Nearly two years ago I put my lack of web design skills to the test and threw together a WordPress site. I hesitantly put my thoughts together in a concrete form. I gave it a name, a face, and tried to build an identity. It is a daunting task when you know where you are going, with purpose and goals. When you don’t, it seems a little silly and haphazard, but it gave me a much-needed outlet on the days of monotony.
Then the samples arrived, the invitations. I felt validated and intimidated, obligated and unworthy. It is easy to dance when no one is watching. Writing flows when inspired. But what happens when that changes?
When I took the first freelance writing position, I remember my husband cautioning me. “It is easy to lose the joy when it becomes a ‘job.’ What is your goal in this? Is this what you want? ”
I hastily responded, “Of course this is what I want!” “You’re just worried it will take me away from home but I can do it.” So I got on Twitter and dutifully scanned. I tweeted and retweeted. I “social-media-ed” with the best of them. I rose early to write and respond and checked all day for opportunities to connect and “get my name out there.”
The opportunities and samples kept coming and with them, my to-do list grew. I should be…I’ve got to…I haven’t… I NEED to get something out there.
A few weeks ago I wrote about “being enough.” The idea being that our value is not tied up in what we do but in who we are. While I believe that to be true, I wasn’t living it. And while I was worried about whether or not anyone was listening, I was neglecting those that wanted to hear from me the most.
There have been headlines this year that made every one of us stop what we were doing and ache. They made us hold our children a little tighter that night. They made us reexamine how we spent our time. But then the new day’s needs rose with the sun and we kept moving.
But here is the thing, I don’t NEED to. Not right now, not in this phase of my life. My husband works very hard so that I can be home with my children. My “job” is creating a safe place for my children to learn and grow. My “life’s work” is not in wine writing. It is in the little lives I’ve been shooing away so I can put my Twitter handle in front of a few more eyes for half a second. It is in the friendships that I’ve been neglecting when I check my phone. It’s in the relationships, not the numbers.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am going to continue writing about wine. I love the learning, the outlet, the people I meet. I’m just not going to beat myself up if I haven’t written in a week. I will still tweet and comment and read, but not at the expense of my family. And I understand that this may cost me in unreceived samples and invitations, but I am okay with that for now.
Last week Catie McIntyre Walker, Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman, wrote what she called her “swan song.” She summed up so many of the thoughts that I have been having of late. Meg Maker just put up the following quote. “If you’re not disappointing someone at least once a week, you’re probably spending too much energy pleasing others.” This is something I am learning to be okay with. When I wrote “Transitions Part 1,” this post was swimming around in my head but had not yet taken form. Catie and Meg gave me the push I needed. I am ready to absolve myself of the nagging guilt that comes with trying to please those that may or may not be reading and return to a place where this is a hobby that brings me joy. I’m ready to focus on the lives I know that I am impacting.
So with that, know that you may not be hearing from me as consistently, but when you do it is a labor of love, not obligation. My children will be in school before I know it and at that time, I will undoubtedly have more to say. I will be able to write without 763 distractions per piece and I am sure I will miss the interruptions. Okay, that may be stretching it…