Last night I had a dream where you came to my house to announce that you were going to shut down your blog and we (me + many many random people who were there) could ask you any questions we wanted. My question is: If you could write one more article before leaving this world (blogosphere or planet earth), what would you say?
Wow. This is probably the most challenging question I’ve ever gotten here on the blog! At the same time, it’s also a topic that’s interesting to contemplate. We all get into routines. When it comes down to it, I’m so used to having a set blogging schedule in place every week that it’s like second nature to me. I started this blog in its current incarnation over three years ago and I plan to continue for a very long time. But, back to your question. Bloggers by nature are always planning for the future. We’re always thinking about what’s next after we hit the ‘Publish’ button. When that’s no more and you’ve reached the end of blogging, how would you metaphorically wrap up all of those loose ends?
In my case, I realized a long time ago that there’s much more to life than blogging and the internet. While this blog contains a pretty good overview of my overall aesthetics and thoughts, in reality it’s only a small part of my life. I view my blog as a creative outlet to share my work, thoughts and inspiration but it’s not comprised of everything I do. So in a way, I would want my hypothetical final article to be bigger than my blog. Essentially, it would contain pieces of advice that are important to me and help guide me through life.
Some of you are fans of Oprah and some of you are not but either way, I felt that she hit upon a profound moment in the closing page of her January 2011 issue. In it, she said:
In July, I read a Vanity Fair article about the making of Michael Jackson’s album Thriller. The piece quoted some of Michael’s friends saying that one of his biggest mistakes was never realizing that Thriller’s becoming the number-one-selling album in history was a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. And because he didn’t realize that, he spent the rest of his life chasing that success.
Reading that was a big aha for me. The reason I had wavered was fear: I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to duplicate what I’d done. But as I thought about Michael Jackson, I began to see that not only can you not duplicate success, you’re not supposed to. Every new endeavor is created out of the quality of the energy you bring to it and is meant to be its own thing.
Popularity, fame, notoriety (or whatever you want to call it) comes and goes. Sometimes you’ll be more popular than others but through all of that, it’s important to appreciate what you have because you can never again relive that exact moment. In a society obsessed with documenting everything that happens, it’s important to just block that out sometimes. What YOU are doing in that space of time can’t be replicated, no matter how much documentation you have of it.
Do what you need to do to make yourself happy. Stop chasing past accomplishments and instead, set new goals. Stay true to those goals and say no to things that make you unhappy (I am still working on this). Oprah closed her article with:
What I know for sure. Fear comes from uncertainty. Once you start clarifying your purpose for doing something, the way to do it becomes clear.
I wholeheartedly agree with this. While this advice is fairly general and it’s been said a million different times in a slightly different manner, the point is that a lot of times, unhappiness stems from feeling stuck, feeling like you don’t have a purpose or perhaps most profoundly, like you can never relive a past experience. That energy has to go somewhere. Blogging makes me happy, having a career in design makes me happy, having a list of goals that clearly define what I want to do next makes me happy. It’s all connected. That purpose, whatever you decide it is will help to propel you forward.