One year ago, I finally worked up the nerve to start writing a blog about coping with middle age. I’d been feeling a bit lost for a while, struggling to adjust to all the changes middle age brings, while at the same time trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I wasn’t especially sad (although every time I look in the mirror and see the wrinkled skin on my sagging neck, I do feel like crying, just a little bit), but I did feel as if I was drifting in a strange new world that I didn’t really understand. So it seemed like a good time to take a risk and start the blog I’d been thinking about writing for a long time, especially since I had a good friend who kept encouraging me to give it a shot.
When I wrote that first post, And Now I Really Feel Old, I was so clueless about blogging that I wasn’t even sure if the post was going to make it to the internet, but it did. And friends and family, some of whom I hadn’t heard from in years, read it and were kind enough to tell me they enjoyed it. That gave me the courage to keep going, even when I didn’t know how to change the format of my page, tag my posts, or any of the etiquette of interacting with other bloggers. But I kept trying, and with the help of other bloggers, I finally figured out most of what I need to know to write my blog.
My blog is not big or particularly successful. I have only 192 followers, and the largest number of views of any of my posts is 239. Still, I have felt rewarded for every single post I have ever written, because each one has brought a gift: a new follower, a contact from an old friend, a reader who told me that the message in my post was exactly what they needed to hear that day, or a comment that was so funny it made me laugh out loud. For me, that is the best kind of success.
Every new venture brings results we didn’t predict, and this blog is no exception. It’s helped me reconnect with old friends and distant family. It’s introduced me to a world of wonderful blogs written by smart, caring people who now feel like friends. This blog has me writing regularly again, on a real schedule, which has reminded me that I truly am a writer, despite my file cabinet full of rejection letters. Most of all, it’s taught me that, even in my late middle-age, I am not too old to try something new. This blog has helped me find my way at a time in my life when I was just a little bit lost.
Last week I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by Sandee M., who writes a great blog called the Forty-Something First Time Bride. (Check it out, she’s a gifted writer who describes her adjustment to married life eloquently and honestly.) As a nominee, I’m supposed to give advice to other bloggers, but I don’t think I have much to add to the advice that’s already out there, so I’ll just say this: Do it. Take the plunge and start your blog. Write even on the days when the words come hard, and the self-doubt creeps in. Just keep writing, and in the end, it will absolutely be worth it.