I’m a little bit behind on this 28-day Imperfect Blogging Challenge–three days to be exact. But it’s better late than never. That’s what I think about when I recall where I was this time last year and match it up to where I am now. There have definitely been some major changes, some scary changes, but I am confident those changes were necessary, even if they seem foolish and risky.
WHERE WAS I THIS TIME LAST YEAR?
I’d been working at my job for two years, had graduated to a new position that previous fall and I was already thinking of what would be next. Bored. Unmotivated. And wishing my life away by the day, trying to convince Friday to come early every week. I remember that I was always planning to do something. I planned to get serious about writing professionally. After purchasing a domain and joining Twitter, I planned to start posting blogs. I planned to submit a short story I wrote and enter it into a writing contest. I planned to resume writing a book. But I did very little of what I set out to do.
I spent a lot of time saying I didn’t have time and the rest of that time worrying about what would happen if tried to do what I wanted. I saw the blogs of more established, successful bloggers whose sites were more visually appealing than mine. I had no idea what I was doing while they seemed really comfortable forging a digital footprint that clearly displayed who they were. Frankly, I was intimidated and my progress was snail-slow.
ADVICE I WOULD GIVE MY 2013 SELF
Sometimes I get annoyed with giving advice because you can talk ’til the cows come home, but if that person doesn’t possess an ounce of self-awareness or is just flat out not receptive, then it’s all in vain. And quite honestly some of the stuff I would tell my 2013 self would’ve likely fallen on deaf ears. In fact, other people gave me some of the advice I would offer my 2013 self now, but I didn’t act until I was ready.
So for that reason, the only worthwhile advice I could offer my 2013 self is to focus and commit to writing. Don’t devote any time to the bullshit that’s happening at work, especially if it doesn’t involve you. Who effin’ cares? Take that same energy you expend on work drama, feeling slighted and seeking validation from the higher ups, and dedicate it to something that matters to you. Set small goals for yourself and stay on track to accomplish them. Meanwhile, write freely and realize that the art of written expression is a gift and a craft to be honed. Eff what everyone else is writing, or how they’re writing. Just. Do. You. You’re enough.
I hesitate to offer myself too much advice not only because I’m not sure it would’ve been impactful, but had I accepted and acted on it, who knows how it would’ve altered my future? I’m a firm believer that we are where we belong, and we belong where we are. A combination of time and experience have imprinted my mind, body and spirit with a unique set of tools to deal with the present-day challenges I face and the opportunities I’ve been granted. The 2013 me simply was not equipped for the here and now. It’s like giving car keys to a toddler. They have the keys to drive, but lack the skill to operate the vehicle. Any sensible person could see that a 2-year-old has quite a bit of growing up to do before they can drive safely and effectively.
These days, instead of spending time complaining about how I never have time to write, I’ve done more writing in the past month than I have in a long time. I’ve paid more attention to posting on my site and learning more about what I’m getting myself into. I have bylines and a couple of really helpful, encouraging blog friends. Therapy is helping me realize how self-perception affects a LOT of things in my life, such as my marriage and career. That discovery is helping me build a new perspective, one based on positivity instead of self-destructive thoughts that someone long ago convinced me were the truth.
Despite my general weariness of offering advice, I couldn’t leave my 2013 self without telling her to seek what she wants from life in the same way she’d cook a meal: Think only of what you want to eat, and don’t change the recipe to suit someone else’s preference. Finally, make sure whatever you prepare fills you up inside.