Life ebbs and flows. That’s just a fact. No one remains static. What a boring world it would be if we did. Sometimes we are absolutely obsessed with something or someone for awhile and then we blink and we fall out of love. It doesn’t need to be anything big or dramatic. For awhile I couldn’t get enough of toast with avocado on it and then one week I forgot to buy an avocado at the grocery store and just like that I forgot about how delicious it was and how much I only wanted to eat that for breakfast every day.
Okay I just made myself hungry.
My point is that some things grab our attention and hold on for a period of time before they quietly slip away. It happens. It’s totally okay. But what happens when you lose interest in something that has been so tied up with your identity that falling out of love with it triggers some deep emotional contemplation?
You write a blog post about it. Obviously.
The title of this post leaves little need to explain what it’s about. But before I start I’m going to put out a disclaimer. When I say these things no longer interest me, please read that with a big fat asterisk at the end of that statement.
So let’s be clear:
- Just because they don’t interest me now, it doesn’t mean that’s forever. I reserve the right to change my mind. Always and forever.
- This post is not meant to offend anyone. If these things float your boat then more power to you. My loss of interest is in no way me saying these things are stupid or pointless or anything else that might imply you should stop or re-evaluate your own life etc. My motto is You do You, and I’ll do Me.
And with the disclaimer out of the way let’s jump right in.
1. Reading Challenges & Book Tracking
For many years–and I’m talking pre-Goodreads here– I would diligently track every book I read throughout the year. In the beginning I would write up a short blurb on my thoughts and even rate the book in a notebook or a fancy journal. In the beginning it was a fun.
Until it wasn’t.
Flash forward to the recent years where I’m setting yearly reading goals of 50+ books, while trying to participate in several reading challenges, and sharing every book I read on social media using more hashtags than I can even recall. In short it went from being a fun thing I did just cuz to something that resembled work more than play.
For a writer, reading has become this thing you have to do to prove you’ve got the stuff to make it in the industry. (I hope you read that with heavy air quotes) The more books read the more legit you are as an author. Or at least that’s the narrative that we pretend isn’t a thing. But honestly, it’s taken the joy out of reading. By the end I was just chasing a number and barely paying attention to the books. Done with that.
2. Social Media
Followers, Likes, Shares. Oh My!
I’ve talked about this a lot over the last few years so I won’t beat a dead horse with a stick. But I challenge you to watch The Social Dilemma and NOT get freaked out. Go on. I dare you. The system is rigged. It’s designed to make us feel bad/inadequate/addicted etc. etc. It didn’t start that way but hey, shit happens and that’s where it’s at.
I’ve deleted Facebook. Like for reals this time. I had enough and I just did it. It felt amazing.
Instagram has this weird hold over me. I’m not using it–haven’t in over a year–but I have this irrational fear that once I delete the account I will miss those photos I’ve posted. You know the ones that sit on my other devices that I NEVER look at? Yup, those. It’s illogical and it’s a band-aid I need to just rip off.
I’ve been giving Twitter a last chance. I’ve been carefully curating my feed to see if it adds any value to my life. After a month if I find I’m not benefiting from it in any way DELETE.
3. Traditional Publishing
Okay look, it’s time for some real talk. This hasn’t been easy for me to acknowledge or even to accept. I’ve danced around the topic for awhile. I’ve struggled with this realization because for many years getting traditionally published was all I ever wanted.
But the publishing industry is broken. Like social media it had great intentions but it’s falling short. It’s letting authors down and even more disturbingly it’s gaslighting hard working creatives into deep dark pits of despair. It’s not the writing that’s pushing us over the edge. We all know writing is hard and we’re okay with that. It’s the lack of support.
Not enough support, you say? Impossible! Publishers help authors get their novels into the hands of readers.
Sure. It does. But not nearly as effectively as it could. This trend to have traditionally published authors head up their own marketing campaign is bizarre. I mean isn’t that the whole point of getting an agent and publisher? To market you (the author) in a way you could never do on your own? They have the money, the connections, the clout–it’s a no brainer! Except that only applies to a select portion of the authors who have made it into the industry. Yet another hurdle to jump.
If you are interested there is a really great video by Michelle Schusterman that perfectly explains how important marketing support from a publisher truly is for an author and the prevalence of gaslighting in the industry.
And that is why despite loving to write, I no longer strive for the publishing goal I long held as the ultimate achievement. I’m tired of the games.
This one actually surprised me when I realized on December 12, 2021 that it had been an entire year since I’d written in my journal. One whole year. I don’t think I’ve ever gone that long without writing in my journal. This was a ritual I had performed on an almost daily basis for years and years. I have Rubbermaid storage bins full of spiral notebooks, pretty journals and makeshift notepads containing all the thoughts that swirled through my brain. Journaling was as much a part of me as my love of tea and potatoes.
And one day I just stopped doing it.
I don’t really have a good explanation. It was never a conscious decision to stop. But when discussing this with Brandon, the proverbial yang to my yin, he suggested it was because I no longer needed it. And that got me thinking.
All these years I have been searching to better understand myself. To find my place. I felt lost, misunderstood, and alone. Journaling was a way for me to find myself. To write until things made sense. And while I’m definitely not saying every thing in life makes sense to me–that statement is so laughable–I think I might have finally found me. Which segues perfectly into my fifth point.
5. Fitting Into Society
I think a part of me always knew I was different. My thoughts, feelings, likes, and dislikes didn’t always match up to those around me. Truthfully, they hardly ever did.
But the difference between then and now isn’t that I’ve changed. It’s just that I’ve stopped pretending. I’ve stopped hiding. I’ve stopped trying to fit in. And perhaps if it appears that I have changed then maybe it’s that I’ve stripped away who I wasn’t to become more of who I am.
Like me, don’t like me. Agree with me, don’t agree with me. Like I said earlier you do you and I will do me. That way everyone gets to be themselves.
And on that note I hope you all get to be your best you. If you’re hanging onto something that doesn’t feel right anymore and you need permission to let go, then consider this your permission granted.
Go enjoy life.