Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up for July 29, 2012: Thoughts on Blogging and My Future as a Blogger.

It has been quiet here for a couple of weeks. I kind of..."unplugged" for a little bit without really intending to. And then, the longer I was gone, the harder it was to sit down at the computer to type out a post that I wasn't that inspired to write. I do think some of my inspiration has come back for writing, but my reading has been almost at a standstill.

I know it's normal to go through phases as a blogger (and as a person) in regards to what catches your interest and what drives you forward. For almost three years, I have been propelled forward by my online identity. In many ways, my online persona was more important than who I was in real life with the people around me. There have been many times in the last three years where I would simply escape online because I felt comfortable here.

Recently? I haven't felt that way. I have felt awkward and stumbling when I try to compose my thoughts. I feel like an awkward elephant when I try and hold conversations. So, I stopped writing. I stopped obsessively checking twitter on my phone every ten minutes. I stopped reading my Google Reader. I actually stopped coming online to do anything blog related, but instead focused on keeping up with family on Facebook through my phone. That's it.

In many ways, it feels freeing to be away from a computer. There were days when I didn't even come on the computer at all (I will admit to doing things on my phone). I think I have finally found a bit of comfort in things beyond an online identity. I think I am finally okay with who I am outside of this blog.

It has been very easy to let this project consume me when I had nothing else going on. In fact, I convinced myself that as long as I was blogging, I had a purpose. This is probably why I stopped being so active, why I stopped trying to be overly social. I would spend hours reading, visiting blogs, and writing content in hopes it would "fix" me. And while I certainly owe a lot to my online life...there is a lot going on in my personal life that I can also be grateful for.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Matt recently got a new job. I also landed a teaching position for the fall. In a matter of a couple of weeks, we went from two mid-twenty somethings with "so-so" jobs and barely making ends meet, to being two mid-twenty somethings with real jobs and a purpose. Our lives have changed and our circumstances have changed. All the anger and negativity towards our situation, the economy, etc has reversed. It has left me feeling...stunned.

I am still adjusting to the fact that I am no longer a 27 year-old with two college degrees and no job. I'm a grown-up now. I still cannot wrap my head around the change. And where the blog used to be my focus and my drive, I am now even more focused and driven on being the best teacher I can be. Example: School starts after Labor Day. I have spent HOURS the last couple of days outlining chapters from the World History textbook so I can start prepping power points and lessons. I have contacted other teachers in the school for pacing tips, etc. School is at least 4-5 weeks away. That is how focused I am.

I'm not saying that this change is a bad thing. Like so many other things, my hyper-focus will eventually fade. After all, this is something I do a lot. I find something to consume me until I realize that I can relax (because really, I know that I will create good lessons and I don't have to have everything planned before school starts, you know?).

But I do think some changes are coming to the blog and who I am online. I obviously haven't been online nearly as much recently, and while it was odd at first, I liked being away. I like feeling like I didn't have obligations.

I have also been thinking over the parameters of my reading and the initial goal for the blog. I was supposed to read 250 classics from a list, right? And I am only at 150 or so. Maybe a couple months ago I would have freaked out about that, but now I'm not. Originally I wanted to be done in three years, but that mark is coming up on September 1. Will I read 100 classics by then? No way. So do I think I'll finish in one year? Two years? I have no idea. And...I don't really care.

At this point, I think I have realized that it isn't about reading a list of books and then feeling accomplished when I cross them off. In the last 3 or 4 months, I have read what has grabbed me, whether it be a classic, fantasy novel, or something completely random. It doesn't matter anymore. I still prefer classics over anything else, but is it really going to hurt me to stretch out those last 100 books into 2 more years? 5? even 10? No. What matters is that I have changed as a reader because of my hyper-focus for the last three years.

I don't need to be like that anymore.

So what does that mean? I don't know. I still like blogging. I missed writing while I was "unplugged" and was amazed at how hard it was to get back into with only a small break. But I don't know what blogging will look like in the future. I'm sure it will slacken with school (because it always does), and I think there will still be a few more personal posts. But I don't know what the books will be.

