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Ten Years Later

This post has been ten years in the making.

It started when I graduated from my undergrad degree, and created this blog. I had just accepted my first full-time job. I was getting ready to move across the country. I bought my first cell phone. Twitter didn't exist. Facebook was just a baby.

Now here I am, in 2016, about to graduate from my Masters degree. In the intervening decade, I have:
  • Moved across the country, and then moved back east, to the largest city in our nation. 
  • Held four different jobs - ministry, nanny, small business, college office. 
  • Freelanced as a photographer, and as an editor/writer.
  • Traveled to six different countries- three each in Europe and Africa.
  • Lived in five different homes (#6 is two weeks away!). 
  • Dated five men, and been on many other dates.
  • Been a bridesmaid six times. 
  • Celebrated other weddings, births, and joys. 
  • Walked with loved ones through illness (physical and mental), death, infidelity, and other heartache.
  • Gone into debt to go back to school. 
  • Curated a poet-ography exhibit of my poetry and photography.
  • Taken a class on memoir writing.
  • Hosted a blog series on sexuality and shame that has had a huge impact on both my own life and others' lives. 
  • Married one of the boyfriends.
  • Adopted a dog. 
  • (and since I started this draft, adopted a second dog!)
  • Wrestled with my faith and how to live wholeheartedly.

It's not an exhaustive list. But the point is, there have been some significant life experiences and changes and growth.

Pig & Ivy out for a walk.
And the world around me has changed too. I'm starting this entry on my phone. My smart phone with WiFi and separate apps for all my social media platforms. I have Internet friends I've never met in person. Facebook and Twitter have changed how we have online conversations.

And I still have this blog.

--

I've been thinking about all this and how it relates to the drastic decrease in the number of posts I've published in the last few years, and I see three factors:


1. Marriage and work change privacy parameters. I remember watching my blogging friends disappear after marriage, and I swore I wouldn't go their route. Oops. Turns out that it does change. For one, I can't write carte blanche about someone else the way I could about myself. And also, thoughts I used to bring here first often get resolution offline before I have time to sit down and write it out. 

I've been in school for the last three years. I pay money to write papers and read books. Which means that in my free time, I'm not doing as much reading or writing. I watch a lot of sports, now. I take the dog(s) out when my brain feels fried. And as I graduate, I'm closer to something like a "career," some sort of work that I feel passionate about and want to honour and guard by being careful with what I say online. Because like I already mentioned...


2. The Internet and I have substantially changed. At 31, the things I'm interested in and the way I process my life has shifted. I don't feel the same need for broad affirmation that I felt at 21. I'm a grown-ass lady, and even if I feel like I'm faking it on many days, I have the white hairs to prove that I am firmly ensconced in adulthood. 

The links and little thoughts I used to post here are on Twitter now. Pictures go on Instagram. (Not very much goes on Facebook, except links to this.) I read (skim) dozens of headlines and articles every day. There are voices writing about every topic imaginable. We live in an age of information overload. 

And let's be honest, I'm more afraid of online bullying/arguing than I was a decade ago. It is different to be a woman writing publicly online than it was in 2006. I feel a lot more nervous about getting caught in arguments I don't want. I also fear saying ignorant or ill-informed things. Which leads into the next reality - 


3. My audience has grown. When I started writing here, maybe fifteen or twenty of you would come check things out and follow along with my (mis)adventures and rather random thoughts. Now, strangers read these words. I have friends in foreign places, friends I've never met in real life (but who are, nonetheless, real friends). My circle of real-life friends has expanded as well, and we're a less homogenous bunch than my core group was a decade ago. 

When I write now, I often think of one person or another, and feel that I can't write for the whole lot of you. My faith is a big part of my life, but I don't want to be someone whose thoughts are unintelligible for those outside of church. I also have a few convictions that are unpopular with some of my church friends, and I've stayed silent on some topics that I'd like to explore. 

--

I guess the bottom line is that I feel like my day-to-day life is, after several years of change and turmoil, settling in to a rhythm and space that I'm happy to inhabit. But my online voice has been a bit behind. 


And I'm hoping to change that. Which is why I wanted to sort all this out for myself, and then let you in on the thoughts that have been rolling around for weeks.

--

Two weeks from this evening, I will be done all the school, and moved into a new home across town, within walking distance of our church, and even closer to the beach. If you follow me on Instagram, expect a lot of waterfront photos... 

Gonna be here erryday.

I know life isn't going to be a golden haze of perfection, but I think it will slow down a little. I'm looking forward to being back around here a little more regularly, and I hope to hear from you as we go. You're a great crew, and I've missed you. 

Comments

Anonymous said…
"I'm a grown-ass lady" Hahaha. Yes! I love this. Thanks for this Beth. Lots of love to you xo Steph [B] Donnelly
Beth said…
Thanks, Steph!
hisearthgirl said…
a joy to read, and to know you - as always.
Beth said…
Thanks, Terr-bear! :)

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