I've put off writing this post all summer because I'm so frikking scared of it. It's that kind of nagging fear that keeps you from going back to sleep when you wake up at 4:30 AM to pee and then lie there wondering if it will ever get light out and trying to imagine how you ever thought this pillow was comfortable?! while your mind jumps from terrible scenario to terrible scenario like a monkey on a sugar high. It's so much fun that I usually just give in and go downstairs around 5:00 AM to make myself a much-needed cup of coffee. As a result, I am prone to falling asleep while singing Sweet Baby James to my son at his 8:00 PM bedtime but he's surprisingly understanding and just prods me gently me until I resume singing.
The thing that's been scaring me half to death is that I've decided to try to make writing this blog my job. There, I've said it. Deep breath...
I'm terrified that it won't work, that I'll FAIL. The roots of this fear go deep - even as a little girl I preferred not to put it all on the line, to hold back a little, because that way, if I failed, I could tell myself it was because I hadn't really tried.
I've been lucky in a lot of ways - I was a great student and a natural test-taker so getting straight A's in school was more or less a breeze. And I happened into an amazing career in my early 20's - using the web to help progressive nonprofits build movements and create change. For the past 12 years I've been surrounded by an incredible team of people who are truly passionate about their work - they're out to change the world and they work their asses off doing it. But about seven years ago, I realized that saving the world in this particular way was not my calling - I was pretty good at it and it was intellectually stimulating and I loved my co-workers (still do!) but it just didn't grab me by the heart or make my soul sing (how many New Age-y clichés can I use in one sentence?!) But I kept on doing it for another seven years for a lot of reasons, many of which were good ones but the most powerful of which was that it was safe. I'm a fairly anxious person and safety has always been important to me. But, unfortunately, safety does not equal happiness or fulfillment...
For years, many people who've had the questionable pleasure of being a party to my existential angst about work have asked me, "Well, what do you want to do?" And I've jokingly answered, "I want to get paid to write my blog," an idea that I dismissed out of hand as impractical every single time I said it. After all, I'm the primary breadwinner for our family of four and blogging is not exactly a get-rich-quick scheme. But even though I've treated it as a joke, the truth is that writing this blog is what I actually want to do. I love food. I love growing it, I love cooking it, and I LOVE eating it. In a world that often feels like it's coming apart at the seams, where the toxic, 24-hour news cycle and even my Facebook feed are dominated by deeply disturbing things like the growth of ISIS and Michael Brown's shooting in Ferguson, growing and cooking good food is an affirmation of all that I find hopeful and nourishing (no pun intended, for once).
I also find the writing and photographing really fun and fulfilling. My very talented mom raised me and my very talented brother to view art as the pinnacle of human achievement. And although I no longer believe it's the only thing that matters, I still want creativity to be a big part of my life.
So even though I am shaking in my metaphorical boots, I'm gonna try to make it work. The worst that can happen is that I'll fail, right? Right?!?!?
But why am I telling you all of this in such a long-winded, semi-rambling manner?
- I need to make it official, so that I'm forced to start taking myself more seriously.
- I want to let you know there will be a few changes around here:
* In the next few months, I plan to redesign the blog to make it more user-friendly and give it a long-overdue facelift. It's not 2007 anymore...
* I will begin running ads and I may do the occasional sponsored post and get more strategic about my affiliate marketing efforts. I've never wanted to do this but, then again, if running ads and a sponsored post here and there enables me to do what I love, I think it's worth it. And hopefully, you will, too, since the result will be more recipes, better pictures and lots of new information about gardening, foraging and the like.
- Last but most definitely not least, I need your help! If you like this blog, will you please tell your friends and family about it? And please like it on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and sign up to get posts via email (there's a rather annoying double opt-in required, sorry!)
"I think a person who takes a job in order to live––that is to say, for the money––has turned himself into a slave. WORK begins when you don't like what you're doing. There's a wise saying: make your hobby your source of income. Then there's no such thing as work, and there's no such thing as getting tired. That's been my experience. I did just what I wanted to do. It takes a little courage at first, because who the hell wants you to do just what you want to do; they've all got a lot of plans for you. But you can make it happen. I think it's very important for a young person to have the courage to do what seems to him significant in his life, and not just take a job in order to make money. But this takes a bit of prudence and very careful planning, and may delay financial achievement and comfortable living. But the ultimate result will be very much to his pleasure."
- Joseph Campbell, An Open Life (with Michael Toms)