There Are So Many Blogs / Why Even Bother?

I haven’t been able to write tonight. I sat in front of my laptop for over an hour, looking at my list of topics, trying to think up new ideas but unable to string more than half a sentence together. They say that to write well, you should write often. I’ve tried to prioritise writing and make it a weekly habit but lately I have felt like I don’t have anything of value to say.

If my ideas either aren’t interesting or have been done to death, why bother? I feel like I’m letting myself down when another week goes by and I haven’t written a single thing. In the past I’ve blamed that on being time poor but at the moment I simply don’t want to write and that makes me really sad. It’s meant to be something I love yet I haven’t felt like doing it for the past month. Why is that?

There is so much content available to everyone, all the time. And so much of it is bullshit; the last thing we need are more click bait blogs about ‘the top 10 tips from happy couples’ or ‘6 things he does that make you sure he’s the one’. Relationships still fascinate me, but the number of articles written about them is getting intolerable.

And that’s fine – writing has always been something I’ve done for myself, I’m not writing to get a billion clicks and so it shouldn’t matter what anyone else is doing. But when I start to get sick of seeing articles about the very same topic I write most about, it makes me wonder why bother writing at all.

This is a very new feeling for me. I may have limited time or writers block preventing me from writing, but I never actively think about not wanting to write (and don’t think the irony of writing that sentence is lost on me). Part of it comes down to expectation; if I didn’t have an expectation of how often I should be writing, I would be free to do it only when the desire struck and there would be no over thinking it. Part of it comes from knowing that, for me, this blog is about more than just having an outlet – it’s about working on a skill, something that requires practise, and so the expectation is almost necessary in order to achieve that.

It doesn’t really matter, though. There will be periods where I don’t want to write; periods where I wonder why I bother if it continues looking less likely to result in something I do for a career. But if you took one of your favourite hobbies and relied on it to make a living, would it still be your favourite? Maybe there will be times when I feel like quitting altogether but I know that will pass. Writing is what I’ve always done. I’ve been doing this for the past 20 years. It might take a back seat or get put on hold from time to time, but it’s always going to be there. It’s a part of who I am, after all, and I’m glad that’s what I ended up realising through all this. 


What Don’t You Want?

I am currently reading Amy Poehler’s book Yes Please. I believe that comedians/people who work in comedy are some of the smartest people, at least from a socially smart perspective. They observe, notice and comment on life in ways that make everyone else laugh because they are so damn true and you had never really thought about it until they said it.

So, it isn’t surprising that Amy has little golden bits of insight and advice and that some of this has ended up in her book. I’m not going to list out all the great things Amy has said, suffice to say it includes such gems as Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it” (which is brilliant yet terrifying advice that everyone should remember). What I am going to do is talk about something she wrote that has stuck with me;

“I think we should stop asking people in their 20s what they “want to do” and start asking them what they don’t want to do. Instead of asking students to ‘declare their major’ we should ask students to ‘list what they will do anything to avoid’. It just makes a lot more sense.”

When I read this, I laughed because it was so damn true and I had never really thought about it. In fact, I’ve given so little thought to what would be on my list of ‘what I will do anything to avoid’ that when I read those words, I was stumped. I stopped reading and started thinking.

Why had I never put any real thought into what I don’t want? When I am smack bang in the middle of my 20’s, a time notorious for figuring out what you’re doing with your life, I never stopped to consider tackling it from the opposite angle. Knowing what you want is hard. Truthfully, there are a lot of opportunities and things I would be happy to do, so of course it’s hard to know what I really want to do – my dream job might not even exist yet! But if I know what I want to avoid, then surely the path to getting where I’m meant to be will be easier, with less unwanted pit stops on the way.

I imagine a lot of these lists include “not settling in one place”, “no 9-5 office role” and “don’t want to work for somebody else” but none of those things would crack my list. The things I want to avoid at all costs might be a bit more subtle, I don’t know – I’m still working on it. But that’s the best part – I am working on it! This was a new idea to me, a new way of thinking and something to try to learn from. And no matter who you are, I really believe one of the best things you can do in life is to keep on learning. So thanks, Amy, for your words of wisdom that have taught me to look at life from a different angle. What more could you want from a book?

