My Fifth Blogoversary (Part Two)
This is the second part of a two-part blog post. As I said before, one post simply grew too long to contain everything I wanted to say. The first part can be found here (containing Takes One, Two, and Three).
Five years ago, I started this blog. The twins were still babies. I was so confident that we’d have another child. I didn’t know how we’d pay the bills. I wanted to be a writer, but the only thing I thought I knew how to do is be a teacher. I had a small circle of friends.
The twins are turning seven this summer. We don’t have that third child and I don’t know if we ever will. I’m able to work out of the house and be a full-time parent. I have two books published. I miss teaching from time to time, but it doesn’t feel like the only thing I could do with myself. I know people around the world and my friendship circles are like rings, many deep.
There is a saying in DC that if you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes.
(Yes, I’m aware that other cities also have this saying, but it actually originated in The Washington Post on March 4, 1934. So there.)
The same can be said about life. Whether or not you like the figurative weather, it’s going to change. That can be bittersweet when life is good. And it can be a huge relief when things are bad. It will not always be like this.
The same can be said about blogs, which is why I rarely unsubscribe from reading one. Even if I don’t like the post I’m reading today, I may like the one the person writes tomorrow. Chances are, if I took the time in the first place to subscribe to the blog, that more interesting things will percolate to the screen at some point in the future.
The same can be said about writing a blog — the stats of today, the comments of today, the readership of today — it will all be different tomorrow. That can be a bad thing if you’re enjoying a creative period and the posts are flowing. The readers are coming and the comments are being left. Because that will dry up, sad to say. It won’t dry up entirely, but we all have our good blogging days and our bad ones.
But it can also be a good thing if your blog or your readership or your comment levels aren’t where you want them to be today. There is always the chance for a change in the future.
That is what makes life — and writing — interesting.
Five years ago, I started this blog. Every year on my blogoversary, I give myself a word to concentrate on for the year.
Year One (which ended up describing my first year of blogging): Connections
Year Two (set on my first blogoversary): Action
Year Three (set on my second blogoversary): Listening
Year Four (set on my third blogoversary): Tune
Year Five (set on my fourth blogoversary): Own
This year, I thought the word would have something to do with the Prompt-ly list since it is absolutely the project I’m concentrating on this year.
But I had to write a letter this week to someone who means a great deal to me to explain why she means a great deal to me. I had to take this very emotional thing — love — and put it into words.
In trying to pinpoint it, the best way I could explain why she means a great deal to me is that she recognizes that the world is inadvertently a cold place. That while we may do caring acts from time to time — helping an old lady cross the street or listening to a friend for an hour — our day is mostly spent in bubbles where we focus solely on ourselves even as we perform tasks for others.
We don’t mean to shut each other out, but we do it (and sociologists could probably explain why it’s actually necessary for humans to do this in order to survive and thrive). Someone asks us for a favour, and we ignore them. Someone admits they’re lonely, and we don’t reach out to let them know we’re listening.
So we shut each other out — albeit inadvertently (most likely due to the constraints of time). At the same time, it is our relationships that make the difference in this world, that heat this cold world. We notice those moments that people leave their bubble to enter our own because those moments are what makes the difference between people feeling supported and people feeling alone.
Humans are not meant to be alone.
Think about the emails you’ve saved because someone said something that meant the world for you to hear. Or the times when we’ve gushed about how someone took the time to converse with us or read our blog. We have such gratitude for human interactions — even the small ones.
Yet even knowing how good it makes us feel to have someone interact with us; to reach their hand into our life and let us know that we’re not alone, we don’t spend nearly enough time doing this. Perhaps out of survival — we need to focus on ourselves in order to keep moving forward — though I can’t help but think this is counterintuitive. Wouldn’t we go so much farther if we all spent more time focused on interacting with others since it could come full circle and have people interact with us. Don’t we accomplish more together than we ever do on our own?
So, my word for this year, for year six (on my fifth blogoversary):
As in, I’m going to take this year to try to pop my bubble each day. To be conscious of reaching out to others and making that connection count. To engage in conversations. To help where I can help.
Even if I only increase my time outside by bubble by five minutes a day, that’s amounts to 1825 or over 30 hours of time each year that I am engaged in community by actively interacting.
Will I be able to always pop my bubble for everyone else who needs me to pop my bubble and focus on them? Of course not. I’m a human being who needs to practice guitar for at least a half hour each night, do my job and volunteer work, and spend countless hours trying to come up with new and interesting ways to annoy Josh and the twins (please, that takes A LOT of brain power). So in advance, I’m sorry if you slip through the cracks and my bubble doesn’t pop. It isn’t on purpose, though I know that’s cold comfort.
Five takes for my fifth blogoversary. Five years ago, I started this blog. And I am so happy that I did. And so grateful that you are here.
And you better not leave this post bare of comments just because you used up your blogoversary wishes on this first one! Pop that bubble!