My friend Diane wrote in a post: "So some of my blogging buddies are taking a trip this week back to their early days of blogging when they were less self conscious about what they wrote. They just had fun writing whether or not anyone read it and got to know other bloggers in the process. (This took place sometime after the Reformation and before Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest)."
It challenged me to think back to when I decided to start blogging. I opened my Blogger account in 2007 but didn't post anything until a year later. I was still afraid of the Internet back then and was hesitant to put anything personal "out there." But another friend had started a blog and seemed to have fun with it so I decided to jump in. The rest, as they say, is history.
Here is my very first blog post:
I am in love with real pen and paper writing so it is stepping out of my comfort zone to do an online journal but I see this as just one more venue for putting my thoughts and ideas into words and pictures.
In a way, doing this blog is a step toward wanting to reinvent myself now that I am in midlife. Or maybe not so much "reinvent" but to discover who I am now that I've moved into a new stage of life.
I know I've changed over the years but I'm not sure I know the person I've changed into. All these years I've devoted most of my energy into homemaking and childrearing and haven't really thought about who I would be in an empty nest. It isn't that I fear the empty nest, but I want a sense of direction once that happens.
I need to give myself permission to let go of what doesn't fit anymore and embrace new ideas about who I can become that I hadn't considered before. God promises in His word that He will complete the work He has started in me so that gives me hope. I don't know yet what the finished "me" will look like but I look forward to the journey.
It strikes me that all our lives up until we graduate from high school people ask us what we want to be but never who we want to become. After we "grow up" they quit asking and we quit asking ourselves. In some ways, once we embark on a career or lifestyle choice we let that define us and don't think to re-evaluate if it still fits.
I think the better question for me at this stage of my life is "who am I now or who do I want to become?" I know who I am in Christ; I know what labels I hold (wife, mother, sister, daughter, artist, writer, etc.), but I really don't know who I am now that I am not so defined as a mom at home raising kids. What really gives me joy? If I got out of my own way, what would I dare to try? What have I always wanted to do but didn't have the time or resources? Who do I see myself becoming in the next year? What is my bliss?
These are the questions I want to explore in this blog as I write about daily life and the me yet to come.
Five years later, I'm still on that journey. The basic questions remain but I do have a little more clarity. My blogging has gone down different paths along the way but remains true to who I am whether I'm posting recipes, writing about the everyday things of life, sharing from the heart what God is teaching me, exposing my vulnerabilities, or unapologetically giving my opinion on anything from politics to religion.
I've had my moments of wanting to quit blogging altogether because of the self-imposed pressure of posting something, anything, in order to keep people interested. But back in the early days I wrote "just because" whether anyone read it or not. In fact, I was sort of creeped out when I got my first "followers" because I thought people were stalking me. Thankfully I learned that this is what people did when they liked a blog and wanted to read more, so I started following others in return. As a result, I've made many wonderful friends and that is what keeps me here. It is so much more than me sharing my thoughts with others; it's what I gain from them that has been the biggest payoff.
I'm not sure how long I will blog. I suppose when it no longer is fun or interesting or I simply have nothing more to say I'll move on but that doesn't seem likely any time soon.