Today is Not Merely Living's 2nd Birthday! I can't believe it's already been two years since I started this journey. I'm feeling lots of mixed emotions today about NML. It has evolved so much in the past two years, and there are so many places I hope that it will still go. It's funny how blogs can be so simultaneously public and personal. Having a blog over the last two years has felt like reliving my coming of age years. Writing here is an ongoing balance of trying to see/seek my true self in spite of all the things I think I should be or wish I could be (even when I just plain know I'm not). It's my journey of finding the areas that I am truly passionate about and being inspired to pursue those fearlessly.
I started NML as a hobby and an online scrapbook of sorts to help me mark the moments, and now it's so much more to me. It's place where I capture my inspiration. It's a place where I challenge myself to live my best life and be my best self. It's a place where I do things that I'm afraid of and things that I've been waiting to have a good excuse to do (heh hem. like making heart shaped moon pies). And like all the versions of our selves we show in public, there are things here that I'm insecure about. I'm not a professional graphic designer, photographer, or an artist, but I dabble in all those things because they inspire me. Do I often feel like I'm not cool enough to play in this glittery, confetti-filled blogger party-world? Sure. But I do anyways, cuz it's fun. Lots of fun things are scary at first. But does knowing that make me less insecure? nope. Do I keep blogging and creating anyways? Hecks Yeah!
And there are things about how I blog that I waver back and forth on. Even though I dream of hiring a professional designer and developer to give me a spiffy new blog design, I'm also really proud of each line and piece of code that went into building this site. I did that. Every time I scroll over one of the buttons on the side bar or the navbar, I want to squeak out a yipee! I taught myself that! I mean the interwebs taught me that, but same thing! I learned something new and tried it out and made it real. And I felt more alive because of it.
At the end of the day, this is the place I come to find my most passionate self. Do I have an inkling of an idea about something I'd like to try or see or taste? This place inspires me to pursue that inkling. I chase after those dreamy ideas because of NML. There are so many things that I do every single day that are inspired by this space, and most of them I don't even write about here. Just having this outlet has allowed me to dream bigger, to think bigger, to have more space for what-ifs and why-nots and heck-yeahs.
Before I started writing this blog, most days I would work a full 8 hours (sometimes more), come home, kick off my shoes, and literally watch tv or read for hours (pausing for dinner) before I went to sleep. And then I would repeat. I spent the evenings allowing myself to completely veg out and relax. But the days moved so quickly that way, and it was so hard to track the time. Don't get me wrong. I still love a good tv series. But to feel inspired and fulfilled and engaged in the world around me, I need more than just a time filler. I need a creative outlet. That's what Not Merely Living is for me. I'm not going through the motions. I'm squeezing every drop of goodness out of my days. And what is the awesome chocolate covered icing on that double decker fudge goodness cake? That I have this awesome resource where I've catalogued and categorized those experiences, inspirations, and lessons learned that is searchable. Searchable! Do any other bloggers love this about their blogs? Can't remember that recipe? found it. Can't remember when we saw that concert? found it. Can't remember where I saved that photo from that awesome day? found it.
And I have so many dreams of where I would like NML to go. For example, this year I hope to create a city guide to showcase all my favorite places in San Fran. I'd like to slow myself down more and write more like this. I get so caught up in all the fun things I'm doing and learning and featuring that sometimes I forget to write- to slow myself and give myself the space to process my thoughts.
But even though there's lots more I'd like to do here, I'm so proud of where we are today! NML really started so small. I just had a tiny corner of the internet to pour my thoughts, dreams and pictures into. I don't think I ever really thought that anyone else would want to read it (besides you, mom). And not that it's so big now, but it's more than just me. You're here too! Thanks for that!!! :)
And yet, I still think, oh the places we can go. Oh the things there are to learn, the recipes I've yet to try, the photographs I've yet to take, the DIYs I've yet to dream up. There is so much making and learning and active living to be done. and I'm so grateful I have this place to share all of those things.
Thanks for being on this journey with me and inspiring me to dream bigger. Let's do it together.
I'm making a wish now and blowing out the candles. Let's close our eyes together for just a second and just dream.
P.S. I'm debuting an exciting new series on the blog tomorrow, so check back for an extra special dose of awesome.
P.P.S. In an effort to dream bigger, I've put together a very short survey of 8 questions about what you would like to see more of on the blog. I'd love if you would take a few moments to let me know what you think! Thanks so much!