Thinking out loud

I GOT to have a chat with a very good friend this morning. Which in itself is a win, since she’s a veritable social butterfly and manages to uphold a sundry of friendships (you know the type that knows everyone but still remembers to ask you how your doctors appointment went?).

Anyway, the words “mid-life crisis” were giggled out amongst the general malaise of everyday work-life angst. It’s occured to me that everywhere I turn lately, there’s some debate about what is the accepted ratio of parenting to paid work.

Don’t worry, this isn’t another of those posts. I think I’ve exhausted that debate about 200 posts ago.

But when did it become so hard to define what makes me happy? In my teens I just wanted to get into a good uni, in my 20s I just wanted to graduate and get a job in the journalism field, and then in my mid-20s (hey, I’m still a young pup) I just wanted to leave the newsroom and start a little family.

And now?!


Now what?! I work from home in the field I studied, have two children and even have investments. Why aren’t I skipping through my days? Enjoying the abundance that is my blessed life? Of course the short answer is that it’s hard work, I’m tired, blah di blah blah.

But it’s more than that. I’m used to sleep deprivation. I’m used to my work arrangement and even find pride in it, despite its challenges (AAPT, I’m looking at you!). I get to shoot off for a weekend and play like I’m a proper author. I dabble in the apparently decadent second novel. I can enjoy my children rather than just slotting them into my unoccupied parts of my day.

So what’s the problem? Well *clears her throat… I’m going to blame bloggers. In part, anyway, of the bigger social media conspiracy to make us feel shit about ourselves.

I’ll never be as stylin’ as the likes of Nikki Parkinson, I’ll never be as funny as Veronica Foale or , I’ll never write as rawly as Lori Dwyer, never have as many kids as Naomi Ellis. Have I left anyone out?

I was surprised that my friend too had tried to cull her blog-lust because it “burned” her. Amen, sister *finger snap x 3.

Of course bloggers aren’t evil. They’re beautiful. Some are so beautiful it’s like looking at the sun, you have to look away or you’re going to do some permanent damage to your retina… or your psyche.

And they’re not blogging about their fabulousness. Well, if they are, it’s unlikely I’m a subscriber. For the most part they’re just sharing their lives with others, hoping to inspire or educate or even just to “find their tribe”.

But when you see so many options, so much creativity, flair, originality, passion… your life becomes ordinary by comparison. And I’ve never been okay with ordinary.

In which case, I try to work out what is about me that is original and fabulous. Which would probably be my writing. Process of elimination here, people. I don’t have tickets on myself. I’m not a gardener, not a seamstress or a knitter, I don’t enjoy cooking, my baking is, at best, edible, I don’t own a DSLR, I don’t play sports or computer games. I read and I write. Otherwise I work, clean or care for kids. Writing HAS to be my thing.

*whispers… But what if I’m not any good?!

If publisher knock-backs are anything to go by…. Sob, I’m off to pretend my digital camera has a lens you can wrap your paw around.

When does your self-doubt hit hardest? And what do you do to stay above it?



6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jentbrave
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 07:06:13

    it’s impossible to read lots of blogs, facebook, media sites & talk to people – who are doing something like what you want to do, or wish you could be doing, or are even currently doing – without feeling self conscious and behind. Especially in creative endeavours where the art (writing, photography, mixed media, fashion) is impossible to judge in broad strokes. Everyone likes what they like.

    people will 80% of the time try to make you feel “less” in order to widen the gap in the make-believe race that they perceive to be between you – whether on purpose or not, who can say …

    what i aim to do, pete is to try and remember why i’m creating in the first place. If it’s to voice what you want to say, if it’s for fun, or eventual monetary gain, or even just because you kinda like it – if you try and fit yourself into someone elses criteria, you’re already in danger of just copying and losing your original vision.

    by just working on what you want to work on, when you’ve got the time and creative energy – you’re already doing exactly what you need to be doing. You’ll win your own race in your own time. And you’ll do it in your own style that others will try to copy and keep up with one day, without you even knowing about it.

    Your writing IS original and fabulous, because it came from you and you’re AWESOME!!

    J x.


    • petajo
      Nov 14, 2011 @ 22:59:42

      I know – and I’m not exactly stopping altogether (grecian urn, for example!) but sometimes they stop inspiring you and just make you depressed!


      • petajo
        Nov 15, 2011 @ 05:04:27

        Ahem… So I just got to read your full comment Jen. For some reason before it stopped at “something like you want to do”. And subsequently I sound like I DO have tickets because I said “I know” after you called me awesome! 😛
        Anyway…. you make very valid points! xx

  2. Karl
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 08:29:03

    You are Lisa Simpson.


  3. marketingtomilk
    Nov 15, 2011 @ 17:31:35

    oh Christ, I rarely rise above self doubt, but as soon as you start judging yourself against others – pah, you’ve lost right there.



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