Time is a Funny Thing
Life takes you down so many different paths, even in the shortest amounts of time. Surfing a wave comes to mind. How strange it is that those 2-20 (or 60, if you’re lucky)-second waves can seem to last a lifetime, yet the minutes between sets can almost fly by.
Other times, waiting for a wave or paddling out can seem to take hours. Time does interesting things. It seems like only yesterday I started writing this blog, yet it seems, too, like I’ve been writing this for years.
Writer for Life
In a way, I have. I’ve been writing all my life, unknowingly gearing up to write posts about everything from mental health to mindfulness to volunteering. Every step I’ve taken has brought me somewhere, whether I realized it or not, to this point.
This blog started with one tiny idea—the idea that I would become a surf journalist—and has turned into myriad new things. Every chapter of my story has been unexpected, yet exactly what it needs to be, from working as a bartender and surf photographer to starting a blog to today.
My Latest Wave
And today, I want to share a bit the latest wave I’ve been surfing—starting my own business—and the wipeouts and challenges I’ve faced thus far.
It feels a little silly to be writing a Feature Friday post about myself, but here goes nothing!
Starting my Web Design Business
Not so long ago (October 2019), I learned about Search Engine Optimization. I learned about content writing for keywords, data research, and from my Feature Friday posts, found out I deeply enjoy interviewing people and learning their stories. From there, I realized I could combine my love of storytelling with my passion for aesthetic design and attention to detail (using my OCD as my superpower, as I like to say) to start my own business as a website designer, SEO consultant, and content writer.
Learning New Skills
I spent several months learning, designing mock-up websites, and finding out as much as I could about how to design custom websites and write content that drew in readers as well as search engines. I made plenty of mistakes, found out tons of new information, and certainly have much more to learn, but I also gained a vast amount of knowledge over a relatively short period of time.
Gaining Confidence and Pride
What I also gained was confidence, and pride. When I was in college, I would feel proud of a project I finished, or a research paper I turned in. Yet this kind of pride was not the same as what I feel now. For so long I thought that I would work for someone and be doing what I loved. It had never crossed my mind, until about a year ago, that I could be doing what I loved and working solely for myself.
Having a sense of accomplishment and pride in this journey is something I carry with me every day, even on the days when I feel like there’s no point in this. On the days when I feel like a failure, or the days when I don’t get very much done, or the days when I’m frustrated and confused by technical issues within 10 minutes of sitting down to work, I can easily lose sight of the pride and confidence that I know I possess.
Feeling the Pressure
For a long time, I had this deep-seated belief that I would never amount to anything. I had this intense fear of being financially insecure for the rest of my life. Some part of me believed that I would never succeed. I believe part of that came from a resistance to all the compliments I received as a child. People would tell me I was going to accomplish great things, that I was brilliant and smart and talented.
As wonderful as these comments were, and as lucky as I’ve been to have that kind of love and support, I think part of me was always worried I wouldn’t measure up. Being told you’ll write a Pulitzer-prize winning novel when you’re a teenager can make you feel a little intimidated about not living up to those standards.
Embracing my New Path
What I’ve realized is that the only standards that matter are the ones I set for myself. I thought I was going to be an author when I was little. At one point, I wanted to be a paleontologist, at another I wanted to run my own ice-cream shop, at another I thought I would be a career bartender.
Yet here I am, doing something completely unrelated to any of those paths, and loving it just the same. Life gives us many gifts and surprises, gifts we often don’t realized we’ve received until we look back on it.
Some of the best gifts I’ve been given are love and support. But I think the greatest gift I’ve been given of all is my ability to tell my story, because it allows me to tell the stories of others, and to reach people in a way that I believe (and hope) provides some meaning and value to people’s lives. I’ve always wanted to help people, whether it’s cheering someone on out in the line-up or cleaning the house for my mom or making a great drink for a patron at the bar. It’s always been in my spirit.
That’s why the Feature Friday posts made me realize that this is my calling. Website design, for me, isn’t a bottom line. It’s an avenue through which I can connect with people, and tell the stories they don’t even realize they have to tell. Because if you can tell stories, you can unite people, whether it’s 3 people or 3 million.
Starting my own business has been about creating a lifestyle that allows me to surf and make my own hours and write, but it’s also about doing something meaningful with my ability to write, about constructing my own perfect wave to ride in life.
And that is why I am so happy to introduce you, readers, to my business website, beachbumpoetllc.com, the next step in this beautiful adventure that is life. Give it a read, see what you think, watch the videos, share it, like it, or don’t do anything at all with it. But, hopefully, you find some inspiration from it, just as I hope you’ve found some inspiration in the posts on this blog.
Never stop following your dreams, and always remember that you have a story worth telling, no matter who you are, where you’re from, or what life has thrown at you.
Keep dreaming, keep creating,
and never stop being a Beach Bum,
Header Image Credit: @oceanlove_photo