Monday, February 29, 2016
Am I Giving Up My Blog?
In just a very few months, this blog will observe its tenth birthday. In the eight months of that first year, there were 132 posts. 2010 showed an all-time high of 273 posts. 2015 showed exactly 132 posts.
I began blogging for a couple of reasons. The one I most often provided when asked was to keep a sort of a diary that perhaps one day my grandchildren might want to read. The other reason was to hold onto my sanity and fill up many very empty hours.
In the spring of 2000, I accepted a position as assistant to the head of a private school. The two of us got along famously; while he assigned jobs to me much of the time, a fair amount of my work was self-generated. I was always available for the special projects he created and liked learning new skills. I very much enjoyed my work. This was to continue until the summer of 2005 when that man left to take another position and another man became my boss. This man was much more self-reliant, and since he hadn't had an assistant in his previous job, he didn't seem to know how to use one. I continued to do the work I'd done over the years, but this new man seldom assigned me meaningful projects. The empty hours seemed endless. I read and wrote a lot of emails. I played on-line Scrabble. I visited the CNN website with bizarre regularity. And still.
And then one day I started a blog. I've always been a writer, and the blog was a way to write and not have to hang onto anything. I started visiting other blogs, which led to my writing more frequently and about more topics. The overwhelming majority of my blog posts were conceived, written, illustrated and published while I was at work, trying to fill empty hours.
You're wondering about the obvious question: Why didn't I ask for more to do? I did. Every year during my annual evaluation and usually a couple of times in between I would tell my boss, "I can do more. You can give me more to do." But any projects he had were passed along to another administrator, regardless of whether they might have been something I could handle. Apparently I wasn't the only one who didn't have enough to do. Rather than help me to grow in my job, this otherwise awfully nice gentleman let me clean out files ad nauseum, and once even told me that if I wasn't happy in my job perhaps I should look somewhere else.
Why didn't I do that, you're probably wondering? Well, there are a few reasons: Apart from not having enough to do, the school was a wonderful place to work. I was compensated very, very well. My commute was an eight-minute drive (nine if the traffic was bad), the atmosphere -- for the most part -- was one of encouragement, growth, and celebration. I laughed every single day. Paid time off was generous. The benefits including the retirement plan were better than average. And my age was a factor. Deep down I knew that I would have one dickens of a time finding another full-time job as a lady in the general age range of sixty.
And then one day it all came to an end. I was told that rather than my being given additional responsibilities, ones I certainly could handle, my position was being eliminated and someone else would cover the essential pieces. In five months I'd have no paycheck. If you are a long-time reader, you might remember how difficult that was.
What does all of this have to do with The State of the Blog? Bear with me.
I felt fortunate to land a part-time job halfway through that five-month period, and left the private school. That part-time job worked out well for a year and a half and ultimately gave way to my finding two other, deeply satisfying part-time positions. I spend three mornings each week in the office of a small school for autistic kids; I prepare lesson materials, answer the door and the phone, maintain the supply inventory, send out the invoices, and whatever else anyone at all needs to have done. Two or three times each month I spend a 24-hour shift as the chaplain at the local hospital where I am often not only busy enough but too busy attending traumas, deaths, Codes, supporting families, and performing emergency Baptisms.
And, frankly, I don't seem to have as much time to blog! Even though I'm employed far fewer hours, going to work means something different now. I've come to realize how toxic my previous employment was to me. That school is still a good place; students are receiving excellent educations and a spirit of grace rather than law underlies and informs virtually everything that goes on. It just wasn't a good place for me, though it took being away from it for nearly three years to understand that.
At work now, I'm busy. And my off-work hours are busy too -- quilting, reading, walking, spending time with my husband, leisurely lunches with friends -- all of these things seem to come before blogging, blogging which started out as a time-filler. It is still a journal, and more now these many years later. It's a connection with wonderful and interesting people I may never meet in person, but with whom relationships feel very solid. It's a world of all kinds of things to learn about and to be amused by.
I doubt I'll ever have another year of 273 blog posts. I'm way too busy! But I certainly don't foresee quitting. "Not while I got breath in my body," as Mammy would say.
Posted by Nancy Stevens on Monday, February 29, 2016