Long Distance Christmas

Christmas Day has always been big for me. We celebrate with two lots of family gatherings, with anywhere from 20 – 30 people; grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins and enough food to sink a small ship. I’m not a Christmas nut; I get sick of Christmas carols playing in shopping centres before I even step foot inside; my family doesn’t all dress in red and green on the 25th of December and my house doesn’t have a Christmas light display. But, based on numbers alone, Christmas is a big day for me. It’s a family affair. I’ve never been away from home for Christmas. I know no different. I can’t imagine not being surrounded by family on this day.

Of course, not everyone is like this. Christmas is unique time in that it can simultaneously be the happiest and saddest time of year. Perhaps you never celebrate Christmas with your family or at all, or perhaps you always have and this is the first year away from family and friends.

This Christmas, some of my favourite people will be away from their family for the first time ever; be that because they have moved to the other side of the country, the other side of the world or are holidaying through the festive season.

I can’t pretend to know how these people are feeling – whether they are sad or happy or ambivalent about this. I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge them, and let them know that I am sending love and season’s greetings, as I’m sure their families are too. I hope they, along with everyone else, find some Christmas cheer no matter where or who you spend the day with.

It’s My Birthday And I’ll Cry If I Want To

Anyone who knows me, knows I am notorious for crying over any and every thing. In this way I am similar to a baby who hasn’t learnt to talk yet and can only communicate through tears and sobs. Sad, stressed, angry, confused, happy, thankful, tired, hungry – no matter the reason, crying is my outlet. This is in fairly stark comparison to the fact that I’m actually a rather rational and logical person. I tend to think with my head rather than getting caught up in my emotions. The crying thing is just something I’ve never been able to control. Go figure.

So today is my birthday and I had told myself I wouldn’t cry. Unfortunately for my tear ducts, I forgot about birthday cards. There is nothing I love more than a thoughtful birthday card or message from loved ones. The problem is I have all these amazingly fantastic people in my life who seem to feel the same way about me, because they write these really lovely birthday cards. Which makes me really happy and thankful and, of course, cry.

But hey, if the only thing making me teary eyed today is reflecting on how great the people in my life are, and how great my life is in general, I’d say it’s a pretty good day!

Mockingjay Part 1 Made Me Hate Katniss

Last week I wasted 2 hours of my life watching The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. I went with a friend, who slept through most of it (wise choice). While he was sleeping, I was wondering how many other people in the movie theatre were waiting for something to actually happen. I could tell you everything you need to know in 2 sentences; testament that the final book was surely only split into 2 films for one reason: dollar dollar bills yo.

I’m not hating on the series – I enjoyed the first two films and will still watch Mockingjay Part 2, to see if it makes up for the aimlessness of Part 1 (I haven’t read the books to ascertain this). However, I wanted to state upfront my disdain for the third instalment in the Hunger Games series, as it has probably had an impact on what’s to follow.

Mockingjay Part 1 made me hate Katniss. For someone who’s meant to be the strong, female protagonist and considering young women apparently look up to her character, she comes across as a pretty shit human during this film. Let me explain why;

1. She’s ungrateful
She gets rescued from the dome of death after several members of the Hunger Games have been working together to keep her alive and the first thing she does is get angry at them all for not saving Peeta; a  guy she doesn’t really like and just feels guilty because he’s in love with her. And here I was thinking it was common courtesy to thank people who save your life.

 2. She’s selfish
The leaders of District 13, who are now clothing, feeding and providing shelter for Katniss, ask her to be the face of the rebellion to help free everyone from President Snow’s dictatorship. She immediately declines and says they have to go back and save Peeta. She doesn’t pause to think about all the people she’s being asked to help, instead thinking only about her wants. She also ignores the fact the Gale is still in love with her, only paying him attention when she needs his help or when he’s quote ‘in pain’.

3. She’s dumb
She runs the opposite way after being told where to go to seek cover and ends up in open air with planes dropping bombs overhead. She brings a cat underground into District 13 when she knows pets aren’t allowed, resulting in her sister nearly getting locked out when she goes back to save the cat while the doors are being sealed shut (which was also pretty dumb, maybe it runs in the family). She tries to fire an explosive arrow indoors for fun. She doesn’t think twice about Snow’s warning that ‘it is the things we love most that destroy us’ and Gale’s words that it was ‘too easy’ for them to escape with Peeta and nearly gets herself strangled to death. Seriously, how could you not put those two together and at least wonder if it was a set up?

I’m sure she’s different in the book and the book itself is different to the movie (let’s be honest, the books are always better). But seriously, Mockingjay Part 1, get your shit together.