A couple weeks ago I decided to announce a break from blogging. Nothing life-altering, merely taking a moment to step back and reevaluate, as we often do this time of year. In the realm of blogging, my little corner of the internet is but a babe still: fledgling and often unfocused, I often struggle to find the balance between filling my bucket creatively and having people actually find and read the words I write. Synchrony is hard won. Breaks to square my shoulders are necessary.
Instead of a great pronouncement, combined with a pre-Christmas post, I found myself in rural Montana with spotty internet. Sometimes the universe takes care of things for us. And for the first time, perhaps, I didn't feel compelled to press publish for the sake of maintaining readership or for fear that I wouldn't want to come back.
I've come to a fork in the road personally. 2014 was a good year, but a hard one. Most notably, we took our fate into our own hands and moved our family across country. It was leap in so many ways, but we are thankful each and every day we possessed the bravery to do it. Our family is thriving in new and wonderful ways. Opportunities abound.
Still, it was a hard year. We left friends, endured a rather harrowing house sale, and said goodbye to a breathtaking soul we loved with all our hearts. It all worked out in the end, as things most often do, and we have learned a decade's worth about ourselves and the world around us. I can honestly say we were brave. (I'm posthumously appointing this our official word of 2014. I've heard it's a thing.)
I was also really hard on myself this year. I was hopeful and determined when it came to the big picture, the life-changing, but the same can not be said for my personal outlook. I spent way too much time waxing about my life and what's next and when and where and why things weren't falling into my lap the way I wanted them to. I was simultaneously building myself up and tearing myself down.
Self-exploration is good. I'm a firm believer in digging deeper to find the root of discontent. But instead of seeing all the opportunities before me, I only saw the limitations that naturally hang in the periphery of dreams. I crossed the fine line that separates introspection and deprecation. I let opportunities become obstacles at the expense of my happiness.
I abandoned resolutions many years ago; they were always half-hearted attempts at change anyway. I came to understand a long time ago that big changes are impossible without little ones. You can't lose 100 pounds without first losing five. And you can't lose 5 pounds without changing the way you eat, sleep and exercise. You also can't become a guitar player overnight. You have to buy a guitar and learn individual notes then chords. Building blocks are the foundation of learning any new task. Which is why resolutions are fundamentally flawed.
As 2014 came to a close, and I was reflecting on my life, my goals, and even this space, I realized that change needs to happen. It can't not happen. All those things that float around in the back of my mind need to find their way to paper. Not only that, they need to actually get a check mark next to them at some point. I have to work toward something rather than flailing; paralyzed by the what ifs of life. Because there will always be what ifs.
I need to change the way I talk to myself. The way I approach life. All of it needs to change. It sounds like a lot, I know, but in most cases minor adjustments will make a world of difference in my emotional and physical well-being. Instead of always looking forward to the pivotal years where something big is due to happen (college graduation, grad school acceptance, Kiddo being more independent, etcetera), I'm going to focus on the now.
The bulk of my life is lived between the big moments, and I don't want to miss out anymore. I want to stop holding my breath in anticipation of what's to come. It's an exhausting and heart-wrenching way to live.
Nothing major is set happen in 2015, but I have a feeling it will be my grandest year yet.
So what does all this mean for the blog? Well, I've certainly reached a do it or don't moment. I love writing and crave the self-expression this format allows, but it so easily becomes a monkey on my back. I don't post for a week and my pageviews skyrocket. I post every single day for a week and they reach an all-time low. All that gets in my head, especially when I'm feeling vulnerable. And because I don't want to attach a business mindset to this space, it's not what it's for, I flail a bit. I either force myself to write or agonize over the fact I haven't. Then I sort through my photos and realize there were a bunch of things I wanted to share but forgot to. (And wonder why I put myself through all that.)
All this rambling aside, I've come to a decision: I'm going to dedicate myself to making this blog great. A new, more streamlined design in the next month or so; regular content planned out in advance, including recurring series; greater involvement in the blogging community. I'm not going back to the days of 20 link-ups per day, but I'm going to put myself out there more via genuine connection with my favorite bloggers.
I plan to be working again in the coming month, so balancing it all will be particularly challenging. Which will tell me if my heart's really in it. If, at the end of 2015, I haven't found fulfillment and rediscovered my love of blogging, I will bid the blogosphere adieu. If I can't find the time or desire to keep it afloat, it wasn't meant to be. So it will be with peace and love that I close this chapter of my life. Not to be too melodramatic. (Too late.)
Over the next couple weeks I'm going to fill that planner of mine with goals and ideas and all the stuff I always aspired to use a planner for. It will be my journal, my lifeline, a vehicle by which I will rediscover my lust for life. Or perhaps find it for the first time. It will hold me accountable for my time and forward movement. (So will blogging about it, I hope.) Gone are the days of carrying over unfulfilled (and often unspoken) desires from year to year.
When I come back, expect a fresh perspective.
In the meantime, here are a few things that moved me and/or inspired me to adopt a fresh life model:
growing pains (beautifully addressed)
the perfect planner + accessories to get my dreams in order
the lies we tell ourselves
a photo a day
living the dream (a how-to)
Happy New Year!