reflecting on Rivas Raves
So first off, happy Friday, everyone! It’s been a long work week for me, and I am definitely ready for a happy hour cocktail. But before I get to that, I’d like to address something that you may have noticed: Lately, my blog and social media posts have been infrequent, and I haven’t been as active on Instagram as I’ve been in the past. I wanted to take a minute to explain the reasons for why I’ve been unable to give Rivas Raves as much attention as I’d like in recent months. For starters, there’s the obvious. I moved. Across the country. And with that change came a new culture, new people, new places, new everything. It’s been a marvelous adventure so far, but no adventure is without its challenges.
The biggest obstacle I faced upon moving out here was finding a job. I was fortunate that my previous employer wanted me to stay on and work remotely through mid-January, which provided a nice safety net as I embarked on the oh-so-dreaded job search. Early on in this process, I had a few exciting leads that ultimately fizzled out and went nowhere. One particular opportunity that ended in rejection hit me pretty hard. I began to seriously question my competitiveness as a candidate in this tough, high-stakes job market.
Thankfully — and rather serendipitously — I was eventually offered a fantastic dream job as an editor/writer at a major non-profit headquartered in DC. I started about six weeks ago, just as my previous position was set to come to an end, and my life has been a whirlwind ever since. There is definitely no shortage of work for me to do. I’ve been told that I came onboard during one of the organization’s “busy times,” which is totally accurate based on the number of projects I’m already involved with and managing.
On top of the new city/job/life, I’ve also reset my priorities. As you may know, I’ve always been obsessed with all things fitness. That obsession has only gotten stronger since relocating to DC. There are so many activities and classes available — the fitness community is much more expansive here than it is in Nebraska. As a result, I’ve challenged myself to take my fitness goals to the next level in 2016. And since I’m back to working a traditional 9-5 schedule, this means making time for working out even when it’s inconvenient or I’d rather be doing something else (like blogging or brunching).
I currently belong to two gyms: a traditional, members-only gym with all the bells and whistles (tons of cardio equipment, free weights, machine weights, group classes, personal trainers, etc.) and a class-based boxing gym. Learning to box — and to ultimately spar in the ring — is one of my goals for this year. I’ve been a fan of the sport for some time, and I’ve always wanted to learn the proper way to box. Anyone can hit a heavy bag. Not everyone can hit a heavy bag and know what they’re doing. It’s important to understand the fundamentals and technique behind something if you want to be successful at it. I now go to a boxing class at least twice a week, and I’m aiming to start sparring by summer!
Having goals is one thing. Reaching those goals is an entirely different beast. Reaching a goal means making compromises and sacrifices. I wake up sometime between 5-6:30 a.m. Monday through Friday in order to hit the gym (my weekends also include some type of gym time). Is it easy? Nope. Is it fun? Not always. Is it worth it? Yes.
These early mornings mean early nights. And when you couple that with my normal work schedule, the reality is I don’t have as much free time to devote to Rivas Raves as I used to. I wish I could add more hours to the day, but then again, who doesn’t?
All of this does not mean that I’m quitting the blog world or shuttering Rivas Raves. I think it simply means that I’ve put myself in a position where I’m forced to really assess and evaluate why I started this blog in the first place. The short answer? I was creatively stifled, and I needed an outlet to express myself. I wasn’t out to get free stuff. I didn’t aspire to amass thousands of Instagram followers or get hundreds of likes per photo. Sure, those things are nice. I mean, we’re all human. We all seek validation in one way, shape, or form. And social media has made it ridiculously easy to attain said validation.
But when you find yourself questioning why all of those bloggers received something from some famous brand that you didn’t, or you’re wondering why that person unfollowed you and why they commented on another blogger’s photo but not yours, that can lead down a dangerous and destructive path.
Now don’t get me wrong: I have connected with some really amazing and inspiring people thanks to this blog. I’ve received tons of positive feedback and reinforcement telling me that I have something to contribute to the heavily saturated and crowded blogosphere.
I’ve also been shot down. Whether it was seeking to work with a specific brand that flat-out rejected me or reaching out to a blogger who completely ignored me, I’ve faced some not-so-pleasant situations that have caused me to question my value and worth — not just as a blogger, but as a person.
And I don’t like feeling that way.
So here’s where I’m at: I love this blog, and I love what I’ve created with Rivas Raves. I still have lots of ideas and plans for where I’d like it to go and how I want it to evolve. But I’m going to go back to treating it as I originally intended: a place where I can share my story. For me, blogging is not about how many page views I get, how many comments are left, or how many free things I receive. And if you’re a blogger and those things matter to you, that’s totally fine. Everyone is free to define and set their priorities as they see fit. But when I think of blogging and what it means to me, it’s simply about saying, “This is who I am. This is life as I’m experiencing it.”
And you are more than welcome to join me in this experience.