When Life Throws You a Curveball

It’s a Tuesday morning. It had started snowing the night before, so I eagerly hopped out of bed to open the blinds. There was an elegant dusting of snow on everything – the trees, the road, the few cars parked in front of nearby houses. It was beautiful, but cold. I snuggled back under the sheets and grabbed my phone from the nightstand. Like usual, I checked my email first.

That’s when I saw it – an email from YouTube explaining that they had changed the guidelines for monetization on the platform, and that my channel did not meet them. Starting February 20, I will no longer have the option to place ads on my videos, and I will not be able to access the money I had already made in my 2 years of uploading. There is a minimum before you can withdraw, and I was still working my way to it.

Immediately my heart sank. I had already been questioning my content on YouTube – what was working, what wasn’t, and how should I adjust accordingly. In general, I’ve been following my interests and have been happy with the overall cohesion that was being to show, but I wasn’t getting the draw I was hoping for. And now I was losing the support of the platform itself.

I don’t upload to YouTube for money, but honestly, it was a nice perk that there was potential to make some in the future. For me, this curveball riled me up because it felt like YouTube was turning it’s back on the small content creators as a solution for a much bigger problem – inappropriate content being uploaded and monetized that shouldn’t even be on the platform in the first place. At this point, the reasoning is neither here or nor there. I had already been feeling at a loss, and this was just the hump that broke the camel’s back.

What I want to talk about is how I reacted to this news. First, I had to express my feelings. I needed to complain. I needed to feel lost and confused. I couldn’t ignore my distaste. I spent the rest of the day moping around, feeling unmotivated to do any work. I read, meditated, and made peanut butter cookies. I texted my best friend to express my woes, my anger, and my frustration. We ended up having a long phone call that had me laughing by the end.

After I got everything out of my system, I proceeded by reaching out for help. I set up some polls on Instagram asking people what kind of content they like to consume. Of my video content, what topics did they like best? Would they rather see more blog posts and less videos? I felt it deep in my bones that I needed to make a change, but I couldn’t figure out what direction to go in. I needed outside advice, especially considering I create this work to help others. Plus, let’s be honest, when something we are so deeply connected to is threatened, we can be overdramatic and make rash decisions. Listening to an outside perspective brings you back down to earth.

Finally, from there I started making a new game plan. I’m going to ease off of my strict posting schedule. I’m going to focus more on blog posts, as writing has become exhilarating and something I look forward to. Instead of dipping my toes into everything, I’m going to hone in on just a couple of things – blogging/writing, Instagram, and exclusive products for this site. I won’t be stretching myself thin, so I will be doing less, but leaving room for improvement. Better photography. More cohesion. An improved writing style. New projects.

I had to go through all of these stages and accept something that was out of my control before I could be in the right mindset to reassess. And once I did, a ton of new ideas began to flow. I feel excited and hopeful for the future of The Awakened Moon, even though a week ago I was devastated. It was only temporary.

Life is full of curveballs. Sometimes it shows up as two choices presenting themselves where we make the decision, and other times it’s something that is thrust upon us that we simply have to accept. They can be good, but often they are bad, or at least feel that way initially. Go through the process you need to go through.

Feel your feelings, but try not to stay with them for too long.

Complain, but then accept what has happened so you can pick yourself back up and continue on.

Ask for help from someone who isn’t as emotionally invested as you.

Follow your current interests to see where they lead.

Make a new game plan.

This is only a stage, a bump in the road, that is helping you down the path you need to be on. It’s hard to hear when you’re deep in the trenches, but everything happens for a reason. Have trust, and above all, have hope.

P.S. Keep watching this space! There will be less YouTube videos from now on, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any, or that there aren’t more exciting things on the horizon 🙂