Friday, October 31, 2008

quadruple digits

My Halloween greetings will have to wait a bit.

Because this is my 1000th post, everyone.

Thank you, thank you.

Okay, thanks.

Quiet down, folks, I've got some words to say here.

I started this blog nearly four years ago. I started it as a way to keep in touch with friends and family without having to keep track of everyone's email addresses. That's what I told myself, but really, it quickly became apparent that I also just wanted somewhere to organize my thoughts and ideas. And a place to get some feedback on those thoughts and ideas now and then. And a place to converse and debate about whatever I'm feeling worked up about or don't understand.

I was talking with a friend yesterday about happiness because of a book I'm reading (more on that in a future post). We were saying that one definition of happiness could be the ability to live in the moment without the desire to be doing something different, being someone different in another place. Boredom is a choice. One of the most unexpected benefits for me of maintaining this blog has been developing the ability to live in the moment to a far greater degree. I get much more excited about and appreciative of the small things in life now, and I think it's because of blogging.

Another great blessing has been making friends with other bloggers. People I've never even met in person. The very first day I blogged, I met Amity. Except, she didn't know it. :-) I wanted to see who already possessed the address mainegirl.blogspot, thus forcing me to add an extra "l" to mine. I was amazed to discover it was a fellow Maine girl (come to think of it, that shouldn't have been so surprising...) who had been an exchange student to South America in high school, just as I had. I worked up the courage eventually to introduce myself. I actually got to meet her a couple years ago! About a year ago I googled "jolly rancher ornaments" and stumbled upon this post. It was the mind-boggling Christmas schedule of a mother of three (and expecting another, I think?) crazy expat lady living in Mexico. In spite of the inferiority complex that particular post gave me, I kept going back to the blog. There was something about her. It turned out we share the same religion, went to the same college, and graduated the same year from high school! And we are both so fabulous! Sorry, I got carried away. So that is how I met Gabriela, now in Brazil.

This is not one of those high-traffic blogs. I never intended that it be and it always surprises me to find out I have some readers I don't even know. I see in my stats that some people keep visiting here--people who've never commented and I don't think I know. There are a couple readers in New Zealand, for example. Hi!! Thanks for reading. No, don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to give up your lurker status. Lurk away!

I love the discussion we have here. I had a couple emails recently thanking me for bringing up interesting and controversial issues on my blog. I wish I could say I do that for all of you, but I have purely selfish motives. It does make me feel a little vulnerable to splash my opinions all over this public space. However, I learn so much from the comments people make, I always feel it's worth a little embarrassment. I love it that people seem to feel comfortable commenting here, even on the most divisive of topics. I hope we can continue that. I hope everyone feels safe, but not so safe you get complacent. :-)

A couple days ago I did something I seldom, if ever, do. (I can't remember right now another instance I've done this.) I was reading a blog I frequent, and something the blog owner said made me uncomfortable. Normally I would forget it and move on. This time I said something. I was tempted to fire off a sarcastic comment, but I resisted. Instead I said words to the effect, "This is what it seems to me like you are saying and I find that condescending. Is that what you meant?" The blogger soon replied that she hadn't meant that but could see how it could be taken that way. She apologized.

I've learned from participating in and observing blog communication, that many times people write things they would never say in person. I think twice or even thrice now before I comment. People also sometimes make comments that could be taken different ways. I always try to give someone the benefit of the doubt. If it bothers me that much, I ask for clarification. At least, I did so two days ago and that will be my modus operandi moving forward.

Thank you, online friends. Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. And have a spooktacular Halloween! I'm off to pull out the gypsy costume.


Anonymous said...

Well, congratulations! 1000 posts - wow!

I think it is important for people to feel as though there is somewhere they can organize their thoughts and feelings, and even more so that they can receive good or bad criticism, and learn to take it. (That includes the good. Some people just can't take compliments.) It's great that blogging has been a place you feel you've been able to do that.

Michelle said...

What a milestone! Felidades!

I love the idea of happiness as living in the here and now. And I think that for me too, blogging has helped me to appreciate small things more regularly. I hadn't thought about it quite like that before, but it's true.

Ave said...

We just got back from trick or treating. Not enough chocolate.

Meg said...

I remember when you started. 1000 posts really? Hard to believe.

It's been great~