The other day I found myself reading an allegory written by a popular singing artist in my religious community, responding to why she is no longer selling her songs in stores. She used the idea of how a young mother loved building sandcastles. She is contacted by a company who wants her to build sandcastles for them. She then has to come up with a business plan, pitch it, negotiate salary, etc., etc. It is so much work. But she really does love sandcastles. Then she had an idea. She discovered that she could build sandcastles in her own backyard and spend more time with her children. Companies may not hire her to build sandcastles as much and she might not make as much money, but she was happy. She got the sandcastles and she got the time with her children.
It's a nearly perfect allegory for me. But not quite.
I loved blogging, expressing myself, being honest about how things are in the life of me, finding ways to amuse myself, all the while building an essay inside my head. It was great fun. But then the companies began approaching me, asking me to pitch this product or that product. The price of mentioning them was a free product from their company. I felt like I was selling out a piece of my soul. It's not like I was writing about products in my blog. I was writing about my personal life. I did a few pitches and made the conscious choice to not accept any more. It muddied my life. It muddied my blog. It muddied my memories.
Eventually, the truth dawned on me. I do love my sandcastles but I had too many. In my allegory, sandcastles are anything we enjoy or do but they are temporal. Eventually, the tide will come in and wash them away. I already had an established relationship with a company where I build sandcastles. Lots of them. Big ones. They paid me and I didn't mind. I went to college for 7 years in order to build these sandcastles. That one I'd keep. But I realized that when I was too busy building sandcastles, I wasn't busy building my own home. So I pulled back on the extra stuff, still kind of clutching strings of the smaller ones because, there was a time when I loved it so much and gained a great deal in return; computer skills, understanding html and how to adjust it, wonderful friends that I keep in contact even today, and great memories.
In retrospect, that was a good season for me to blog. I had four growing children and I was always learning new ways to juggle the demands of my life. I cataloged what we did as a family and what we did individually, threw in some humor, and I have a wonderful record of those years, complete with photos of my little kids growing up. I am profoundly grateful for those years of active blogging. They were a lot of fun and very vivid in my mind. And I found my voice which led to finding friends; some friends for life. And, yes, I've even met some of them. In the beginning, blogging was part of building my home even though it was a temporal hobby.
Now we're at the end.
It's not for a few months but my domain renewal is coming due and I won't be renewing this year. Of course, it's not the money - renting a domain costs next to nothing - It's simply a sandcastle that I started building for my family but it turned into worrying about offending someone with my honesty. My job (the one where I get paid and I went to graduate school to do) involves enough political correctness to nearly drive me to stand on the corner and just yell invectives to passing cars.
Maybe that really is the sandcastle company I should give up but I don't think so. Circumstances will change eventually. I expect either a transfer or a different administration (nobody can do anything about my soul sucking team, however). This is my act of faith. Because I know that this particular sandcastle contract pays for some things for my family including my multiple pilgrimages to Costco, trips to Disneyland, my children's college funds, etc. Although the past three years have been ROUGH in my professional life, I really do believe that better days are ahead in that realm. It may not be this year but I can wait.
So in April, my blog will disappear. This is a calculated loss. The temptation to build sandcastles that will be washed away in the next high tide is just too strong of a pull for me. I will continue to write but will find a different, more personal platform. So download any essays you enjoyed, copy them, have them, quote from them and take credit for them as your own personal thoughts. It's been a symbiotic relationship. I've written for fun and you've read my essays and enjoyed them. And I've enjoyed that you enjoyed them. You validated me and my quirky self. But the time has come to pack up my buckets, shovels, water and carving tools, and go home.
It's been a fun ride.