In celebration of non-achievement.

Do you ever try and do something “for fun”…and that lasts for a few minutes before it becomes a competition, work, or both?

Last year I downloaded a receipt-scanning app and have probably uploaded about 600 receipts because I’m a little addicted to the feeling of making money, even pennies at a time. This Spring I tried online dating “for fun” and to get out of my comfort zone, and became a dating madwoman meeting six guys in nine days. Last month I got the Pedometer app and now check my steps 12 times a day just because it just feels like “winning” when you hit 10,000 steps.  Even though walking is probably the least rigorous form of exercise known to man besides reaching for the remote. 

On rare occasions I might try to make art, or read for pleasure, but it doesn’t tend to last long. Give me something I can put on my resume, or monetize, or both, and I’ll run with it; ask me to sit still and just enjoy something for its intrinsic value and I start getting antsy.  

The point I’m trying to make is that when it comes to doing things “for fun,” I pretty much own a time-share at the intersection of Obsessive and Compulsive in Achieversville, USA.   But as I’ve been on Sabbatical, and particularly as I’ve worked on this blog, I’m considering putting that time-share back on the market.

Writing during this time was intended to be “for fun,” which is to say, a couple posts in I started wondering if there was an award for Best Just-for-Fun Sabbatical Blogger of All Time and whether I could win it.  But trying to do a blog “right” and trying to do a blog “authentically” can potentially be different exercises.  Does one focus on creating “content” that’s most likely to have mass appeal or on content that’s genuine, even though it might not always be interesting? And should we even think of this blog as “content” or might we see it as something a little less marketing-speak? Reflections: some happy, some otherwise.  Does one employ blogging “best practices” to increase visibility and readership, or just do what feels most genuine and least contrived? 

In other words, should writing be one more attempt to rack up the all-important Accomplishment Points, or could I just share what I feel, when I feel like it, and consider that ‘good enough’? 

If you’re like me and you’re trying to do something “for fun,” you might have to fight most of your natural tendencies to be okay with ‘good enough.’ For me, I start thinking ahead to a job interview, and the Achiever part wants to hold up a bright shiny success story, to say, “this blog achieved blah blah blah unique visitors and blah blah blah page views” and say without saying: I’m awesome and everything I touch turns to success.  Don’t you want to hire such a winner? 

But you know what, nothing against hard work and achievement, but sometimes I like that other version of us better, the one that doesn’t need life to be one unbroken string of ever-increasing accomplishments. I want to grab a beer with that part of us, and laugh about the times we’ve been far from “successful” by any conventional, resume-obsessed sense of the term.  At times I’d like to to tell that achievement-obsessed part of me, in the kindest way possible, to STFU and have some fun. 🙂 

As I think about my desire for accomplishment and the seemingly paradoxical value of sometimes just doing things we enjoy, I’m coming to terms with the fact that this blog has been far from perfect. I got a bit out of order and backlogged recounting the happenings of this time.  I haven’t followed all the “rules” for a blog, certainly have not written in a regular, timely, best-practices fashion. There will be no Mashable article about Megan Klingensmith: blogging wunderkind, no white paper, no unvarnished success story. Just a girl taking a break from normal life and writing about it now and then, hoping anyone reading walks away with a little piece of something they can use. 

I think I can live with that. 

I achieved the hell out of these donuts. Try pairing them with an IPA and you’ll REALLY have a success you can feel proud of.

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