I think...just a little bit of everything.

It is all so up in the air right now that I can't even form it into something coherent to share with you all. I think, just letting you all know that I am uncertain is enough for now. And acknowledging that it is okay to let go of super crazy restrictions you make on yourself. I have felt so confined by my own rules that this bit of freedom has shown me more about myself, if that makes sense.

In any case, that's all I have to say this week.

*I marked my Google Reader as "all read" earlier this week. Please let me know if there is a post I really need to see!*


  1. I have just started reading your blog, along with others, and I think what you have done is amazing. Life is always changing and sometimes plans have to change. You are going to be an amazing teacher!! I will still be interested in what you have to say about your new life and career, even if you don't blog as often :) You have inspired me to read more classics during my mid-life, and I thank you for that. Best wishes to you!

  2. I have to echo Missy's sentiments. I have read with fascination for quite a while and I think you've progressed a lot in that time. In time you will find a good balance between your real life and your virtual life. I've been learning that so much of life is trying to find balance. It's always changing and you just have to do the best you can and be true to who you are. I cannot wait to see what you have coming. Good luck!

  3. Over the past few months it seems like offline life is really turning towards a more positive chapter for you, and I'm so happy for that. It's a challenge when our lives change, even for the better, to adjust to that going forward. I sincerely wish you well as you adjust to your new reality and the challenges it brings, and hope you may find the balance that will be most pleasing to you.

  4. Someone out there says it takes 30 days to develop a new habit. I think that is what is happening to you (and Matt). It takes time for the adjustments to set in and a new pattern to exist. It's okay to do all you want, sometimes a couple of things have to just wait in line for awhile for that to happen. As for your lesson planning-that is just so cool ;). I would be doing the same thing (oh my, did you get that from me?). Something new comes along that needs my attention and I'm 100% there. So just enjoy the changes and it all will just come out the way it's suppose to. Don't force anything, just do and be. Isn't it great!

    Love, Mom

  5. This is EXACTLY how I've been feeling lately. EXACTLY. (And I agree with everything said above me, especially by your mom. Cheers, Allie!!) x

  6. This sounds like a really healthy direction, Allie! I can't wait for the school year to start for you. :)

  7. I'm so happy about the teaching job. We've seen your dedication before and know you will be great at it. World History, huh? Don't forget to point them to the "classics" -- the original source material. Obsessing about anything isn't good...balance is good. Go enjoy your balanced life!!

  8. Balance is so important with everything in life. Once you begin to feel unbalanced, it's time to step back and take a break!

    Congrats on the teaching job!

  9. I think you're finding a good balance. I've tried to keep the rule of no computer/blog stuff on the weekends. I sometimes break that rule, but it helps me keep perspective and spend more time with the Huz when he's at home. Good luck this fall. You are already an amazing teacher. So excited for you!

  10. I'm so happy to hear your life is finally on the right path. Having followed this blog for a little over a year, it's wonderful to know you've finally found the teaching position you so desperately wanted.
    Which brings me to this- take your time, write when you want and rest assured that we will be here. Personal posts, classic literature or not, we'll be happy to read them.

  11. As everyone above I also think there's really no need to worry about this "unplugging". It's normal that the need for the blog/online in general has decreased. When you needed them they filled a big whole and now that whole is being filled with other things. That's a good thing!

  12. Great reflections here and congrats on the job! I am really happy for you and know how much it means to you to have gotten that teaching job at last! :) You will be AMAZING!

    I really relate to this post though. I used to be super involved in my blogging life as well and let it consume me because I felt that it was an escape. I'm not as involved anymore. I still blog and always will, but I'm not as obsessed anymore as I used to be. Some days I miss being as involved as I used to be. I don't get many comments any more, have lost touch with a lot of blog friends, etc. but I am also glad to be living my "in real" life more.

  13. I just re-entered the blogging online world myself after a 6 month break. I completely understand the hold blogging can have on life but now I realize I miss parts of it. Need to learn to balance online and real life. Congratulations on your teaching job and figuring out how to adjust both lives.