Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Okay, So Maybe I Won't Go As A MacBook For Halloween This Year

In two days, the countdown to my birthday will begin. On July 2nd, I will have officially survived my 30th year on Earth. 

As many of you know, I started this blog last July, right after I turned 30, as a sort of way to cope with things in my life that weren’t working and documenting the changes I saw in my world by removing bad habits from a routine I had become quite accustomed to. The idea was to write out my experiences throughout my 30th year. At the time, I was butting heads with my family, I was miserable at my job, I wasn’t in a relationship and didn’t feel like I was heading in any kind of significant direction. I didn’t have major plans for the blog or any of my writings for that matter. I just needed an outlet and didn’t feel like I had anyone I could talk to. 

Now, almost a year later, I am pleasantly surprised at what this blog has become. I never really expected to have any actual “followers” and seeing my page view hits increase steadily since day one has kept me inspired to keep writing, stay vulnerable and remain open and honest with everything that comes up for me as I work my way through my life as a 30 year old. I’ve gotten some incredible feedback from people about the relatability of what I discuss and the comfort some have found in knowing that they aren’t the only ones going through the shit. I have been told that my words have been inspiring and motivating and have even encouraged a handful of people in my life to start their own blogs as a way to sort through their own feelings. That part has really been neat! 

So... now what? 

I remember being about 25 or 26 and thinking to myself as I puffed away on a cigarette that I would never allow myself to smoke past 30. This was my way of feeling better about buying that next pack or lighting up my eighth or ninth cigarette while at the bar. 

I can also remember back to January or February of last year when I saw my 30th birthday creeping up on me and feeling like there was no way I was going to be ready to quit smoking by July. I enjoyed smoking and when I was ready to quit, I would quit. No deadline necessary. 

Then, just under one month before my 30th, I had that last cigarette sitting at a bar in the Suncoast. I was thinking of my nephew who was on the way, the promise I made to myself in my mid-twenties and overall, how unhappy I was with the decisions I had been making. Somehow, when I put out that last Parliament, I knew I was never going to light up another cigarette for the rest of my life. 

Well, not EXACTLY like that... but similarly, when I began writing this blog, I told myself I was going to make it a year long project and would wrap everything up on July 4th weekend of this year, right after I turned 31. I wasn’t really sure what would become of it, but just having an idea of an “end date” gave me the motivation to write as frequently as I could and cover as much ground as possible with stories of my past, happenings of the present and wishes for the future. 

However, when I checked my total page views for the month of April and saw that I had reached an all-time high of 1,285 views, I thought to myself “why stop now?” I love that I have people who read my blog the minute it’s posted... or when I’m out with a random group of friends and someone who I didn’t even know read my blog mentions something that I wrote. Or when my aunt comes into town that I’ve never really known before and says “I feel like I’m meeting a celebrity!” 

Yeah... now THAT’S neat. 

But then, I find the same thing happening that did last year when I knew I was ready to quit smoking. I find myself wanting to stick to what I had planned and wrap up this Sin City Seagull blog in just over a month. There are a few reasons behind this. 

First and foremost, when I was sitting on that bed last fall, looking at $20,000 cash that was being given to me to quit my job at Chili’s and pursue a writing career, I was overwhelmed and speechless. I couldn’t believe someone had so much faith in what I was doing that they were willing to put that kind of monetary support into seeing this become bigger than just a blog. When I discussed with my friend, Whitney (also a writer), what I was supposed to do with this newfound talent that was actually getting support, she told me to focus on putting together content. Write for a year, just like I said, and watch what unfolds as I do. So... that’s what I’ve been doing. 

By the time my birthday rolls around, I will probably have in the neighborhood of 75-80 blogs. And, as many of you also know, most of them aren’t exactly what you would call a “quick read”. I have close to 300 pages of rough blog drafts that could easily be fattened up with more detail, history and, most importantly, lessons in retrospect. I have close to twelve months of a crazy ride that has brought me full circle in a physical sense, but with new ideas on friendship, family, love, money, trust, work and a new faith in the universe. Well, a new faith in myself, really... 

Therefore, I’m going to give it a shot. I’m going to take all of this and start putting it into something that might be considered “publishable”. I’m not exactly sure if what I come up with will take the form of a book of essays, a non-fiction recollection of life as a single 30 year old in Las Vegas or a novel based on my life experiences. Or maybe a weird combination of all three. But, I want to give it a shot. I think I owe it to myself to see how far I can go with this. 

Additionally, I really want to start venturing out into more creative writing. I had posted a test-run of a review blog I am working on told from the perspective of a four inch tall stuffed dinosaur named Moe. While I got very little feedback on the Hawaii blog I put together to test it out, I loved writing it! Unlike Sin City Seagull, which can sometimes be emotionally exhausting and heavy, it made me laugh to see the kind of personality I could give an inanimate object. Not to mention, I love traveling and trying out new things, both near and far, and this kind of writing makes that part of my life all the more interesting. I’m thinking that might, one day, be something I could put together to target a different market. Or, something that will just keep me laughing well into my golden years. 

Finally, I want to get out from behind the blog a bit... I feel like I have made huge strides as far as being able to better communicate what I am feeling with those in my life that mean the most to me. However, while I have found this remarkably easy to do behind the safety of my Mac, I still find myself holding back in person, getting defensive or hiding out for a while in the hopes that things will blow over and it won’t be so difficult to deal with. 

I find that there are still opportunities to create better relationships with my family, more focus to be put into the most meaningful friendships in my life, more chances to sit in silence with myself and listen to what my heart and head are collectively sharing with me and an endless supply of love to give to the one that finds his way through my barriers. All of these things I want to do eye to eye, not simply through the posting of pictures or the happy stories I share with everyone except the person who is the subject of my gushings. 

This is a whole new project that will take time, effort and that magic word: vulnerability. 

It makes me anxious and excited to see how this last month of blogging will turn out. I’m sure there will be times where I will need a similar outlet in which to express myself and so, of course, I’m leaving the blog available for whenever I may need it. But as a whole, I’m ready to wrap up this year and see what kind of gift I can really make out of it. 

I’m grateful to all of those who have been with me on this journey from day one as well as to those who joined at any time over the last 74 blog posts. It is YOU who have inspired me to continue on, give it my all and ultimately, follow this path into something even more exciting that I could have dreamed. 

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

~ Henry David Thoreau

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