Lately, I’ve felt a bit lonely and nostalgic for the good ol’ days of blogging. In my early-20’s, I would work my full-time job from 9am-5pm, then work my part-time job from 6pm-12am. I would go home to write for another hour or two, only to wake five hours later to repeat the same routine. I attended personal development conferences, writing workshops, business mastermind groups, and book signings. Every spare moment was spent discovering new things, creating original content, and connecting with like-minded individuals. On a daily basis, I was called inspiring, authentic, and wise beyond my years, despite being nothing more than a girl with a loosely envisioned dream. I made many friends all across the globe, a few of whom I even had the opportunity to meet in real life. Life felt meaningful and fulfilling beyond measure.
Then, around 2013, after three years of almost-daily blogging, I stopped. A man I had briefly dated and broken up with had accused me of using my blog as my own personal dating profile. It was a ridiculous accusation, but it stung enough that I was ashamed to show my face before the thousands of strangers I had spent years of my life building special relationship with. No one else had ever suggested anything remotely like that before, but I couldn’t shake the fear. What if everyone viewed me as a self-serving attention whore? It felt easier to walk away than to fall apart in the face of that question.
In 2014, I quit most social media and had nearly erased my entire online presence by 2017. My departure was based on a combination of governmental requirements for my security clearance, requests from my boyfriend who is an expert in digital privacy, and an overwhelming desire to release the pressure to show up each and have something to say. It was difficult, but it was the right thing for me. I am an open book and, at least for me, working through emotions and constantly re-framing things in a positive light was overwhelming and exhausting. Each post was met with dozens of kind words and suggestions, but also the pressure to be the person I was still becoming. Just as a watched pot never boils, I don’t know if we can truly come to know ourselves without spending times alone with our thoughts and feelings.
I developed a severe infection in 2015, which hindered my endless endeavors. In 2017, the infection spread and I dropped everything except work, sleep, and my boyfriend. Over the years, I have lost touch with nearly everyone else. I recently checked my old blogroll and most of my old, anonymous friends have moved on and allowed their websites to expire. My memory has suffered, as the lung infection led to poor oxygenation of the brain. Sometimes, I remembers a first name or a face, but rarely both. My old friends are blurry, half-developed characters in my mind, the flash of a friend that was here and then gone, seemingly in an instant.
One of my goals in 2021 is to reach out and thank the people who have had an impact on my life. I have been slowly drafting up a list of teachers, friends, favorite authors, helpful doctors, teammates from personal development conferences, and blogging compadres from the early 2010s. There are so many people who have changed my life for the better through their inspiration, support, kind words, and even postcards from across the globe. Tim, Miro, Erik, Sifrim, Barb, Jen, Victoria, Chris, Jess, Adam, Sarah, and Kevin, just to name a few. How are they doing today? Are they still writing, listening, and supporting their fellow human beings? I wish I knew where they were. I wish that I could thank each of them. (Tim, I know you’re still here. Hi! And thank you!)
Eleven years ago, I started my first blog because my final year college was less-than-challenging and I wanted some mental stimulation and creative exercise, as well some sense of connection after I began avoiding campus when a friend-turned-admirer lost their marbles. It was the best thing decision of my life. In my first year, I was Freshly Pressed twice and it felt like a world of opportunity had opened up ahead of me. Though meeting my boyfriend truly wins in the category of best thing ever, that blog gave me the confidence, insights, and voice I needed to become the type of smart and interesting woman that he would later be attracted to.
I miss the old days of blogging. I really do. While I don’t think blogging is dead nor a waste of time, I am beginning to see that it has almost certainly passed its hay-day. Podcasts and TikTok have taken over, flooding the divided and ever-shortening attention spans of today’s youth. And yet, this is where I have returned. This is where I want to be. Though not as popular as it once was, I still feel that this is the place where kind, compassion, thoughtful, creative, opinionated, and open-minded people come to reside.
Whether writing for themselves, to their long-distance family members, or to entertain and inspire internet strangers, bloggers tend towards honesty and authenticity. Whether writing about books, children, food, travel, fashion, or underwater basket weaving, bloggers show up with something to share. Whether sharing poignant life advice or whispering sweet nothings into the ether, blogger tap away at their keyboards day-after-day. Whether writing anonymously or flooding their page with selfies, bloggers are comfortable in their own skin and true to their hearts. Whether they have one true fan or one thousand, bloggers are my kind of people.
While my early-2010s blogging crew seems to have mostly moved on and I do miss them, I’m realizing that I am still so grateful to be here. I’m honored to be a part of a new generation of people choosing to slow down, pay attention, and speak their mind. In this fast-paced world, I believe it’s one of the best things we can do. Though the net of community is not as closely knit as it seemed to be a a decade ago, before the emergence of echo chambers and the pervasiveness of online advertising, the support is still here. The blogosphere is still a place where one can discover meaning, fulfillment, and new friends.
The good ol’ days of blogging may be long gone but, in many regards, all those things that made made classic blogging such a wonderful hobby are still alive and well. At the end of the day, it’s about the people and their ideas. And, though the individuals and the content my fluctuate, I feel certain that the internet will always be filled with people eager to share their big and small ideas.
How long have you been blogging? What are you favorite aspects? What do you wish there more of?