Sunday, April 26, 2015

HelloHello — Testing — Is This Thing On?

Anybody out there? I've wondered if anyone has even missed me, because it appears everything online went on just fine without me (no surprise there). But blogging brought the writer in me back to life, so much so that blogging was my hero for awhile.

Then, over time, blogging began to feel like an echo chamber. I blog. I want readers. So I read other blogs so they'll read mine. I spent a lot of time slogging through blog posts that, in hindsight, weren't worth the time. But then I'd read a real gem and think all that wasted time was worth it to find this one. It felt a bit like mining for precious stones, except it probably was more like a gambling addiction. One payoff would send me back for lots more wasted time in search of great writing and a magnificent, profound thought. And only bloggers read blogs, but by golly, some of them were reading mine, so who cares? It's a technicality.

 

I then ventured into adding a few of my blog friends to my in-real-life online places like Facebook. This also started a chain reaction of over-thinking and wondering if I was attending more to online relationships than the ones in my daily life. Lines grayed, and I felt confused and uncertain at best and irresponsible at worst.

My writing had changed too. I was no longer content writing about ordinary things in as much poetic description as I could muster. It was a disguise for the fact that I didn't have anything profound to say. I wanted more, something valuable to impart, and I didn't want my important message camouflaged in clever, lyrical phrasing. 

Meanwhile, back in my real life, I began floundering professionally. I was becoming less happy at work. But, because I am reluctant to change and  unambitious to a fault, I hung in there too long — long enough for them to down-size me and my paycheck to four days a week. It was the kick in the pants I needed to find a new job.

It took fifteen months, because the position I was looking for was what I thought I wanted. I thought I wanted to expand my writing by moving into communications and public relations. 

I knew myself very poorly then. I thought I knew what I wanted my life to look like, and then when I finally got it, I was miserable. 

I took a job in trade books and bookstore marketing. It sounds all glamorous and bookish, only it was retail and event planning. It took me five months to admit even to myself I'd made a huge mistake.

I no longer had a quiet office where I could think. I was on my feet all day long, making split decisions and solving problems in the public eye. I am the most ill-equipped person on the planet for that type of work.  I came home mentally, physically and emotionally drained — and at all times of the day and night, weekends included. Utterly depleted and without a daily rhythm, I had nothing left to give to all the most important areas of my life.

I read Susan Cain's book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking for two reasons. I had watched her TED talk, which left me wanting to hear more, and it had been on our Campus Bestseller table at the bookstore for about four months. That book did two things for me — two life-transforming things. It gave me permission to own my introversion. Secondly, it helped me realize that my job was slowly killing me. Part of me was dying on the inside a little more every day. It was time to cut my losses.

 

It took seven months to find another job. Then it took me another 6 weeks to slowly come back to life while I convalesced in my new position. Yes, convalesced. Although I am training and learning new job responsibilities, I am back in an environment I thrive in, doing what I now realize not only suits me, but what I had enjoyed all along. 

It'd be easy to say that I am now back where I started, and all of that was for nothing, but that would be the biggest mistake of all.  It was not a pointless detour. I may have come full-circle, but I am not back where I started.

I'm not the same person I was when my professional life began to unravel three and a half years ago. I'm not the same business woman, the same Christian, or the same friend. Our family dynamics have changed, as have my desires and priorities. I've grown stronger and wiser, and know myself a bit better. I'm a little more comfortable in my own skin. I've grown as a writer too, because although it's been quiet here on my blog, I was still writing and publishing in print.

I'd like to say I'm back, but I'm not. I don't think I'm done blogging entirely though. At least I don't think so. I'm not sure what this is or what it will look like going forward. 

I no longer think about writing a book someday. I no longer read online at the expense of my real life arenas.

A few things I do know. I won't follow the rules of blogging this time. Instead, I'll follow my gut, my heart.  Guts and heart make better reading anyway. I might even start fresh at another blog site. (If I do, I'll let you know, just in case.) I know I'm still a girl who loves God and his word. I'll still be working out my salvation with fear and trembling here (or there). And I'd love to do that together with you through meaningful conversation in the comments (which I've reopened). It's hard work putting feet of flesh to my faith, and hard work is always easier with good company. I've never had a lot of great conversation in my comments here, but I'd like to. It's something I always wanted, and one of the few things that hasn't changed for me. 

So I'm inviting you back or to stick around or to make the move with me. (See how messy not following the rules can be?) But I'd love to have you along, because I need friends like you to share life with and learn from and invest in. I'm not sure how often I'll post. It may be sporadic, but that's okay with you, right? I've never called a "real life" friend every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9:00 AM. I call them when I want to or need to, which is basically twice a week or in the middle of the night, or not at all for three weeks. This is going to be a little more organic like that, okay? 

This has been fun. It was good to see you again, but I gotta run. It's going to be another busy week here in my real life, but we should get together again soon.  
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