Monday, February 29, 2016

Am I Giving Up My Blog?

A fellow blogger wrote and said she noticed I wasn't blogging as often and that she hoped I wasn't going to quit. She got me to thinking because her observation came as a surprise. I noticed that she is right about the diminished frequency, and eventually I figured out the reason for it.

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.


Nann said...

Quality, not quantity. It's a good thing. (I appreciated the summary, since I didn't know you until you'd had the blog for a couple of years.)

Janet O. said...

Glad to hear you aren't throwing in the towel, Nancy. We each have our own reasons for blogging, and whatever yours may be, I have enjoyed following your journey. I recall the job transition and the upheaval it created in your life. I am glad you have found a happy place.
My infrequency of blog posts myself (65 my peak year) makes me less aware when someone else has slowed down, but it doesn't mean I don't value what you have to share!

Ray said...

Whew!! I am so glad that you will continue the blog!!

Chookyblue...... said...

I always enjoy reading your blog...... We all blog for different reasons......

Judi said...

I'm absolutely delighted to read that you will continue to blog - and even more delighted to read that you are fulfilled, happy, and often too busy doing things that are important to you to create blog posts!

Tanya said...

Well said! I'm in sort of a limbo right now wondering WHAT I'm going to do with a few extra hours in a couple months... Leaving from a job that pays well, that I've been good at for 26 years. And the school is a good place, just as you say. Maybe not such a good place for me anymore. I am hoping to be led to something just as fulfilling... Thanks for your insights!

Carol said...

I so enjoy your blog, and know it is a personal thing---when and if you have the time and I certainly respect it. I really see the value in a chronicle of your comings and goings -- and your trips have been so fun to read. I think I found you through Finn several years ago and was interested because of your quilting, but life as it happens is interesting as well. I'll be reading when you have the time to write.

Karla said...

Isn't it marvelous how life has a way of rewriting our script? Sometimes we enter the rewrite kicking and screaming, but it all works out. I look forward to your blog, I am glad it is not ending. ❤️

Barbara Anne said...

Cheers that you'll keep blogging albeit less frequently, because your posts are always a joy to read. The topics vary and that's a plus but I'm also a quilter so love those posts, too.

You're 100% correct that your real, 3-D life should come first and I'm pleased for you that your time now is fuller in wonderful, tiring, creative, and satisfying ways!

I'll continue to pop in for a visit each morning as that's when my real life usually provides me time for such fun.


LizA. said...

So glad to hear that you will be sticking around. I'm also glad that your real life jobs have turned into something so meaningful and fulfilling. I've been following you for over 8 years now, maybe even longer than that.

AnnieO said...

I've loved your writing since I found your blog--and you were one of my early supporters. I didn't realize you did most of your blogging at work! My theory about jobs is that boring jobs are the hardest--and certainly not having enough to do is boring. Glad you have found a much richer and fuller life elsewhere. More than pleased as punch that your blog will continue!

Quiltdivajulie said...

I think many of us have filled some empty hours at the office by blogging (writing posts or reading those written by others). I know I did. And I appreciate your very thoughtful post. So many shout that blogging is no longer "the" way, that IG and FB and others are quicker and easier. I for one value having a place to share the stories and thoughts behind what we share and not just a single photo in isolation or a random phrase that could be read nine different ways. I am so grateful I found your blog many years ago and while we've yet to meet in person, I consider you a dear and trusted friend. Thank you for sharing yourself with us!