It’s been exactly 112 days since I first announced that I’m quitting blogging. It was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever done in my life. I started writing online as soon as I entered high school and it has become a huge part of my life ever since. In fact, I owe a huge part of who I am and where I am right now to blogging. Blogging opened doors for me. It opened a lot of opportunities I never thought I’ll get. I was able to work with huge brands and people. I was able to travel for free. I got paid for doing what I love. I was living the life most people can only dream of.
But in the middle of my success… I became unhappy.
One of my greatest dreams is to become a published author. I wanna see my works in newspapers, books, and magazines. But I didn’t make it. I was not the best writer, my grammar sucks and maybe it’s not just for me. I can’t recall how many times I’ve got rejected by publications. And you know what? If they won’t hire me, then I’ll just create my own publication. I was a freshman in high school back then. It was the time I discovered the world of blogging. Long story short, I established my own blog and the rest became history.
Although being a writer is a dream, blogging for me was just a mere hobby. It was something I do for fun. It was an escape from reality. While it did become my source of income for the last couple of years, I never saw it as my full-time work. What I really wanted was to become a professional architect and designer. During my final year in architecture (I graduated this May 2018), I finally hit that roadblock. What do I really want? Do I want to be a travel blogger or an architect? I know you’ll probably say “why choose when you can be both?”. How I wish it’s that easy. Being a blogger takes up a huge chunk of your time and so does architecture. In the end, I know I have to choose only one. And deep inside, I know what I really wanted.
I decided to quit blogging so I can focus on my career in the architecture industry. But… that a was a lie.
At first, I thought I wanted to quit blogging because I want to focus on my career. But it was an excuse I keep on telling myself. It took me months to figure out that all this time I’ve been lying. What really made me quit was the pressure of being a blogger. What used to give me happiness now gives me frustration. I thought I have overcome that part where numbers dictate you. I even remember telling my workshop participants on how I used to struggle with it. I thought I was done. But I gave in to pressure again. The pressure to always be on top of the number game. The pressure to please brands. The pressure to have that gram-worthy feed. The pressure of traveling to unknown places so you can be the first one to blog about it. The pressure of going viral. And finally, the pressure of being perfect.
After I’ve quitted blogging and graduated from college, I started to travel again. I did a backpacking trip to Butuan, Surigao del Norte, Dinagat Island and Siargao. And recently, I did a 12-day trip to Batanes. Those trips led me back to my early days in blogging where all I wanna do is share my stories. I realized how fun again it was to travel without the expectations of anyone. How fun it was to post pictures without curating it. How fun it was to tell stories without the fear of not getting enough likes. I remembered how fun it was to simply travel and enjoy life.
FIGURING OUT YOUR PURPOSE
What happened to me was probably a quarter-life crisis. It was a journey I need to take to learn. Last July, my domain www.justinvawter.com expired and even though I had no plans on going back to blogging that time, I renewed it. Now, I finally get why. You see, I was wrong when I said that I have to choose between being a blogger and pursuing my dream as an architect. You can be both. It’s hard but it’s possible. You just need to love what you do. When you love something, you will give enough time and effort to it. You even have to sacrifice some things just so you can achieve it. But it’s going to be worth it one day.
I decided to quit blogging because I gave in to pressure that I forgot the very reason why I keep on blogging. I was so focused on being on top that I lost the very soul of it: happiness. I traded my own happiness for the sake of appreciation and fame. I chose the wrong values. And it’s so ironic that I tell people and aspiring bloggers to make sure they do it not because of the perks but because it makes them happy and yet I’m the one who failed to follow it.
I have lost a lot after quitting. I’ve lost quite a number of followers. My blog rank went down. I am no longer on the first page of Google search. I lost brands and collaboration opportunities. But I can say that it’s all okay. I might have lost my career in blogging, but I have eventually gained back my soul and happiness. I gained back the reason why I am blogging. And as I write this down, I can’t help but smile and look forward to what’s gonna happen next.
I am ready to start again.