I feel like this is going to need a disclaimer. Because I know people can get touchy when I use terms like “Grown Up”. I remember watching a Jenna Marbles and hearing her explain that to her, being a grown-up means buying stuff you hate. And I love that definition. You can probably find the video easily if you want an explanation of that statement but I think a lot of people get it.
So by grown-up, I don’t necessarily mean being a specific age, or having a full-time job or being married with kids. Although that likely grows you up real fast. I’m more thinking of the mindset that comes from not having any safety net, and in fact actually having to provide one for others.
I could be wrong in my perception but a lot of the bloggers I have spoken with still live with their parents. There are quite a few that are parents themselves but significantly less in my experience. And I have always wondered whether that affects our blogging practices in any way. After all, blogging is very time-consuming and the more responsibilities you have, the less likely it is to be a priority. However, the more structured one’s life is, the more likely they are to find time for blogging as things aren’t just constantly coming at them left and right which can sometimes be the case for students. So it’s hard to tell which would be the better environment for blogging.
It has been my personal experience that whenever you ask anybody how they are, they will always be simultaneously super busy and kinda bored. I’m not talking about blogging specifically, just in general. Walk up to a stranger in the street and ask them how they’ve been. There’s a pretty big chance you’ll get an answer like good but busy. If you ask what’s new, you’ll get a not much or same old. In my entire career, in every office I have worked in, you’ll always get a trove of people that are terribly overworked, regardless of what the workload actually is.
So I’m not going to make the assumption that people in school with jobs (or even those not in school with no job) have more free time. I really don’t think there’s much of a difference on that front. Both groups are going to let you know that they hardly have any time for blogging, sooner or later. I do it all the time!
There’s also this weird situation where I know for a fact that I work l longer hours than when I was in school. I regularly do 12-hour shifts or longer and often work weekends which was not the case in school at all. Yet I remember feeling way more overwhelmed and tired when I was in school. It’s not all about hours, there’s a mental exhaustion that comes with constantly learning new things, that’s tough to measure.
So assuming availability is just not going to be productive here. What I will assume though, is that the inherent pressures on both groups are completely different. External vs internal (although both may be self-imposed). I remember when I lived with my folks, which was quite a while ago now, I thought I had to do and be all those things. Very little was imposed on me by my family so I imposed tons on myself. But the fact is I didn’t have to do all that much. I got good grades, went to my part-time job which I didn’t need to survive. Regardless of whatever else happened, I had a roof over my head and clothes on my back.
Theoretically, I could have blogged a lot more than I do now. I had a lot more time for TV and for idle activities and if I had put effort into it, I could have had a huge blog by now. I might even have learned how to properly advertise and use SEO.
What I did do, was attend a lot more social functions. Go out with friends or lovers. Meet new people, go to bars, just generally be part of social groups and activities like school clubs and teams. The thing is, I was never a social person. I never really enjoyed any of these things. I loved my friends but seeing them every day was exhausting for me already, and then I had a sleepover on the weekend. It’s not that it was torture but there were some weeks where I really just badly wanted to stay home. I remember spending a lot of time in bathroom stalls just so I could be by myself a little.
But at the time, I thought it was very important for me to develop a strong and diverse social life. I’m not sure why. I think it was because everyone else was doing it so it just seemed like what I was supposed to do. And to be clear, I don’t regret any of it. But I do wish I had realized earlier that it’s ok to turn down an invitation even if I don’t have anything else to do. It’s o.k. to want to do something just for me. But I didn’t and I’m pretty sure that this is what would have made it impossible for me to blog while in school. Except for Uni, I was genuinely too busy to sleep during Uni so that would have been a no-go.
Things sort of changed after I started my career. I have a job I consider challenging but not that difficult. I have been doing it for a long time and I had the right training for it, so on most days, I know exactly what I have to do and how to do it. It’s just that occasionally there is a lot of it to do. This said a lot of people would disagree with me. There are some unpredictable elements to my job and it fuses a lot of things together in an unusual way so not everybody is suited for this job. And when they are not, it can lead to a lot of stress.
Although I work longer hours than most people I know, I also don’t experience as much stress or pressure as most people I know. And the fact that I now have a clear and defined job with goals and a place in society, means that I no longer feel the need to impose anything on myself. If I do my job well, I get the files done, I don’t make the same mistakes too often, I pay my taxes and obey the laws, well I consider that I’ve done what I’m supposed to do. Everything else is because I want to do it.
Possibly because of this, I find blogging as a grown-up much easier. I want to do it and I don’t feel like I’m wasting time or that there are a million other things I should be doing instead. I have way more responsibilities than I use to but because they are clearly defined, I can easily tell when I’ve fulfilled them. As such, the only thing that’s likely to make me quit blogging all together is if I don,t want to do it anymore. If there is something else I could be doing with the time that I honestly find more useful. fulfilling or enjoyable.
I see a lot of bloggers using their blogs to practice for careers in one way or another. Not necessarily thinking their blogs are going to make their money (although that happens as well) but simply thinking that it would be useful to learn SEO or site management for their work, or they want to practice writing and maybe build up a portfolio. And I think that’s tremendous. Honestly, some of the best posts I’ve read are from people trying to bulk up professional skills in some way. But honestly, I couldn’t do it. I would probably give up in a week and take courses or work for someone else’s blog in those circumstances. That just requires so much more dedication.
So kudos to all the students and young professionals blogging out there. In my experience, life might not get any easier but it does get simpler and somehow calmer. And for me, that’s the only time I could actually blog.