The past is behind me. Turbulence in my life like never before. Things I don't want to remember still come raging at me with a moments notice. A tsunami building that I have no control over. Sweeping me off my feet, backwards to places I don't want to go. As quickly as they come, they recede and the calm slow eddies of life return. It's been a long journey over the last five years. But I think I have finally found my new, calm backwater. Somewhere that is safe to just sit and reflect. To enjoy life and the moment for what it is before returning to reality and the mayhem of being mum to two teen boys as a young, under 40 widow. Slowly I am returning to normality. Normality, whatever that may be is a gentle paddle downstream. No nasty surprises around a bend, no waterfalls that I have no control over. Sometimes I have to stop, look at the map and reconsider the route I need to take to avoid the nasty surprises. Slowly I am accepting that, that is allowed. A small readjustment is good, a new direction may make all the difference.
Social media - hmmm, is that what it is supposed to be. I struggle. I find that the social side of it is not for me. I have time away. A detox. Time with my boys, to focus on what is important. Then I realise that I have missed out on real life social events because I have taken myself away from virtual social life.
I ebb and flow with social media in a similar way to the tides. Day to day it comes and goes and no-one really notices. However, every so often something changes and just as the spring and neap tides occur my love of everything social changes. At the moment the summer holidays are here. Everyone is off with families, pictures of hot holidays, dad's interacting, exciting adventures are bombarding my fragile mind. I want to hide, to dive deep and find my own adventure that doesn't need to be shared. I can do this personally, but my blog suffers.
I have lost my enthusiasm for social media posting of my blog. I see my followers drop off because I am not giving you anything and that makes me sad. I have a surge, that elusive 7th wave that is a 'big one'. I run back to buffer. I set up a weeks worth of posts for all my accounts. I am happy that I can make my readers happy. But after the posts have been delivered I am back where I started. Nothing has changed for my effort. A few people have liked a picture or made a comment, but was it really worth the effort. I wish I could close all my accounts, step back from the madness and just live the quiet backwater life. Is that possible in this world? Hopefully my newsletter will bridge some of the gap!
Getting Away from it all
My trip to Lundy with no modern technology was lovely. No internet, no television, no radio. Did I miss the outside world - of course I did. I was there on an island with two techy kids in a state of withdrawl and no contact with another adult. Of course there were adults there. In the pub each evening there were lots. But they were in their own family and friendship groups.
My boys had a ball and that is all that is needed to make friends. It is so much harder when you are an adult to sit alone and see where the conversation goes. It is easier to hide on your phone in your virtual bubble. I did chat to people but it was meaningless. I knew I would never see them again. I could be whoever I wanted to be in my imagination and they would never know the truth. This got me thinking about social media and the similarities - how the whole thing is in our imagination.
Maybe stepping away and living in the moment is what we all need to do. Forget the sharing, forget the messages. Face to face real life is what we should be doing before it is too late. But that doesn't help me share my blog or allow me to progress with my writing or my dream to make writing my future. I have always written, but I have never felt the pressure to share taking away from my ability to write like it does at the moment. A series of short stores as a 9 year old off school with glandular fever to professional articles and four published textbooks in my medical field were all written with enjoyment and enthusiasm. Social media and sharing has a lot to answer for in my current life.
I have been working with Mike from Fevered Mutterings over the last few months. I think I must be the most frustrating client ever. As my social media presence ebbs and flows so do my messages and enthusiasm. I want my blog to be lovely. I also want it to have value. However, currently my confidence is stopping me from publishing. My hatred of social media is stopping me from publishing. I have this constant thought of what is the point, what is the value which is stopping me from publishing.
I have my 'head book' which is full of ideas. I have a plan for the next six months of posts. Mike has produced some fantastic ideas for freebies and downloads for you. But I just can't write anything. If I write, who will read my posts, who will find me. Am I actually writing anything useful?
Maybe I should start a new blog, something grief related. Something that people are going through and need help with. This blog feels like pure indulgence. I am not an expert in travel, photography or writing and at the moment I am not sure of my 'why' for this blog. I want to share my love of the outdoors, beautiful locations and how to capture them for ever, but is that what people want? Is that enough value to make this whole idea work?
Should and Could..
I have been caught in this pool. Circling, thinking, researching and beating myself up for a long while now. I need to make a decision. But decisions are something that widows find really hard! Do I take the plunge, push myself and make this something amazing or do I remain stuck for a few more months?
Those of you that know me personally will realise that I don't ever take the easy route in life. I need to push myself and live life to the full. I have always been ambitious but that is now combined with a need to live life as if it is my last day and live it for my best friend as if he is still here. He would be supporting me with this project. He was an amazing photographer and we could have had a fantastic site.
Part of me is holding back as these thoughts are there, making me reflect on what could and should have been if meningitis hadn't been so fatal. I know 'could' and 'should' are bad for the soul. My counsellor has told me enough times that I need to think of 'will' and 'can'! That doesn't change anything. I am still sat here in my jammies thinking about what I 'should' do, from now on maybe I should be planning what I 'will' do.
My 'Will Do' List
So after this long ramble which is part of the great story writing course that Mike runs. I am being honest, I am showing you all the other side to the bold and happy adventurer. This is the doubting me. The unsure me. This is the me who is too scared to drive on the 'wrong side' so won't take the kids abroad as an independent traveller and hire a car to explore (and no I will NEVER consider a package holiday or cruise!!).
Right - my list:
- I will keep my blog going and attempt to write at least two long blog posts a month. I am going for the quality over quantity theory. However if something takes my fancy then there will be a quick post.
- I will spend the next few weeks doing a proper plan. Looking at my niche and what it really is and how I can be comfortable with it. I will share these thoughts on my blog, something new for me but maybe it is what I need to do.
- I will automatically push notifications of new posts through buffer to facebook and twitter and then share in a few relevant groups but nothing more for a while
- I will stop stressing about social media. So what that my Instagram account has dropped under the magical 10k, I can build it up again in the future. Please remind me of this when I am ranting!
- I will be a good client and will focus on getting my travel guides started ignoring the need for fancy maps that are driving me mad. You will have to make do with an OS Map link in the short term.
- I will write for enjoyment. That is what I wanted to do originally and I need to go back to that thought.
- I will go out and enjoy the freedom that I have. I will blog about these adventures and not worry about who is reading or whether it has value. It has value to me and that is all that matters right now (there was nearly a 'should' in that sentence!!).
- I will stop trying to be the teacher all the time. I will write more pieces like this, more reflections and more descriptive pieces about our adventures. The learning bits can go in downloads to keep my 'teacher head' content.
- I will share more of my photographs. Not just the nice ones. I will share the disasters and the out takes. I try and stop my critical and competitive side from taking over and limiting what I share.
- I will make this blog everything I want it to be and know that I am doing what we should have done together.
So my first blog post that hasn't been technical or about a location in any way. It is also my most open post. Some have come close but I avoided writing anything more personal after a passing comment from a friend. However, I think it needs to be done from time to time. This is my escape from daily life and if that is venting then long may it last.
This is also my longest post which has come together with the least amount of stress. Usually I am fiddling with images making them perfect, researching about places to give more details and spending a day on each post. Now is the time to post my stories with sensible editing and save the perfection and polished presentation for my downloads.
Tell me, is this what you want or am I way off track?!
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