Hello everyone! This is my first blog post on this website. I haven’t been blogging since 2011, so as a first post I would like it simple and personal.
For new readers, I’m a Singaporean blogger in his early 40’s, who is passionate about personal growth. I’ve just created an About page to share my background and why I started this website. I’ve also previously blogged here and here too, so if you’re the curious sort (or if you’re just bored), you can look up these old blogs as well.
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”― Flannery O’Connor
I am not a prolific writer. I am a Chinese language teacher, and English was not my first language – although it is the language in which I read and write most of the time nowadays when I am not teaching.
My impetus for writing a blog again (after so many years) actually started after I attended a face-to-face website design course. I was helping my church to design and update their website and, during this December school holidays, I thought I should get myself formally trained. One can only get so far with trial-and-error!
That course planted the seed in me, to want to blog again.
Shortly after that, I purchased a Udemy course on blogging. It was along with many other courses during the Cyber Week sale (no prizes for guessing what the others were). I stuck through with this one and, the next thing I know, I was looking up GoDaddy.com to register my domain.
What is my blog niche?
I thought long and hard about my niche. I wanted to write about something that can offer some value to the world. But with the internet, there is really nothing new under the sun. Or is there?
I thought of writing about my struggle with depression and mental health issues. Maybe by sharing my story, I can encourage someone out there who is facing something similar. But I am not a mental health expert, and besides, I am still in the process of recovery. What if I have a relapse?
I thought of writing about my work as a teacher. But what if I write something wrong, and infringe some privacy issues or cross professional boundaries?
I even thought of writing about personal finance, an area of interest of mine. Then I read about Google’s YMYL guidelines and I shy away. Basically, it means that if I am not an expert in finance (and I’m not), I should not be writing about things that may impact others’ financial happiness. At least, that’s how I understand it.
So I went on a soul search and finally settled on one theme that seems to connect my adult years – my pursuit of personal growth. I recalled how I was a devout student of Chinese studies from 2001-2006, then I early pursued theological studies from 2008-2016, graduating with a Grad. Dip. in Christian Studies with magna cum laude. From 2012 to 2015, I was immersed in financial education and read over 100 finance books. Then from 2017 I was profusely reading books on leadership and self-development. I guess I can safely say that I’m an avid reader!
Writing on personal growth will also allow me to include some of the above topics. The process of overcoming depression is very much a personal growth topic. So is growing as a teacher. I could even occasionally blog about personal finance if I want to, as it is a journey of self-understanding as a steward of the resources God has given me.
Your Our Calling
I followed this train of thought and stumbled upon the idea of ‘calling’. Calling, or vocation, comes from the Latin vocare, to call, and means the work a person is called to do. This is a topic that deeply interests me and, I suspect, to many people as well. Just how do we know that we are doing what we are meant to do? Mankind has searched for the meaning of his existence for eons. What if I offer my insights on this universal quest for meaning, as my gift to the world? That might mean something (pun unintended)!
So I hit the search button for “embraceyourcalling.com” and, lo and behold, it was taken. Kinda expected that, actually.
The closest one was “embraceourcalling.com”. I sat on it for a few days. Then it grew on me. Instead of writing as a teacher (professional hazard), how about I simply invite my readers along in my own journey of identifying my calling? It should not be a monologue, as though I have all the answers (I definitely don’t). It should be a dialogue, a conversation. The kind of conversation friends hold with one another as they walk together on a common path.
So, I settle for “our” instead of “your”, and it turns out better!
Embrace Our Calling
Embracing our calling should be something we all aim for. I am aware that my core identity is that of an Interpreter. I thrive in helping people make sense of things. This is expressed primarily through my work as a teacher, but also through my work in my bilingual church as an interpreter, interpreting Chinese messages into English and vice versa.
But reality has taught me that, even if one has found his or her calling, it does not mean that everything becomes a bed of roses. You can fail at your calling, simply because you are human and you live in a human world. People make mistakes even in the roles they are most suited for. That does not make these roles any less their calling.
The problem is, one can also turn away from one’s calling, even if he or she knows that there is nothing else better worth doing than that which one is made for. Therefore, I feel strongly that the word ’embrace’ is a must. Just as a loving mother embrace her wayward daughter with unconditional love, so I forge ahead with the relentless determination to embrace my calling with all my heart, with all its warts and thorns and thistles and problems and challenges and what-not. And I figure we all need a nudge in that direction, every now and then.
Creating the website
I followed the Udemy course instructor’s instructions to the dot, signing up my domain for hosting with SiteGround.com, and using WordPress.org as the platform for my blog. I learned that there is a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, and the latter is self-hosted but I have full control over the content. This is important since I intend to do this long term. I customized my theme and even select the same theme and setting as the course, at least for the start.
And I type out my About page and then this post. And I click “Publish”.
The rest, as they say, is history.