I haven’t written a post for BlogHer in over three months.
A few days ago, I made it official — I wrote a farewell email that was sent to all of my fellow BlogHer writers. One of the responses I received almost made me change my mind. She said: “You’re irreplaceable. There is a huge hole in the Love and Sex category and nothing will ever fill it like you did…Your posts were my favorite. When I got a divorce and started to get back in the game, it was you I looked to. I’m going to miss your voice and adventures.”
I don’t know what to say to that. I haven’t been able to write her back yet — whenever I think about doing so, I feel like I’m going to cry. It’s humbling when you realize your writing has had an impact on somebody else’s life.
But even with that knowledge, and as much as that woman’s words (and similar words from other people) mean to me, I know this is the right decision. Like other big decisions I’ve made in my life, I took some time to make sure this is what I really wanted to do and then I acted on it.
I can’t continue to write just because other people want me to. I did that for months, and it got to the point where writing wasn’t enjoyable anymore. I felt like I was searching for something…anything…to write about. I was writing because I felt like I had to — because I had a deadline and an obligation — and nobody wants that to be the reason they write.
The funny thing is, I used to enjoy sharing details about my life. For years, it was normal for me to write a post at least every few days. About a year ago something changed — I continued to write my weekly posts for BlogHer, but any other posts on my personal blog dwindled down to almost nothing. There wasn’t one overwhelming reason for that, but I have a few hypotheses.
For one thing, I feel like I’ve become more private in my slightly-older years. There have certainly been times in the past when I wanted to limit certain people from accessing my blog. (For instance, there was that time years ago when my then-boyfriend’s ex-wife was reading my blog and used certain things I said for ammunition against him.) And in the past few years that I’ve been online dating, there’s been more than one instance where a guy Googled me and found my blog before we’d even met in person. I’ve never been ashamed of my writing, but I didn’t necessarily like that a guy could know so much more about me than I knew about him. However, I continued to write even after those examples so they weren’t the sole reason for this decision.
Another reason I stopped writing for BlogHer is because I’ve been writing about being a single 20-something for over three years. I started when I was 26 and last week I turned 30. For years, when people asked me what I write about for BlogHer, I told them “I write about being a 20-something single woman.” And truthfully? I was opposed to changing that line to “I write about being a 30-something single woman.” When my 30th birthday rolled around, it seemed like a good time to make a change.
But that wasn’t the sole reason, either. I didn’t stop writing for BlogHer just because I’m newly-30 and single. (For God’s sake, I’ve always said that I’d rather be happy and single — both of which I am right now — than unhappy and coupled. That will always remain the case.) The lovely people at BlogHer said they wanted me to stick around and that I was welcome to write about an entirely new topic if I preferred.
I said no. I just can’t do it right now.
The reason I stopped writing for BlogHer is this: I did a lot of stuff in my 20s and I have a feeling my 30s are going to be just as full, if not more so. I want to keep myself open for new adventures and opportunities, and part of that process has involved making changes to things that marked my 20s. For instance, in the past few months leading up to my birthday I moved back into an apartment by myself, cut my hair shorter than I’ve had it in many years, and went off to Europe for two weeks. As it turns out, I needed to include the BlogHer gig in that list, too.
My personal blog has been a lot of things for me over the past eight years. It’s been a public diary. A place for friends and family to keep up with my life even though I don’t see or talk to them every day. A place for me to meet new people, some of which have become irreplaceable real-life friends. A place for me to let the world (at least those who take the time to read my words) know what’s going on in my head.
My personal blog will remain public and I will continue to update it once in a while. I’ve even been told that I’m still welcome to write for BlogHer in the future if I feel like it.
Over the years, people have asked me when I thought I might stop blogging. I’ve asked myself that same question, but it was impossible to know the answer. After taking this step, I must admit, I feel like I’m a little closer.
Why do I feel differently about blogging in my 30s than I did about blogging in my 20s? I don’t know, but I intend to explore the answer to that question.