June 2, 2015

5 Years Later: My Thoughts on Blogging

5 years ago, I started this blog. That day feels just like yesterday and also like a million years ago. So often now, I can't even remember life without blogging. I remember life before my own blog, because most of my time was spent reading other blogs; I remember the first blog I ever read, Emily's Cupcakes and Cashmere, and if I were to go back through her archives, I'd probably remember the first posts I ever read too. But if you ask me what I did with my time before I discovered the blogging world, that is where things get a little blurry - I'm pretty sure there was some more TV time and plenty of online time (that is how I discovered blogs after all), but the specifics tend to be a little lost on me. 

To say that discovering this world was life-changing for me wouldn't even begin to describe it. So much of how I spend my time these days has to do with something I've discovered through other blogs or through my own blogging journey.

For my whole life, I struggled with figuring out what I wanted to do once school was over. I loved school because I loved learning and not because it was a step towards building some sort of career. Learning was my passion, so I couldn't even imagine what I would do when that chapter of my life was going to be over. Thinking about the future and careers was always a huge stress point.

In retrospect, I realize that all the stress was because I hadn't found my calling yet. When I discovered blogs, it felt like I arrived home, like I finally found a place where I could fit in, where I felt comfortable. I truly think that is because the blogging world is not at all about fitting in (at least to me) but rather about celebrating differences, and in a beautiful, twisted way, that is what brings us together. At the time, I hadn't found that feeling in any career path I had considered. Sure, there were things I found interesting and that seemed like something I would enjoy doing, but the thought of doing them for the rest of my life terrified me.

That said, when I first found blogging, I didn't think about it as a career path. It was, more than anything else, something that I felt could really let me express myself, my creativity, and be fully and unapologetically me. Sure, having Cupcakes and Cashmere as my very first blogging inspiration, which was already a couple of years into its existence and gaining quite a bit of success, the thought of eventually making blogging into more than just a hobby was there, in the back of my mind, from the very beginning.

This shaped the way I wrote my posts and the way that I still do, as if a great number of people are reading them, even if that was and now, 5 years later, still is so far from the truth. That is because one of the main reasons that pushed me to start my own blog, beyond the opportunity to express myself, was the prospect of creating connections with people from around the world, of creating a community that valued the same things that I did and still do. I couldn't find those people in real life, and blogging helped me to realize that it wasn't because I was just an odd kid unlike anyone else, but rather that those people may be further out into the world. Writing and creating in this space had the potential to help me connect with them.

If I had to sum up all those feelings I had about blogs at the beginning of my own journey with them, it would be that blogging opened up my whole world. And it happened in a time when I needed it most, when a few years after moving to a new country with just my parents and my brother and leaving behind everyone and everything else I knew, I still felt very lonely. When I am engaged in blogging, whether that is writing posts, reading other blogs or doing anything else related to them, was and still is the time when I don't feel at all lonely, when I feel like I belong.

Now, 5 years later, those same feelings hold true. The thought of making this blog into more than just a hobby is still in the back of my mind, I am still working on growing and nurturing a supportive community around those same values that I know so many others share, and I still approach every blank new post page with the same mix of excitement and nervousness that I always did.

That doesn't mean I haven't had my share of struggles with blogging along the way: I've stressed over comments, visitors and monthly pageviews like I'm sure all bloggers have done at some point, and I've even thought of giving it up for a second - before realizing what a crazy thought that would be! Through it all, I managed to find my own take on blogging, and right now I'm feeling very positive about it.

I've freed myself of all the pressures to follow along with the trends, to post every day, to be active on all possible social media channels at all times of the day, and to compare my blog to any other ones out there. I've decided instead to enjoy my time blogging and to make it an experience that adds value and joy to my life rather than tension and stress. And because of that, I can honestly say that, 5 years in, I feel like I'm jut beginning and I don't intend to stop anytime in the foreseeable future. I hope that you enjoy this space as much as I do, and that you'll keep coming back to join me in this journey to living green, healthy and well.

Happy 5 years, The Summer of June!

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