Today I am ONE! Well, more accurately, today The Art of “Why Not?” is “publicly” one year old! After a few months of toying with the idea of a blog, I finally mustered the courage to hit publish and tell the world about it one year ago today. Birthday or blogiversary — whatever you call this milestone, it’s been a year of learning more than I thought I could and of not accomplishing nearly as much as I expected to!
It’s also been a year of questioning, re-thinking, planning, and pivoting. During one sleepless night, I allowed some of those questions to flow freely. At first, I was just thinking in terms of blogging, but now I look at this list and realize that no matter what endeavor any of us decide to pursue, we all need to consider these questions. Life is short, and you have something very valuable to contribute to this world. Whether you want to grow your blog or have a different passion you are pursuing, answering these questions for yourself will help you “keep your main things the main things.”
For whom am I doing this?
Originally, this blog was a space to chronicle a new season of my life. But…why? Gazillions of people in the world are empty nesters, why does anyone care how my day-to-day looks? As I thought about this question, it began to dawn on me that we are not meant to walk through seasons alone. Our experiences can not only enrich our own lives, but those with whom we share them. Does the content I create benefit anyone, or is it just an online journal? Obviously, I’m hoping for the former, but I know there are times I just write for me.
Who gets the glory?
It is incredibly easy to lose sight of this is one. My days are gift, given by God. Anything good that comes my way is from Him, and anything good that comes out of anything I do should be for His glory. But is sure is easy to bask in the glow when someone says, “What you wrote made me teary!” or “You made me laugh!” or “That post really made me think.” Sure, I love the positive feedback, but there is a fine line between giving glory and seeking glory. I don’t want to cross that line.
What is being neglected?
Every minute I spend working on this blog is a minute I am not spending doing something else. Think about that: every minute spent is a minute you will never, ever get back. Are you spending it on the right thing? Am I spending it on the right thing? Am I neglecting things that should be getting more of my minutes, minutes not distracted with thoughts of what I want to do with this blog?
Sometimes my writing inspiration and motivation comes later in the day — right about the time I should be preparing dinner and welcoming my husband home from a stressful job and an even more stressful four hour a commute. Which choice am I making on a consistent basis, to give him a safe place to return each night, or to keep working in this space? And as the evening unfolds, where is my mind? How fully does he have my attention?
I do have a “real” job (one that pays a little money and requires real work!), albeit part-time; I am a teacher. Are my students getting as much of me as they did before “The Art of ‘Why Not?'” became a thing? If not, I am failing them. And I never want that to happen.
And then there is all of the daily responsibilities of running a home: finances, cleaning, home maintenance, feeding the family, laundry, correspondence, scheduling, lawn care, errands, vehicle maintenance, ad nauseum. Frankly, when done very well, this in itself is a full time job. And just as frankly, I’ve never done it very well. But I certainly don’t want to do it less well. How do I prioritize the responsibility of creating and maintaining a clean, inviting home against the responsibility of creating an interesting, helpful blog (because that is my goal, and since I have put myself “out there” in the public eye, I do consider it a responsibility)?
I don’t have an “official ministry,” though I have a few ideas, one of which I thought would be a reality by now. But I have come to realize I already have an existing ministry: the people whom God has placed in my path each day — my mission field. People are my (and your) ministry; my head knows this, how often do my actions reflect that knowledge?
I know a healthy lifestyle is key to so many things, yet I frequently forego healthy habits because I am anxious to sit down and try something here. And sleep? I am writing this at 3:08 AM — need I say more?
Where should discipline be applied?
It takes discipline to publish a blog. Ideas must be born and researched. Projects need to be planned, scheduled, completed, and photographed. Posts must be written then promoted, assuming I didn’t just do all of that work to have no one read it. Social media, email, tweaking the website…I admit I underestimated the time it would take. And the discipline.
I also underestimated the discipline it would take not to spend too much time on this chunk of internet space. Blogging is addictive! I could play around here everyday, all day. Whether it is the the backend stuff (I have been surprised how much I enjoy tinkering with design and code!), or the writing, I really do love this crazy thing I have gotten myself into. However, my life, the one that happens in the “real” world and that has “real” responsibilities and “real” people, is still here, often waiting for me to close the computer. It is a good life and I don’t want to miss any of it, and it is way too easy to let life pass by outside my window while I am sitting in front of this screen.
It is going to take discipline applied in all the right places — to the work of living my life, and to the work of creating and maintaining this space (along with the other ventures that may come from it!) — to maintain a healthy balance.
Am I willing to be accountable to a schedule?
I prove the old rule “what you have to do will expand to fill your time” everyday, and can attest to the value — no, the necessity — of at least a loose schedule. Without it, my “real life” will be ignored — the laundry will never be folded, dinner will consist of whatever I can throw together in 15 minutes (hmmm, can I serve leftover chicken and rice with cheese quesadillas?), and, oh, was I supposed to go to work today?? Or the other side of that equation, the life of my blog will be hit or miss — my posts will never publish when I want them to, or they may not even be written because the ideas left my head before the words could leave my fingers!
Am I making time for my life?
If you have to write “Live Life!” on that schedule you just created, then do it! Whether you are the head of the PTA or the head of a large corporation, you are busy and have likely found yourself having to schedule any number of routine life events. Seriously, when you were 20 did you ever dream you would one day have to put “sit alone with my husband for 15 minutes” on your calendar?? If I’m not living, what am I blogging about?
What about you?
As you pursue those things that are important to you, whether your job, hobbies, or long-postponed dreams, what questions and priority conflicts have you had to tackle? Please share your experiences in the comments — I would love to learn from you!
Find me and many others sharing our stories here!
Don’t miss these other reader favorites!