In summary: The Breakfast Club detention took place on March 24th, 1984.
Thirty years ago today. Thirty years. Guys. Thirty. Thirty years. If that does not spur you into feeling old, I don’t know what will. Or you just never watched The Breakfast Club, which is your loss, but it doesn’t change my current state of trauma. Just yesterday I crossed a pack of highschoolers in a parking lot and held my head down not wanting to look “big kids” in the eye. Now, technically, those "big kids" could be my children. This is how anxious I am to avoid the harsh reality of adulthood. I'm not ready for this. Not. Ready. Which brings me to something I have been meaning to mention…
If you picked up on some spottiness on the blog lately, you are right. I have been taking some self-imposed time outs to work on my fitness. And by fitness I mean ice cream and cable TV, but whatever, it’s my couch. My blog. I’ll be slothful if I want to.
The truth is I have been having some tough conversations lately. Conversations with myself, my employer, and the people around me. Conversations about what comes next. Where do I want to be in five years? What do I want to be when I grow up? Am I a grownup already? Oh, crap, when did that happen? Does that mean I am officially a grownup? Did I run out of choices? Are there do-overs? Is there still time to order dessert? Who said I asked for the bill already? I’m not ready for this kind of commitment. So not ready. Who said I already decided? Am I too old for a mid-life tantrum? Am I? AM I?
You know, that old chestnut.
The fact is, I’m not really sure. Five years ago I went through some major, major changes. And it damn near killed me. The good news is, I bounced. I hit bottom, I bounced, and I landed. I landed somewhere comfortable. And thanks to a steady job, some freelance clients, a network of awesome and inspiring people in my life (a couple in particular :)), and a nightstand loaded with self-help books, the last five years have been just about the bestest and easiest of my 34 so far. I have it good. Real good. Not a day goes by that I don’t count the abundance of my blessings on my fingers and toes, three times over. I know my story could have gone in another direction. In terms of human growth, my growth, five years is a lifetime in itself. To ask myself where I will be five years from now is a messy, way-beyond-wet-naps messy, and loaded question.
Aunt Peaches (the website, not the person) is coming up on four years this summer. I feel like I am coming up on the crossroads. Somewhere along the way this went from a cathartic weekend hobby to an all-week part-time job with barely part-time income. It’s been awesome. However, I worry that I could be, or should be, investing that time into other areas of my life. On the other hand, I wonder, if I invested what is left of my free time into the blog, could it become something more substantial? Could it be a primary source of income? I see other people doing this all the time – why not me? What would happen if I buckled down and spent some time on self-promotion? Or developed a basic business strategy and optimized my site and feed readers? Or all those other things that smart people do? Would turning a fun thing into a job thing make it suck? Would that change the tone and thereby change the readership? Is the blog market oversaturated already, and do I really have anything to add to the conversation? Really? Do I? Really?
Don’t answer that.
It’s a tough one. And I don’t flatter myself to think I am unique in contemplating these questions...
What worries me more is that there is no safety net. No spouse. No immediate family. No extended family within 1,000 miles. Plenty of friends and amifams to help pick up the pieces if something went wrong (see above mention, aka: the whole of my 2008)…but yeah. I’m too young to embrace adulthood, too old to be living on someone else’s couch. This is scary stuff. The concept of being my own boss is far more terrifying than joyful. I know what it’s like to live on the brink of disaster. I’ve lived on public assistance. I’ve gone to bed hungry. I’ve done things for money that I didn’t want to do. I don’t ever want to go back there. I don't ever want to let myself feel that desperate or that helpless ever again. My current state of stability isn’t just convenience, it’s something I owe to myself. My past self. I don’t know what I would do if I lost it.
And yet, on the other hand, for once in my life, my lack of connections works in my favor. I am solo. My current load is light. No dependents, no liabilities, no parents to worry about, no major monthly living expenses. As stuff goes ($tuff), I’m pretty flexible. I’m still paying off my student loan but for the first time in a long time, I can see the light at the end of that tunnel. My health is good, and thanks to the Affordable Healthcare Act, I can get reasonable health insurance for under $200 a month (--fyi: in 2008, the last time I was self-insured, it was double that and then some for crappy coverage, so youbettcha I’m grateful for Obamacare).*
*This is a perfect example of something I would not be able to mention if this blog was a job and not a hobby.Anyway. It seems like the stars have aligned in a way to spell it out in big bold letters, IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE, NOW IS THE TIME TO GET UP OFF YOUR ASS AND CHANGE IT.
Ughhhhhh. Can you hear the fizzle in that? Yeah. That’s apathy creeping in under the door. Opportunity is knocking but apathy wants in whether I answer that door or not. I’m desperately trying to keep it out. I’m trying to drive forward and figure out what comes next, but the path of least resistance keeps leading me to the couch with a half-eaten carton of ice cream and a loaded DVR. How is a gal to resist?
I’ll admit. I’m not doing so well right now.
Part of this process is sharing this issue with you guys. This post is not fishing for advice or encouragement, I promise. My hope here is that by being as public and as honest with you guys as I can, it’ll spur me into accountability. And decision making. Tough decision making. Rawrrrk!
In the next 90 days, I need to make some tough decisions regarding me. Regarding this blog. Regarding my job. Regarding my road map. Regarding the future and how these things play together.
Do I quit my job and throw myself into online entrepreneurial adventures? Do I find some other job and ditch this blog to give new prospects my undivided attention? Is it possible to find some balance that works with both (better than what I have now)? Do I want to give up the freedom of blogging about whatever I want, whenever I want in order to attract readers and more sponsors? Would it be weird to no longer have to be anonymous, hiding my name and my appearance online? Would it be awesome to sink my teeth into something new? Would it be terrifying if I didn’t know how much money I would make next month? What would I do if it didn’t work out? Would I regret it if I never tried? Am I putting all my eggs in one basket? What’s my Plan B? What will it look like if I fail? What will I look like with my bangs grown out?
A lot of questions. All of them admittedly self-indulgent, yet, some of the most important I will ever face.
And then the answer came by way of email from my friend Hillary who wrote, “I got it! I know what you can be when you grow up!” followed by a link to this video:
And there you have it. The answer to all my questions wrapped up in a crazy Californian lady living in a self-imposed Kingdom of Cats. Say what you will about the business model, but as far as inspirational life choices, this beats all.
So there you go. Oprah, eat your heart out.