It wasn’t until sat down to write this week’s post that I realized this month is my blog’s four-year anniversary. (I’m embarrassed to admit that I actually thought it was my blog’s fifth anniversary until I did the math one more time. Some of us just weren’t cut out for working with numbers….) Anyway, I’m happy to say that the blog I started with much hope and trepidation four years ago is still going strong and that the experience has turned out to be a very good one.
It’s impossible to do something for four years straight and not learn a few things along the way. Prior to starting my blog, I had harbored a deep distrust of the internet, and couldn’t even buy something on line without panicking at the thought of actually putting my credit card number out there in cyberspace. The thought of putting my writing on the internet for all the world to see (and comment on) was the biggest hurdle I had to overcome before I could summon up the nerve to publish my first post. One of the first things my blog taught me is that the using the internet isn’t quite as dangerous as I had believed.
Yes, there are hackers galore, and there are also lots of folks out there who spend their days making nasty online comments to perfect strangers just because they can. But there are far more good people who are willing to offer encouragement, advice and kindness to the people they meet online. One of the best things about writing a blog post is getting comments on it that expand and improve on the point I was trying to make, and that happens a lot. I feel very lucky to have readers who are both smart and generous with their knowledge.
I’ve also learned that we humans have much more in common than I ever realized. My intended audience was middle-aged women, mostly because that’s who I was (yes, I know at sixty I’m stretching the definition of middle age a bit) and I figured those were the people who would relate to what I had to say. But I have regular readers who are male, and regular readers who are either younger or older than I am. It turns out, most of the issues I struggle with aren’t restricted to middle-aged woman at all. They’re human issues that most of us can relate to just fine, no matter what our age, sex, belief system, or nationality happens to be. The blogging community can represent diversity at its best.
Finally, I’ve learned how important it is not to let my fears, both the reasonable and the not-so-reasonable ones, stop me from doing the things I really want to do. I love writing and I love writing this blog, yet if I hadn’t managed to overcome my fears of “putting myself out there” on the internet, I would not have spent the past four years writing this particular blog. And that would have been a real shame, because I would missed out on all the gifts this blog has given me: the chance to grow as a writer, to connect with terrific people from all over the world, and the hope that (with a little luck and a lot of work) I may make it to my actual five year blogging anniversary.