What Do You Not Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Today I feel like a steady train chugging deeply across a quiet, unfamiliar plain. I feel like I could reach out in nearly any direction and grab a handful of support. I feel gratitude for the radiant planets of people that have arrived in my orbit.

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

Over the weekend, I worked on a post about my dream setup for our current living room. I started the post with great enthusiasm, feeling like finding and sharing my ideas for my space would invigorate and excite me.

Turns out, I discovered something better. I didn’t like writing that post!

For so long, I’ve expected my life as a writer to evolve into a home + style blogger. Since I’ve seen that as the straightforward way to monetize blogging, I’ve just kind of thought that’s the way I’ve needed to go.

But gathering my ideas about updating my apartment was tiresome and stressful. I felt uninspired and found myself just pulling links from quick searches as “this will do” placeholders. I still want to update our apartment and make it a more beautiful and welcoming space, but I don’t think I want to write about it.

I also have imagined myself as a style blogger, but I’ve never felt the initiative to take outfit photos, or otherwise curating my closet other than adding the occasional strange and wonderful sequin monstrosity.

I love consuming ideas and seeing photos of others’ beautiful homes and clothes, but I’m less compelled to share my own space or wardrobe because it doesn’t feel authentic to me. So why does this feel like such a big deal?

Finding out what you don’t want to do is a productive step forward.

We equate progress with a goal or a destination, but it’s important to remember that crossing a destination off the list means that we have one fewer not-quite-right place to travel to. It’s like seeing a restaurant with a one star review from hundreds of reviewers. You can still totally go, but there might be a restaurant down the road that has a better chance of being your new favorite.

It’s also not like that at all, because this has nothing to do with what other people think.

For me, I also can rule out food and recipes (because who has time for that), and same for DIY. I’d rather sling odd words into rhythmic sentences than try to come up with a visually interesting project day in and day out. Plus, my DIY is almost always spur-of-the-moment and I don’t like having to wait around for good lighting for photography.

So what does a blogger do if a blogger does not write about home, DIY, style, recipes or family?

I’m interested in self-exploration and helping others, but I’m always so hesitant about speaking from a place of authority when it comes to self-help because 1) I have no formal training 2) I have only read a little in that realm and 3) I’m actually a mess and I don’t want to add being responsible for the well-being of others to my plate. But I’m happy to chat about it as not an authority.

Ugh, I’m doing the biggest eyeroll over here as I am writing myself through this question. I think the answer is pretty simple. I need to do one of two things:

  1. Not be a blogger

  2. Redefine what I believe a blogger is and what a blogger looks like

A blogger is defined as a person who regularly writes material for a blog.

It’s not as complicated as how many followers someone has, or how frequently they post, or how many of their own photos they take. It’s a matter of having a blog, and posting on it. You can totally even just have a secret one or a free one—the internet overlords are not very strict about that definition.

Pardon me as I’m a bit reflective today. I put up my sticker for day 26 at the yoga studio to mark my progress in the thirty day challenge, and I’m feeling rather introspective about what this means for day 26 of my recently acquired writing habit. I’m not sure what form it will take after I conclude the challenge—I haven’t yet decided whether or not I’ll keep posting online, or if I’ll sweep my word scraps into an offline heap of a short story or novel.

Or if I’ll take it all the way off the table and start noodling around in an ultra-secret, no-boys-allowed journal.

But at least I know I don’t want to write about rugs?

It’s also not just that I found it a little dull, I also find it difficult to write about all the stuff I want to get because there is so many more important things going on. Admittedly, it took until I got to the pillows section for me to realize how absurd it was and remember how privileged I am. There is extreme poverty, racial injustice, gender inequality—this pitiful list doesn’t even begin to touch upon the severity and horror that is an everyday reality for so many people.

Thinking about all the human and environmental issues surrounding us can make me feel so small, and I think that writing about rugs just makes me another tiny voice clearing its throat in a world full of noise. Maybe there’s someone who can make the world a better place writing about that kind of stuff, but I don’t think it’s me.

So if you’re hoping to hear a plan, here is what I have so far:

Read and listen to a curated list of books and podcasts (hello, personal syllabus), and be sure to seek out my fellow female artists and artists of color so I can develop a better understanding of our world. Read poetry and the familiarize myself with the historical context and biographical information surrounding my favorite pieces.

Listen, every day. Listen to everyone. Ask questions. Listen more.

And finally, write every day. Write everything. Ask questions. Write more. Write until I can find a few sentences that can help soften the world. Because if I’m honest, that’s what I’ve wanted to do all along.

I want my words to soften the world.

Because if the world is a little softer, we have more space and energy to embrace our neighbors and to love those who are strangers to us.