Statistics for Life

When I graduated from college in 1995, I was sure I’d go to medical school. My parents proudly told their friends that their daughter was going to be a doctor. My high school’s booklet listing our intentions spelled out my plans. During one of the first weeks of college I attended a lecture where professors spoke to us about what their majors had been their freshman years, and how many, if not most, had ended up with completely different majors or entirely different careers than they’d planned on at the age of 18.

“Not me,” I thought. “I’m sure.”

Well, I’m not a physician. I changed my mind many times over the course of my college years but ultimately landed on an English degree, with no intention to teach or go to law school, as many of my co-English major classmates planned to do.

Now my job has nothing to do with medicine or writing. When Miles was born I became a stay at home mom, envisioning blissful years of easy and rewarding motherhood ahead of me. That part about motherhood being rewarding was true, but there is nothing easy about this gig. I recognized early on that I needed something to pull me out of my stay at home mom shell, but what?

I own a one-person business in a creative field. I’m the boss, accountant, marketing guru and customer relations specialist, and I’m horribly underpaid for each position. Never in sixty million years would I have predicted I’d end up in this job. It just sort of happened. People respond to my work and it makes me feel good, and at one point I decided, “Hey, maybe it would be nice to get paid for this.”

The things we plan to do don’t always end up being what we ultimately end up doing. Take this blog, for instance. I started out planning to write about being a mom to four kids. I still do, but I also realize that even though I have four children, I am by no means a parenting expert (I’ll save that title for when my kids are grown and I can more accurately assess whether I was successful or not at raising them to be resourceful, independent, and financially stable members of society). I thought I’d write more poignant posts reflecting on the joys of motherhood, but I don’t always feel so joyous or poignant.

So it’s with little surprise but great humor to see that my cooking and recipe posts get the most attention on this blog. Who knew? Like the field I ended up in what people are responding to here is something completely different than what I expected.

Reading the blog statistics over the last few months (my most read post ever is this one about my day-long fiasco making Lego Star Wars cake pops for my son’s sixth birthday party) has made me question the direction of my blog. Do I continue to write about what I want, when I want, jumping from topic to topic with little in the way of plans for satisfying my (few) readers? Or do I latch onto what garners the most attention and run with it? Follow what is most popular or what I most enjoy? Will what is most popular become a thing I most enjoy, simply because I like the positive attention?

Perhaps I’m only asking such weighty questions of my decidedly non-weighty blog because I’m having the same troubles with what to focus on in my life. I need a statistics page for my passions that will help me see more clearly, “Oh, here, this is where your strengths lie, go HERE.” Yeah, that would be awesome, because my interests are so varied and numbered I’m having a hard time picking out what will rise to the top.

I’m 35 years old, and what I surely did not expect at age 18 is that, 17 years later, I’d still be unsure about what to do with my life.

This post was written to participate in Heather’s weekly Just Write free-writing event at The Extraordinary Ordinary. Check out her post for links to more writers sharing their thoughts today.

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Comments

  1. We are EXACTLY the same age. I turned 35 in December. Anyway, I think what you’re asking about the blog is a good question. I might look at my statistics that way too and see what posts seem to resonate most. I wonder if you’re cooking ones are highest because of Pinterest . . . which might account for views on a post, but not necessarily return visits. Something to think about . . .

    • Very good point. I don’t have much pinned on Pinterest, but I think a lot of people find the recipe posts by Googling for specific recipes (or, um, cake pops!), and they most likely won’t be returning readers if they’re just looking for something specific.

  2. haha… I was just going to say that it’s likely those counts are higher because people happen upon them because of recipe searches, Pinterest, etc. I struggle with this question with my blog, as well. But, at the end of the day, I usually find that I blog for myself, and that means writing about what matters at the moment so that I can go back and look at the blogs as time passes. 🙂

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