Simplify, simplify

So I’m stuck on this post.

We all know I’m quite the stressball. I worry a lot. I think a lot. I worry about thinking a lot.

This new year was really hard for me – 2010 has been very difficult, and I’m so very anxious for 2011 to be stupendously amazingly wonderful. That puts a heckuva lot of pressure on me and my life. I kept thinking of the many ways that I (and my life) just wasn’t enough. I talked to Justin about all the changes we need to make in the coming year, and all the things I need to improve, and all the things I want to experience, and all the things I wish we had. And it sounded very whiney and greedy and negative. And I didn’t like it.

I am trying to pinpoint some of the sources of those grand ideas of perfection in my head… and I was able to locate one big huge chunk of it: reading blogs. People, I read a LOT of blogs.

When I first started blogging, almost six years ago (!), I swear, there were like 100 blogs out there. And it was fun and easy to keep up with everyone’s lives and kitchens and crafts. But now? I am completely overwhelmed with the number of really amazing blogs out there. (Did you know there are over 200 Austin food blogs alone?) And as my interests have changed, I just kept adding all of them to my Google Reader. As of yesterday, I had 260 blogs in my Reader, with way over 1,000 unread posts. That’s just crazy.

It’s stressful to try to read all these blogs, of course, but even more so, it’s stressful to compare myself to them. How can I possibly compare myself to a blogger who blogs for a living, who doesn’t have a full-time job, who has all day to take photos, cook, research, craft, write, network, and be present on every social media platform available? And how can I ever feel like I have enough when I am inundated daily with so many messages of things I should have/do/be/wear? You know, I don’t watch that much television. I don’t subscribe to a lot of magazines, or hang out in shopping malls, or even read the newspaper. But I would bet that I am getting advertised to (for products, services, ideas, and shoulds) tons more than people who just watch television – just from reading so many blogs.

At first I tried to just ditch my Google Reader. But I missed it. There are a few blogs that I really love reading, that really inspire me, that bring me joy. So I tried putting my favorite blogs in one folder in my Google Reader, and tried to ignore all the others. But then, at night I’d find myself peeking at those other blogs (what if I miss out on something?!).

So last night I unsubscribed to a ton of blogs. I just deleted them. (Eep!) I am now down to 60, which is obviously still too many, but it’s a vast improvement compared to the 260 I had before. I plan to really look through these remaining 60 in the days to come, and pare down any that don’t make me feel good inside.

It’s a small step, but it’s a step forward, right? A small step toward appreciating what I have, simplifying my life, and making time in the evenings to read books, or exercise, or bake bread (I baked bread last night! And read a book!). A small step toward disentangling myself from this highly addictive interweb.

And even then, there’s still Twitter, and Pinterest, and Tumblr, and 8Tracks… how did I get in so deep? And I know that all of these things aren’t bad things, but I think I have overused them in my own life. I would like to step back and start living, instead of reading about everyone else who’s living. I’d like to write my blog because it’s my  journal, my life, my interests.

We’ll see how long that lasts. ;)

(By the way, the irony that this post is a bajillion words, and is about simplifying does not escape me.)

**Also, I’m taking a break from Music Monday. I will likely still post playlists each month, but will not worry about posting songs every Monday.

4 responses to “Simplify, simplify”

  1. i read your blog all the time but i think i’ve only commented a few times. i just wanted to say that i think one of the reasons i enjoy reading what you post here is your honesty (and of course the pictures and the food!). in my opinion you’ve totally hit the nail on the head (i can empathise with a lot of what you’ve said). i wish you every happiness this year & best of luck with ‘simplifying’ and living life 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, K. I really appreciate your sweet comment!

  2. altought I´ve been blogging for less years than you (this will be my 3rd) I feel exactly the same as you. There are out there just too many blogs that more than webjournals are a mean marketing and sales tool to sell their products or draw people´s attention through giveaways 🙁

    I still have like zillion blogs on my readers (google and feedly) but to be honest there are only a few blogs 10 – 20 that I really enjoy to read, because I feel there is a connection and the bloggers are honest, real, normal people like us.

    Yours is one of those honests and hearted blogs I like.

    1. Wow, thanks so much, Heidi. That really means a lot to me, and I’m glad that you’re reading. 🙂

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