“It’s not H-A-P-P-Y-N-E-S-S Happiness is spelled with an ‘I’ instead of a ‘Y‘”
“Oh, okay. Is ‘Fuck‘ spelled right?”
“Um, yes. ‘Fuck’ is spelled right but you shouldn’t use that word.”
The Pursuit of Happyness, 2006.
I think everyone comes to a point, every now and then, when they realise that the road they’ve been walking is actually a treadmill. You’ve been putting in a stack of effort and it feels okay for a while. Until you’re exhausted and burnt out and you discover that, for all that effort, you’ve been going nowhere. And you’ve been staring at the same freaking wall for the last two hours.
I’ve begun to feel that way myself, lately, and I think it shows here, on my blog– the space where I am Lori, infused and decanted and dripped pure. The place that’s always been a public, viewable salvation.
Lately, it doesn’t feel that way. Lately, I’ve felt more like a money–grinding corporate whore than anything else.
I think it’s been bothering me for a while now, eating at the corners of my conscious, attempting to peak my attention without scaring the sh*t out of me. That feeling of restlessness and boredom always comes from somewhere deeper. I’m almost sure it began when the offers of sponsored posts and reviews and giveaways started gushing into my inbox in tidal waves, and I began blindly saying yes without thinking at all what I was doing. Accepting sponsored posts for far less than what they are worth, given that you lot– the people who essentially support my writing– are the ones that have to suffer through reading them, when I don’t even like writing them.
And lately I haven’t liked writing them. It’s gone from being a challenge– “How do I take this product that I genuinely like and make it interesting for people to read?”; to a soul–sucking chore– “don’t think, just write”.
What bullsh*t. How freaking rude to the people who read this blog. How f*cking undignified. I’m too afraid to open my email inbox for the horrible feeling of being a coward, too nice and too afraid to just say ’no’. I have words dancing the back of my mind, joyful pas de deux that become sad pirouettes as I ignore them, day after day, spending my time either worrying or procrastinating or writing like a robot, programmed by myself.
It came to a point a week or so ago, as things usually do– all those tiny thoughts nibbling in the shallows of mind created at the centre, providing an apex of reason from whence to see what was really going on here.
I found myself writing posts for products I would not necessarily endorse. And the worst part was, it wasn’t a decision I consciously made. I just said ’yes’ to the money, without thinking about it. Would I generally endorse one–use plastic products for kids lunches? No. Would I generally endorse a fruit purée in favor of half a piece of fruit? Well… maybe. I’d certainly buy it. But I’m not sure I felt right about telling other people to buy it, too.
It was only on the eve of publishing those posts, while writing them, that it hit me– this was not cool. How could I have not thought of this earlier?
Auto–pilot will get you everywhere. But it may also get you crashed into the side of a f*cking mountain if you don’t sometimes look where you’re going.
At around the same time I (finally) had that epiphany, I was smacked in the face with another one. Because, as we know, the Universe likes to poke me. With sticks and other blunt objects.
I’ve often raved on about blog events, how awesome they are and how much I love them. So much so that I think I may have, again, let the status quo dictate all my further actions, without stopping to ask myself the question of ’What the actual f*ck are you doing here, Lori?’. Is it really necessary to go to these things? What could your time be better spent doing…?
I attended two events in two days a few weeks ago, both in the Sydney CBD. With the M5 freeway being the veritable carpark that it is, I spent a total of seven hours sitting in a car. Not my car, which I was thankful for at the time– taxis and town cars, provided by the big corporations who had invited me in for a media launch and ‘discussion over lunch’ respectively.
The media launch went for a whole hour. The ‘discussion’, where we’d been asked to along to ‘share tips to make life easier for parents’ involved two hours of us being talked to about how awesome a relatively new software product with an awful reputation is. Admittedly, I left that event early. But I’m still not convinced there would have been any actual ‘discussion’ involved.
The total transport cost, to have me in the city for three hours over two days? $900.
The cab drivers were thrilled. I felt a bit… sick. A bit dirty. You could feed entire families on that for a month, if you went to where it was needed.
I can hear the obvious counter–rationale to this one– if not me, someone else will fill my spot. The money will undoubtedly be spent elsewhere. I’m fairly sure that’s okay with me. I’m certainly not saying I’m never going to another event– some of them are not only entirely interesting, but downright enjoyable. It’s just that the whole episode suddenly changed those lenses on the world, on the way I see myself.
It’s fairly well known amongst my fellow bloggers that I exist in somewhat of a social bubble. It’s quite common for me hear things like “GOMI is talking crap about us” or “Woogs had dinner with the PM” and respond with “What? Really? Wow! When?!” So it was kind of timely to discover that I’m not the only who feels that way… it seems the shine is rubbing off what may turn out to be bullsh*t for a lot of us (and I think this is the point where I confess I have a massive girl–crush on Eden and she may just be the coolest person I have ever met. I also know I’m certainly not alone in this).
So… that’s that. I’m sick of writing blog posts about stuff I don’t really care about, and letting the writing I want to do slide into the background. It may mean I’ll be a bit harder up for cash… Or it may mean I’ll just have to get a bit more creative making it. I’m no longer attending every event just because I’ve been invited and I don’t want to miss out, especially if I’m well aware that there is no way on this earth that I’m going to be writing about it. I’m going to stop doing giveaways just for the sake of it, unless its something really, really awesome.
And I’m going to spend more time being happy– more time doing what makes me happy, I’m going to write what I want to write. I’m going to harness that ‘all bets are off’ attitude that’s surprisingly easy to come by these days. I’m going to spend more time doing yoga, more time playing with herbs and creams. More time exploring. More time in my sadly neglected garden.
And in reality, laced with the best of intentions as those ideals are– I may do none of those things. But I won’t be a slave to myself any more, either, and that’s the aim of the game here. The happiness, I’m sure, will follow.