Saturday, July 5, 2014

Goodbye for now

When I began tweeting as Bunny Jean Cook in March 2009, I had no idea how it would change my life. At that time, I was working as a fundraiser for a human service organization. As part of my job, I was checking out the wild world of social media including Twitter.

I posted a picture of my rabbit as my avatar and met a whole group of wonderful pet loving people! After a while, some of the anipals (as we called ourselves) started having virtual parties, and one very creative little terrier took the idea and turned it into a way to raise funds for small animal charities.

Pawpawties were 24 hour virtual parties complete with DJs, Barktenders, Quizmasters and Sekurity. We had corporate sponsors and helped raise over $1,000 per month for animal charities all over the world. Eventually Pawpawty was retired, but Nipclub (a virtual nightclub for anipals) took its place. Over 100 anipals continue to meet one weekend a month to raise funds while having fun!

Bunny Jean Cook was an active presence at these events, and I became more and more interested in what I could do to help animals. Later that same year, BJC established a Facebook profile, and on December 31, 2009, Bunny’s Blog was born!

In early 2010, I was asked to be part of the planning committee for the very first BlogPaws conference. This conference not only gave me the chance to meet many of my online friends in person, it also helped me see how I could use blogging to promote animal-related causes.

I threw myself into blogging with a passion that I hadn’t experienced with any other hobby. I attended the second, third and fourth BlogPaws conferences – as well as several BarkWorld conferences. And I met other bloggers who were interested in using their blogs to help promote animal–related causes.

In September 2010, I met Kim Clune and Amy Burkert who had founded BtC4Animals.com. I was so impressed by their mission that I blogged about nearly every weekly cause and participated in each quarterly Blog the Change Day. Eventually, I took on a more active role - first as the Twitter liaison, then as a staff writer, and then as a team leader while Kim took a much deserved break.

But while all this was happening, my “real life” was undergoing some major changes. The economy had taken a turn, and fundraising was not a good place to be. In May 2010, I lost my job and threw myself into blogging to help keep me focused. BJC passed away on June 7, 2011, and I struggled for several months trying for find my “new” voice.

My daughter entered high school, and her grades suffered as she tried to find her place in a huge sea of students. She eventually transferred to a smaller school located on the campus of the local community college. She pulled her grades back up and graduated in June 2012.

But most importantly, my husband Dave had been sick for several years as he struggled with alcohol addiction. He was in and out of rehab, but the years of drinking had taken a toll on his body, and he passed away on January 20, 2013.

Dealing with the emotional, financial and legal issues of his death threw me into a deep depression. I eventually received grief counseling, which helped greatly. Still grief comes in waves – some days I am fine, other days I still struggle.

In July 2013, I returned to work. After 17 years, I was burnt out on fundraising and wanted to try something new. I approached a local pet sitter/dog trainer to see if there might be a match between her needs and my skills. I began as a backup pet sitter and eventually became office manager in November of last year.

I continued to blog through all of this, but by December 2013 I hit the wall. I just couldn’t keep doing it at the same rate I had for the past few years. I took a two week break and then came back in January 2014 with what I hoped was a more achievable schedule.

For the past six months, I have been posting three times a week. But it continues to be a struggle. I don’t want to keep blogging because I feel I HAVE to. I want to find the passion that I felt for it before my world went sideways – so I’ve decided to take a hiatus.

I don’t know how long I will be gone, but I think if I can give myself time away from blogging I might be able to clear my mind and determine where I want to go next. So goodbye for now… until we meet again.

16 comments:

  1. You'll be missed, but we understand. There aren't many places in life you can take a break from, but that is the one nice thing about blogging. We'll be here if you decide to come back to blogging.

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  2. Take care of yourself Vicki and we hope to see you again soon. It was lots of fun to spend some time with you at the Bark World Expo in Atlanta.

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  3. Take care of your self Vicki,refresh your batteries and enjoy life and if and when you are ready to come back to Blogging just pop round and say Hi and we will be waiting,but until then enjoy life and we will see you when we see you,xx Rachel and Speedy

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  4. I'm sad for us. But I hope this break gives you the refreshment you need. You've certainly given a lot of yourself over the past few years--to your family, to the pet blogging community, and to animal welfare causes.

    May you find peace and rest and maybe even a little bit of passion.

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  5. I truly understand and am relieved to see you make space to breathe and allow new joys to enter in. I had so much more to say but, after 20 minutes of writing a lengthy response, Blogger tossed it when I logged into Google. It's probably better this way. That first sentence says it all. I look forward to seeing you again when you feel up to writing for enjoyment and not self imposed demand.

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  6. Wow, you've really been through a lot Vicki! Those kinds of life events change you - it's no wonder you need time to re-group and let things shake out to see where your passions lie now. You will be missed here, and I admire you for recognizing it was time for a break. Perhaps the next big thing in your life is just waiting for a little space to pop into. Be well.

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  7. Vicki, our paths take interesting turns and we must follow. Blogging isn't the only way to participate, and I know we'll still hear from you on a regular basis. Who knows where this next opportunity will lead? I'm just glad to hear that you worked your way through a very difficult time and came out the other side. I hope you have happy days ahead in what you are doing!

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  8. you have been through a great deal recently! Please continue counseling, I know how helpful that can be while dealing with depression. Never apologize for taking time for yourself. It's an important part of who you are and how you heal. Don't worry, I bet a strong passion is just around the corner! Take care.

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  9. Vicki you have endured more in the past few years than many do in a lifetime. Be gentle with yourself. You were one of the first blogs I began following when I started blogging (also in 2009)......I am sending virtual hugs and good wishes to you...there is a good chance I may be giving it all up completely at the end of 2014 myself.

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  10. You are one amazing woman and I will miss you, but more than that I am excited for you and the new adventures ahead for you. Love and hugs and thank you for all you have given to the pet blogging community!

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  11. Reading how much you have gone through, it is fantastic you are still standing. I hope the break will help. Wishing you the best, and take care.

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  12. So much to handle. I understand your need to take a break. I hope you find new energy, new passion, and a renewed source of personal reserves during your time away. Hugs!

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  13. You've been through so much. It's terribly difficult to prioritize self-care when there are so many "fires" to put out, but it sounds like you're making the best decision to honor yourself. Take all the time you need to refresh and recharge. Sending you lots of big hugs!

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  14. do what you can when you can. If you find yourself with something to say, no one here will mind if you post a random blog post from time to time, but if you aren't motivated, then steep yourself in what does motivate you and enjoy!

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  15. Sending you lots of hugs & good vibes - if/when you decide to return to blogging, we'll be here. Either way, we've got your back!

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  16. I think of you often Vicki and your heart knows what is best for you... Hope to see you again one of these days! Purrs from the Deb and the Zee/Zoey Gang!

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