10 years ago today, I started blogging.
I started rather inauspiciously, inspired by online journals that I had read at the time. I loved being able to read about other people’s lives. Heidi would say that I enjoy that because I’m a snoop. I prefer to refer to it as “interested.” But on the flip side of that, I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to reveal on my blog – I didn’t even know what I wanted to write about, but blogging seemed like a natural progression for me. I had journaled for years, but attempts to do so had been met with less and less success. I had been a member of a listserv a year or two prior and many of my posts to that were de facto blog posts before I had even heard the term. I thought maybe writing for an audience, as small as it might be, would be good for me. Upon telling a friend of mine at the time that I was starting a blog, he famously said to me “I give you 3 months. In order to blog, you have to be naked with your emotions.” Probably in reaction to this comment, I doubled down and decided that I would show him. 10 years later, I think I probably have.
My blogging, and as a result, my writing, has changed a lot over the last decade. I read the early entries and while it’s not as painful as reading journals I kept in college, it’s still clear that I was pretty unpolished. I’ve written a metric shit-ton about Madonna. I’ve told stories that I thought I never would share with anyone. I wrote a letter to myself. I’ve met a lot of people who have become close friends. I’ve directed new friends to my blog and they haven’t backed away slowly, so I count that as a win. I also think I’m a lot better writer than I used to be, but Heidi still writes circles around me.
I’ve always told people that if they want to get to know me, they really should just read my blog. I still feel that way, even though my blogging has tapered off a lot this year. I used to be worried about that, but I’ve pretty much come to terms with it for the time being. I have a demanding job, a nearly teenage daughter (how in the world am I old enough for that?) and the time to write competes with other things – mostly helping Anna with math that, despite my many degrees and having taken advanced math classes in college, I find myself struggling with.
I ponder the future of this blog a lot. Earlier this year, a part of me wanted to close up shop on this one and start over again with a clean slate. But I just don’t know that I can do that. I would hate to abandon all this hard work. I’ve put a lot of time and energy into the contents of this blog over the past 10 years, and to just leave it to wither and die on the vine, even if I did start up again on a new site would make me a little bit sad. So I guess I’m here to stay, for as long as there’s interest on my part and something to write about.
A high school classmate messaged me on Facebook tonight to tell me that they always read the posts that I link from Facebook because they are “open, honest and well written.” No higher of a compliment could be paid to me for the things I write here. I try to walk the very fine line between being open and honest so that others can learn from my experiences and oversharing. No one likes uncomfortable overshares, and I know that I have walked perilously close to that many times over the last 10 years. I remember going back and editing early posts that contained events that happened at my place of employment at that time. Even then, it contains a little too much personal detail than I would share now. I’m perhaps overly cautious in what I write about in some respects – I won’t ever blog about work and I won’t divulge things that have been shared with me in confidence, not even anonymously. I try not to write about other people without their permission and if I do, it’s because the post is positive. Mostly I just like to talk and write about what’s rattling around inside my brain and hope that someone else might find it interesting.
Blogging has helped me learn a lot about myself and has helped me on that lifelong process of being comfortable in my own skin. Trust me, that hasn’t always been an easy endeavor. But it has made it 10 times easier. Sharing my experiences as a man in the early 21st century helped me see all the influences in my life that have shaped the person I am today.
This blog represents a slice of Dan. For those who read, thanks for being along for and continuing to be along for the ride.
Now where’s my Paul Simon penned theme song?