When I decided to take July and August off from blogging, I didn’t realize I would spend a month in Maryland helping my parents as my dad underwent back surgery. I didn’t get home until September 6th and I gave myself a week for re-entry. I needed every minute of that time. It was astonishing how disoriented I was by my long absence, how hard it was to reinstate my routines.
Once I was settled, I wondered what to do. I needed to get the blog going again, but I was still feeling an intense disinterest. I know that waiting until I feel inspired is a good way to make sure I never do anything at all. Or as Struthless says in several of his YouTube videos, motivation follows action.
It seems like it should be the other way around, but it isn’t. I’ve experienced it myself many a time. I often sit down to write even though I don’t feel like it. Minutes later, I’m excited about my book and happy to be writing.
Still, the blog has become a struggle for me, as the graphic for my post about taking a break shows clearly. I decided I need to find a way to make it fun again.
I’m currently doing a daily journaling exercise inspired by a goal setting process outlined in the video How and Why To Set Goals. The first question is about what you find exciting, and that is where I’ve hit a real wall.
There’s lots of advice out there that you should never have a job that you find boring or dull or unpleasant because too much of your life is spent working. You are supposed to be passionate about your work, or, as Joseph Campbell liked to say, you should follow your bliss.
Sounds great, but I am having a horrible time trying to achieve this. I have to lower the bar on the questions every time I sit down. I don’t write what excited me. I write what I enjoyed. I haven’t been really excited about anything in months.
My lack of interest is understandable. I’m grieving. On top of watching my dad go through a major surgery, I discovered that my mom is right: he’s showing signs of dementia. It’s nothing like I thought it would be. It’s not that he doesn’t know me or anything tragic like that. It’s little things, like how he can’t answer a question, that make me aware that this isn’t the man I grew up with.
Ask him how he’s feeling and he’ll tell you how he praised the janitor who was just in his room, because good hygiene is important, especially in medical facilities. Ask him what he ate for lunch, and you’ll hear how the attendent took his tray away before he could touch it, as if he hadn’t had at least an hour to eat something. Ask him what the doctor said this morning, and he’ll insist the doctor was never there, although you know for sure that he was.
I also have a 15-year-old poodle who requires a lot of care because she has Stage 2 kidney failure. She’s holding up well, considering, but her end is definitely near. And I have been really tired since I got home, experiencing days where I lie in bed feeling drugged, too exhausted to move while also unable to sleep.
So health issues — mine, my father’s, and my dog’s — have been eating up a bunch of my time and causing me lots of emotions, including grief. Grief is draining. It saps the world of color and joy. It’s hard to feel happy and interested when you are weighed down by change and loss.
Despite the challenges, I’ve been turning things over, looking at all the advice on blogging.
Follow the fun.
Find your niche.
Do what you love.
If you aren’t enjoying yourself, you aren’t doing it right.
I’m still trying to figure this out. One thing I have remembered, though, is that passion can be a bad master. Being passionate about something can make us care too much, and that can make life harder. Fortunately, I don’t really need a project I’m passionate about. I just need a project I’m interested in.
How can I find a colorful, interesting project for the blog when my world has gone gray?
By giving myself time to write, to reflect, to grieve, to heal.
By giving myself time to settle into my changing world.
Do you expect to feel passionate about your work? And how do you deal with big changes in your life?