Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I finally see the big picture

There is nothing quite like spending a little time with yourself. Turning off the television. Unplugging from the laptop and cell phone. Dare I say, going to bed at 9 p.m. and just letting your mind go blank. No thinking of what needs to be done tomorrow or what you might be missing out on because you turned all connections to the outside world off.

After four days of tuning out and tuning in to myself, I came to a realization - an epiphany of the big picture. Of what matters to me and what my purpose is on this planet. There are things that I am passionate about and I want to share these things, write about them, and hopefully inspire others to be passionate too.

My blog is my blog and I'm tired of people telling me what I should or shouldn't do. What I can or can't write about. I don't need a swag bag or free admission to someplace for me to write about something I like. If I like something, then I will write a post about it. If I believe strongly about a cause, then I will write about it.

I share what I want and I am honest in what I say. I will not say something is great if it is not. I will not promote a brand or place that I don't personally use and support myself. Sure, I've written a few sponsored post, but I was honest in my opinions and tried to write from a viewpoint of the average person. When I see blogs filled with sponsored posts, it doesn't tell me anything except that the writer was compensated in some way to tell you how wonderful something is.

When I see 20 different people all writing about how wonderful a place is it makes me wonder - could it really be that great? I don't need to see a movie a week before it opens to tell you how good the movie is. I have no problem paying to see a movie, and if I really like it I will let you know. Even worse, when I see people writing about a place that I know for a fact has long lines or isn't as "perfect" as the writer makes it out to be, my blood begins to boil. Call it ethics, call it morals, call it loyalty, call it whatever you like. Whatever you choose to call it, that's how I write.

I have been a member of the Zoological Society of San Diego for almost 8 years - nobody is paying me, giving me free things, or special treatment to write about our experiences at the San Diego Zoo or San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The same goes for LEGOLAND California - we have an annual membership and have never been treated differently because of the posts I write about LEGO's or LEGOLAND. We have a family membership to Aquarium of the Pacific, so I will share our experiences there.

Dylan and I are huge animals lovers. Land animals, ocean animals - between the two of us, we are ready to save them all! We believe in conservation, preservation, protection, and educating people about these beautiful animals that are disappearing from our planet. I want to share more about this with those who choose to read my blog. Not because it's the "topic of the moment" or because I am getting something in return, but because it's who I am. What I get in return is the satisfaction of inspiring someone else to see the world a little differently than they did before. I get the pure joy of being true to myself.

That being said, there will be some changes happening here over the next few weeks. I may lose some readers and some followers on twitter, but that's OK with me. If someone doesn't like me for being me and writing about what I believe in, then that is there choice. My success is not measured by twitter followers, page views, or Facebook "likes" - my purpose in life is to be the best I can be for me and for my son. To be true to myself and in doing that find joy in the simple things.


    So proud of you for following your heart and realizing your dreams.That, my darling Michelle, is what LIFE is all about.
    And the example you set for your son; well, there's not a sponsored post on the planet that can provide that for him.
    Can't wait for more!!!

    1. Thank you for the kind words Jo. I know they come from the heart. As for setting an example for my son ... well, he's the one setting examples for me and helping me see the bigger picture.
      Somehow, either biologically or subconsciously, my love for animals and the environment was passed on to my child and he has reawakened all my childhood passions.

  2. You're awesome!

  3. I applaud you for discovering what your purpose is! I totally understand your frustrations. I think, as bloggers, our intentions are always pure when starting out. We want to share our stories and connect with others in hopes of ultimately help them somehow (at least those are my intentions). Then we get wrapped up in "potential" of what blogging can be. Money, reputation. It is nice to be recognized for the work we do on our blogs and then to be invited to events and showered with swag - it feels rewarding, it feels as "payment" for what we do for free. But, I think many of us forget that those invitations and gifts come with a price tag. Next we find that we're pimping our blogs out with sponsored posts and giving testimonials which may or may not be true which ultimately is a disservice to our readers. I think blogging is like any business - there is a lot of unethical, untrue stuff happening out there to turn a buck.
    Again, I think what you're doing is fantastic. You stay true to yourself and things will fall into place. xo

    1. Thank you Wendy. You nailed it ... "unethical, untrue stuff happening out there to turn a buck"

      Your support is much appreciated. :)

  4. Love this post Michelle. I too am tired of following bloggers who are total sell-outs and have been eliminating them rapidly from my personal reading material. It is awesome to see a business matched up with a blogger when it makes sense and is genuine, but seriously it becomes toooo much!

    Love your new direction with the animals and planet. I'm not completely green but I have definitely found my own balance over the years with my love of urban homesteading and I love to know that even my small efforts help.

  5. You have echoed so many of my opinions! I know so many bloggers who only do posts sponsored in some way and that is not why I started blogging. Sure the money is nice when it fits in to something I really like.

    I'm working on finding that line too and getting back to why I really started blogging.

    Thanks for the added reminder of how important it is!!

  6. Great great post! I love every word that you shared!