From the time I was little I wanted to go to law school. It was the plan. I went to college and things didn’t quite work out as I’d hoped. First off, after four years when I should have been graduating, I was instead asked to leave due to academic performance (i.e. never going to class). I eventually did go back and finish school, took the LSAT, was accepted into a great program, and two weeks prior to starting law school I withdrew. That was six years ago. I could have completed law school nearly twice in that time period.
I once had a phenomenal manager with whom I was discussing my on/off again desire to go to law school. She told me that the time would pass no matter what. It was what I decided to do with it that mattered. At the time it seemed so totally profound. I mean why wasn’t this woman a world leader?! She was obviously a genius!
If you’ve read any of this blog you know that I didn’t end up going to law school. When I got passionate about it again my LSAT score had expired, my admission into the great program had expired, I would have had to start all over again with the testing and admissions processes, but I now had a husband and the loveliest little girls making all of that feel incredibly daunting.
Having your little ones go back and forth between homes is a challenge. I’ve alluded to this before. My husband and I decided in the beginning that consistency and stability for our little girls has to be one of our top priorities. That can simply mean that when we say we’re going to do something like take them swimming, we absolutely do it come hell or high water, or it can be as simple as having the little girls do homework at the same time in the same spot every single day we have them at our house. So that is what we do. And our little girls have grown to depend upon it.
I am a strict parent, a stickler for doing homework correctly, on-time, and well. We practice spelling words at the kitchen table, while we’re driving, when out to dinner, and everywhere in between because I want to be sure THEY feel prepared. Bedtime is 8pm NO MATTER WHAT. If something comes up that makes this impossible, they go to bed at 7:30 the next night, and they absolutely 100% know the drill. They KNOW what to expect at our house. No surprises, no changes, always the same.
This makes looking at things like law school, or writing, feel impossible, overwhelming, and completely worthless. I want my little girls to feel safe and well at my house, and in my mind, consistency and stability and my being there all the time is part of that.
You know what else I want for my little girls? I want them to feel like dreams can come true. I want them to feel like they have the ability to do anything if they work hard. I want them to know that their Mom, this one at least, has absolutely lived up to her potential, tried to make her dreams come true, and has gone after the things she’s wanted.
How do I reconcile the two? Shortly after starting this blog I realized I had found my passion after all, and it wasn’t law school, it was writing. And I’ve found a way to do it every day without it interfering with our carefully structured and followed schedule with our little girls. I was so proud, and joyful, and happy.
In the past week or so, however, I’ve been spending my time doing something that I have not found satisfying, enjoyable, or fulfilling. I’ve been reading about what bloggers are “supposed” to be doing. I’m “supposed” to be on Twitter and Facebook. I’m “supposed” to be doing this or that to keep my readers engaged. As someone with a Type A personality, I have become a teensy bit obsessed with all of these things, and for the past week or so I have been looking at Twitter, Facebook, and my blog stats incessantly. In addition, I’ve been trying to come up with posts that have elements of some of my more popular posts, that will be “engaging,” and that are funny and witty and smart. And all of it…every bit…feels detached, icky, and very out of character for me. My heart hasn’t been in my writing (can you tell???) and the time that I’ve carefully carved out for my writing has gotten muddled with the other things I’m “supposed” to be doing.
Today my plan had been to tell you that I needed a few days off. My birthday is Monday and I’m having a hard time with this one. The first birthday in my life that I’m not anticipating with a ridiculous amount of excitement. This morning I decided I needed a break to withdraw from this icky online hole I’ve dug myself into. I thought I should take the weekend to be amongst the real things in my life that make me who I am. The things that make this blog relevant and engaging. The things that make you want to read it in the first place. But I realized something very important with the help of Cousin A and Ess.
Those things I’m “supposed” to do? I’m not ENJOYING them like I enjoyed my writing in the beginning. My writing? It hasn’t IMPROVED since I’ve been on Twitter. In fact, I might argue that it’s suffered. The things that all of you have been saying you relate to? They have nothing to do with Facebook, or my blog stats, and everything to do with the lives we share with our children and our partners and the day to day struggles we face with ourselves. So why am I spending this precious time that I have reading every single thought that passes through the minds of strangers on Twitter? Why am I struggling to post witty comments on Facebook?
This time is going to pass no matter what. I have so little time that isn’t already joyfully committed to my husband, and my little girls, and my amazing family, and my unwavering girlfriends, and my job. I have worked to carve out time to WRITE and that is exactly what I am going to do.
TODAY: What if what I’m “supposed” to do it just a waste of precious time if it doesn’t feel like ME? What if I stop worrying about being a real live blogger and just focus on the joy of writing every day (the reason I started in the first place)? And what if doing that still attracts readers to come back?
3 thoughts on “Time. Too. Shall. Pass.”
Consider this: Marketing people (i.e. the ones telling you what to do with your blog and for your blog) are really just explaining what has worked for a select few…perhaps a food blog or a travel blog…not for YOUR blog. What makes your writing so captivating is the personal “chat” you have with your readers through your style…not what a marketer decided your style OUGHT to be. Since when have you followed someone else’s dicatation on how your life should be led? Your “journal” is brilliant…don’t worry about the rest.
You reminded me that when I left corporate world, I set goals and stats bout how many shows I was booking for two weeks…thinking that booking music must be like getting RNs hired for 3 month contracts would be similar. It only made me miserable and felt bad much as you describe. Music biz didn’t operate in a biz like way for sure and have come to the conclusion that the ‘arts’ stuff that comes from your soul works differently than biz i.e. the shoulds to make it. The people that I remember making it i.e. Steve Jobs and others like him didn’t do college they just kept doing their passion and it always works out. That is what I found in the 22 years self employed booking/experience the music…i have found an entire community who love what we offer!!! Your Dad’s music was again featured on TPT last night and we got comments galore about his music even tho documentary was about Jim Brandenburg…sharing “Your music is magnificent! I heard it for the first time on TPT (Chased By The Light) last night. I describe it as emotional and life changing! I promised myself after listening to your music until after 1A.M. last night to never ever miss a concert in the Twin Cities!” and more of the same…and it makes everything worth it!!! “Notes From The Universe” sent this out the other day and I think it may be relevant, “When you finally get that call, meet that person, walk that walk, and live that dream, Carrie Monroe O’Keefe, do you think you’ll even care that there were a few dark and scary moments in a journey that made them all possible?
(Thanks for listening to my rant!) DJM