quit our jobs to travel the world, but what’s the point of scrambling your way up the corporate ladder with such ferocity that you don’t have enough time to organise your own thoughts, to ask yourself if you are any happier chasing the top than you were two rungs down? With Channel 4 pumping out “documentaries” like The Secret Life of the Human Pups, I'm beginning to wonder whether humans can collectively maintain their sanity under such a stress driven society. It’s probably just laziness, but I struggle to comprehend the sort of ambition that values money and status over personal peace. Everyone needs some time to think and I'm happy to get left behind!


Lake Titicaca, Bolivia
Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

I made a new years’ resolution about fashion.


Whereas everything else I’ve mentioned has just naturally developed to the point where it would feel unnatural for me to do anything else, it was only in January I decided to boycott new clothing. I really don’t want to come across preachy here- I'm currently still eating meat incidentally, guiltily fly every now and again, and actually have enough clothes already, so it’s not exactly much of a challenge to make do. Being a relatively lucky human being, from a wealthy country which imports nearly everything and runs on fossil fuels, I'm pretty much always destroying the planet in some way or another, but for now this is the small battle I've decided to pick.


Other than the inhumanity of the modelling industry, I have no problem with fashion itself; it is an art form after all and that’s half of what this website is supposed to be about. Along with being relatively clueless about how to properly dress myself for whatever current season I find myself in, my main issue with the twenty-first century take on fashion is the idea that you can never seem to have enough. Styles roll around in increasingly rapid cycles, sweatshop clothing costs so little that it’s considered normal to buy new items every week or two and meanwhile we destroy the planet with waste and pollution. There are probably enough items of clothing on the planet that we could cover the world’s population from head to toe for the next twenty years without any problems at all! Is there nothing more productive that we could be demanding from developing countries if they rely on this money to improve their economies? What percentage of our pittance actually reaches the people who sew those things and how can we still justify our feigned ignorance? 


It was just supposed to be a new years’ resolution, but I actually think I’d like to keep it (at least until I run out of underwear...)


Guiltily admiring the view...
Guiltily admiring the view...


Thank-you so much for reading to the end of this bizarrely introspective and somewhat irrelevant post. Maybe you hate me now? Do let me know in the comments ;)


Write a comment

Comments: 16
  • #1

    Dr Hairy (Wednesday, 01 June 2016 23:30)

    "hair is dead; I find it difficult to be worried about its health!"

    Didn't stop you washing your hair at Glastonbury, whilst 1000 people queued for the taps!

    :) x

  • #2

    Katie Featherstone (Wednesday, 01 June 2016 23:50)

    I never said I wanted to smell!

  • #3

    Constance - Foreign Sanctuary (Friday, 03 June 2016 08:20)

    I was also a smartphone refuser until about a year ago when I inherited my husband's old one. However, I don't paid to have internet on it, so I usually just use wifi at home or any place that offers it for free. And I refuse to use it if I am out with my friends or family.

  • #4

    Katie Featherstone (Friday, 03 June 2016 09:17)

    I think that's perfect. :)

  • #5

    Ivan (Monday, 06 June 2016 00:27)

    Good writing as always.

  • #6

    Katie Featherstone (Monday, 06 June 2016 08:05)

    Thanks Ivan. :)

  • #7

    Zoe (Monday, 06 June 2016 20:47)

    I gave in and bought a smart phone about 4 years ago - for me, the selling point was that I'd have a camera and music player with me in a single item. And it has been great for that, but now I've become stubborn about refusing to upgrade it until it actually dies, which I'm hoping will be far in the future!

  • #8

    Jim O'Donnell (Tuesday, 07 June 2016 18:06)

    At first I refused the new century. Then I eagerly embraced it. Now I'm not so sure. But I do wash my hair once a year whether I need it or not!

  • #9

    Katie Featherstone (Tuesday, 07 June 2016 19:10)

    I hope it lasts forever Zoe!

    Haha Jim, that is excellent. Thank-you.

  • #10

    Nikita (Thursday, 09 June 2016 12:42)

    Awww man this speaks to my soul! I got my first smart phone a bit over a week ago (because I lost my good old-fashioned QWERTY phone), and my friends always look perplexed when they see me holding that much technology. I'm perplexed by it as well. Feels unnatural. I also intend on never paying for a haircut. Or new clothes. Or most things, if we're being honest. I'm quite happy living in my own world though!

  • #11

    Mariana (Thursday, 09 June 2016 18:44)

    I love your New Year's resolution! I started the same thing with a friend two years ago and it hasn't even been hard to keep. I do make an exception for underwear, socks, and shoes. And if I need something that I fail to find at a thrift store then I buy it. Also, new items made by artisans or fair-trade businesses get the absolute green light. I'm excited to see someone else do this- it won't change the world, but we do as much as we can! :)

  • #12

    Katie Featherstone (Thursday, 09 June 2016 20:00)

    Thank-you so much for your thoughtful comments Nikita and Mariana; I'm so glad we're on the same page. ;)

  • #13

    Nathan Anderson (Saturday, 11 June 2016 01:17)

    My sister cuts her own hair (drives my mom up the wall), but I've never been brave enough to take the plunge. The good news is, my genetics might take care of that for me. Hooray for male pattern baldness! :P

    But really the point I like the most is the one about not wanting your life to be told by your CV. I just had an interview yesterday and realized that my four most recent jobs are all completely unrelated -- telling the story of someone who won't stick around long. I couldn't help it, I just started laughing. I like having those gaps and inconsistencies. I think they've been the biggest reason I've grown as a person. :D

  • #14

    Katie Featherstone (Saturday, 11 June 2016 12:36)

    Yeah, I'm happy to be a mish-mash too Nathan. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  • #15

    rashmi (Wednesday, 15 June 2016 08:10)

    you have speak out your heart .....good one

  • #16

    Katie Featherstone (Wednesday, 15 June 2016 20:31)


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