When I was in my twenties and thirties, I exercised faithfully as if it were my religion. If I skipped just one day, I was certain my body would go to “fat hell.” Focused. Driven. I was a slave, obsessed with repenting the sins of fat. And yet, a part of me enjoyed this sadomasochism. As a dancer and a ex-collegiate athelete, this intense physicality gave me an endorphin high… A rush… I felt healthy, radiant, a disciplined warrior fit for a marathon.
But mentally, physically,.. I was probably far from it. Que sera…
Now that I’m in my forties, I’m glad if I just make it to a forty-five minute workout, two to three times a week. When you get older, a voice inside you says, “Bitch, you’ve earned the right to not exercise!” Or it says, “Go ahead, order the fries and be happy with your pudge.” Mentally, it’s like I’ve already crossed the finish line and some lack of discipline is forgivable.
Until my body’s real estate discovers those nasty flaws, which now has me enslaved to pants vs shorts. No longer prime, everything past forty seems to droop, wrinkle, sag or bulge . Being forty isn’t so pretty from my backside .
Women my age, who are mothers are lucky…
Okay, I know a mother’s life isn’t always sunny-side-up. I have a mother and know how hard she works. I wasn’t an easy child. But a mother’s privilege is to pudge without budge. They hold the battle scars of motherhood divinity, the gift of holy trinity. The privilege of raising tiny human being, who will need you and love you back. What more could you want?
But when you’re a solo traveler, career woman and “mother” of a blog, you don’t have any gift, much less an excuse. It’s as if any battle scars you’ve gone through in life are reduced to a feather-weight comparison, next to those who have taken the chastity of real parenthood.
When my laptop hard drive had a meltdown, I was playing Ms.Fix-It — instead of paying for a costly repair. I was feeling overwhelmed with the juggling I was doing: installing a computer hard drive (when I’ve never done so before), finding work so I can live a normal life, maintaining my weekly blog and vlog posts, its social media work, etc… As a joke, I posted the above instagram photo to my Facebook account and got instant replies from friends~
“Wait until you have kids. “
The response was for a good laugh…. But somewhere it hit a nerve.
First of all, as a single woman in her forties, if I felt I could have a child at this time, I’d gladly grant myself that gift tomorrow with a turkey baster, knowing in full, my life and all it’s choices would not be my own. I’d gratefully bear that cross. But that wasn’t only it.
I resent the idea that if you’re single, people see your life as one giant bowl of freedom Cheerios!
Is travel blogging my unhealthy addiction?
I feel overworked as a “parent” of a solo travel blog. alone and that’s gotta count for something.
My blog cries, the moment it’s not given enough attention in reader hits. The moment my server goes down, I hold my breath waiting for the fever to pass. If something goes wonky on it, I drop everything and for the next several hours, I’m digging into online tutorials, troubleshooting forums and absorbed in ways to fix it. I juggle so many hats from video, photography, writing, graphic/web design and troubleshooting, that I easily lose track of the hours. There’s social media to attend to, promoting my posts so they get read, dealing with advertisers, learning about the travel blogging business, finding work with sponsors, uploading photos, etc… my day never feels like it ends. In fact, you’d be shocked to find that often, it bleeds into the following morning.
Many assume that bloggers clock out of work, the moment readers read a post and walk away. Friends and family think all I do is write for a hobby. And take photos. And shoot videos. And play on Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter, Pinterest… And let’s not even start in with the other career jobs I juggle, so I can afford to travel and live an American lifestyle, that doesn’t include a sleeping bag and a cardboard box!
Although being a traveler, it’s not like I haven’t experienced bits of that already…
This blog is my metaphorical baby and as a business, she’s a lot of work! If I had the money to spare, I’d love to hire a blog babysitter, to handle email tasks and social media blasts. Sometimes, I even fantasize about a blog husband, where I say:
“Honey, you take the baby tonight.” Or “We’ll tag team it together. You edit video and photos, while I write and handle email.“
No, life is not easy for a solo travel blog mother, swinging it all on her own.
When I die, I don’t want my epitaph to read:
“Please LIKE, share, tweet, watch, follow, subscribe.”
When a reader comments on my work or emails me that I’ve inspired them to travel alone or teach abroad, my work feels rewarding and meaningful. It’s like telling me my child has scored an “A” in school, that she looks lovely in her dress or that she’s inspired other kids to have fun, but play safely. To know my blog affects people in good ways, might help them conquer fears or give them that extra push to follow through on their travel dreams.. is why I love doing what I do.
But travel blogging isn’t helping my “health regimen” at the moment, and something needs to change. It swallows my gym time and disrupts time between me and my yoga mat. It devours my meal time and interrupts my sleep, to the point I find myself writing blogs in my dreams! Of course, there is also a pressure to be successful, get sponsors, grow followers and have folks read and view my posts. I’d love to make a living doing this. But the amount of “living” that I sacrifice for my blog is getting out of hand. This obsessive cycle of work, reminds me of when I was an artist and used to smoke cigarettes. Fueled by creative ideas, I’d keep puffing, forsaking meals and sleep, while racking up an ashtray of genius ideas and cigarette butts. Yes, I’ve lived many days and nights on nicotine, water and air.
Okay, maybe I have an intense personality. ..
Perhaps being a single woman in America, workaholism is in my national blood. It’s like being on a speeding train and not knowing where to stop, because I’ve all the freedom to overwork my life, until it crashes. My blog gives me meaning, purpose, some money and even a bit of an identity. It gives me an excuse to continue to do what I love in traveling. But if I were a real parent, I’d know where to slam on the brakes. If my blog were a real child, I might instill stronger work boundaries, be more disciplined so that there would be no crashing. Maybe.
I know I have to slam on the breaks, before I lose the joy in what I do. I know I have to self-intervene and step away from the computer for a bit. But it’s not easy. Sometimes, I write my blog and sometimes, it writes me and a big part of my blog has become my life.
Meanwhile, it also threatens to drain my life.
And that’s just plain unhealthy.
Or is it?
What’s your unhealthy addiction and how do you deal with it?