Saturday, July 01, 2006

2-Year Anniversary of My Blogging Experience

Believe it or not, I’ve been keeping a journal online now for officially two years! I’m pretty positive that today is my two-year anniversary, but something somewhere is thrown off, because for some reason I have my one-year anniversary posted here, on June 27, 2005; however, when I return to my ORIGINAL weblog, which is here, it shows my first blog entry on July 1, 2004. I wonder why I have my one-year anniversary blog on June 27th. Hmmm…

Anyways, assuming my first blog entry on July 1, 2004, is correct, that makes today my blog’s 2nd birthday! While it is hard to believe I have been blogging for that long, I think my number of entries justifies it.

During my first year of blogging I wrote some 176 blog entries, which is noted in my one-year anniversary post. Since that time, over the past year, I have added 219 more entries, which is quite an increase in the second year if you ask me! However, in this past year I do credit my increase in number somewhat to my weekly blog series I would post every Monday. These series contributed greatly to my numbers, as well as kept me regularly in my writing mindset.

Whether I found myself posting a picture for a caption contest, or painting a picture of a dear friend, or even relinquishing thoughts about a chapter in a book, I counted on my Monday blog series to keep me from falling victim to the overbearing-nature that our weekly lives can throw at us. I strove to not end up as one of the once-a-month bloggers. A blog that watched its reading audience slowly dwindle away as the posts became further and far between.

Over this past year of writing I have seen my blog grow and change just as I have. As a piece of me, it reflects greatly the pattern my life has followed over the year.

As I reflect on my past year and on my writings I am reminded of a year of change, based on growth and becoming more and more a part of the reality of life.

With my blog over the past year, one can read and see a change in the types of posts. A year ago I was still posting “surveys” on my blog. You know, the posts that have the questions asking about who I am, and I fill in each question with the answer pertaining to me. A year ago I was still posting about myself in a more identifying way. I would use more names of identifiable people in my life. I would use names of places and situations in my life—each painting a close description of who I am for anyone to identify me.

Today I have not posted a survey in quite some time. I’m not signifying surveys as posted on a blog as “bad” or “wrong” or anything of that nature; I have simply decided that is not the nature of my online journal anymore.

Today I have not posted specific names identifying myself with someone or a place in quite some time. Though I will not be completely unidentifiable from my weblog, I do make more of an effort to take into consideration with my writings what I think I should avoid mentioning specifically. Nowadays, I am much more cautious and aware of individuals who might have interest in identifying me and personal information about me via the internet. I am placing more and more importance on this in my life as I find myself slowly getting into my profession, which I hope to be in full fledge status by this time next year. In this line of work, one simply needs to be careful, as I could find myself working with clients who might be interested in finding out more me than I would like them to know. So the less identifiable I am on my blog, the better position I have myself in for the future.

And just as my blog style has changed over the past year, so have I, changed over this past year. I have grown and changed just as we all do with a year’s time, but as I reflect I am able to note some specifics from this past year that stand out to me.

It has been a few months now, but not too long ago, I had discussed with one of my best friends the situation I was sitting in. I felt like I was changing, and I felt like I was becoming stressed more often and upset more often and just feeling like life was changing and things were going differently for me than they ever had in the past. I told her I didn’t know what the deal was, but I felt like I was different. My friend said this, “well do you think you could just be growing up?” At the time I said, “yeah I suppose,” but really just kind of wrote it off in my mind like, “whatever.” But the more thought I gave it over time, the more I thought she could be right…

I think I have grown up a lot this past year. I think I am becoming a much more serious person…

This is not to say I was never serious in the past, but nowadays I have matured and seem to be living more as a matured adult, rather just an college kid who is over-come with the freshness of independence.

Today I have a lot more responsibilities than I did a few years ago. More than I had just a year ago. While responsibilities do not require “fun” to be abandoned, they do require one to view them as serious tasks of one’s life.

Over this past year I have taken part in two internships for my graduate degree. I have been able to talk about them via my blog. These experiences have led me to accept positions of true responsibility, not only for myself, but for helping others through points in their lives. The later is due to the nature of my degree.

These internships have been wonderful experiences for me. I have been so grateful. They have reassured me that I have chosen the right direction for my career path. They have allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that these years and years of education have not been in vain. But also, as my friend pointed out when she referenced to me that I was growing up, she said how my internships have helped me to take on the reality of life and adulthood. Though they were internships, meaning they were unpaid, they were the real thing. I was covered under malpractice insurance during the internships, because the reality of being sued did/does exist. Internships are one step shy of the real thing—that step being the lack of monetary reward.

But as my adult life has been taking shape over this past year, it also brought with it the realities that come with growing up. Unfortunately, the reality of life is that it is not always going to be happy-sailing. It is not always going to “go my way.” Things are going to get stressful, depressing, and hard at times, but life can, will, and has gone on.

Over this past year I’ve seen that life can bring hardships that we must face. For instance, I have recently noticed how my email address book now contains the email addresses of four individuals who have passed away.

Deaths are never an easy thing, but one thing I have noticed is that the older we get, the more likely we are to experience deaths to people we know. First, this is because we are all getting older as time passes, but also because the older we get, the more connections we have made through the years, only leaving us with more individuals to potentially lose.

The email addresses began with Charles Trevathan’s passing back in 2004, but over this past year I have had three more friends pass who I have left their email addresses in my address book as remembrances of their life for me to see as I frequent the book.

There was Cathy Leavell. She was a mentor and a friend to me. I had shared many fond times of encouragement with her. I put her email address to use a good many of times as we corresponded through the years of our knowing one another.

Then there was Judith Gee. She was a family friend and a teacher from growing up. She never was MY teacher, but she was my brother’s gifted-education teacher. She was the lady who gave me my first IQ test when I was going into 1st grade to get my placement into the gifted-education program. She was an intelligent lady, who was a pleasure to spend time with. My family would spend times at her house enjoying her company.

Then there was Cornelia Flowers. She was a woman full of wisdom! Though I never knew her during her pre-retirement days, she was apparently quite the teacher and principal. I only knew her as the wise older-lady who always sat on one of the back pews at church when I was growing up. She was always a pleasure to talk to and always had such great words and thoughts to share, whether on a one-on-one basis, or in a class setting. Even through my college years I kept in contact with her via the internet. My mom would tell me about how she would talk to my mom about having received emails from me and said what an enjoyment my emails were to her. I definitely learned to respect my elders from this lady!

Typically I would choose not to put people’s names, especially first and last names, in my blog. I do not like to identify myself so candidly, nor do I choose to do that to people I know, because I don’t want people to be able to make connections to my friends either through this venue particularly. But it was back with Cathy’s passing that someone reminded me that a tribute with someone’s full name after their passing can not hurt, as anyone stalking any of the above mentioned individuals wouldn’t be able to get them now anyways.

Still, besides the passing of friends over this past year, other hardships have existed. Though like the deaths, these have been situations with friends involved.

Over the past year I have given notice in my blog to tough situations I have been struggling with involving friends.

Some of these stressors have involved friends choosing to not talk to me. These situations have put quite the stress on me. At the current time, neither of these situations have been resolved; however, one of the friends has recently broke the silence they were having with me for some ten months, but still, a long road of communication lies ahead for the stressors to be relieved.

In another difficult time over the past year, I found myself faced with a situation of extreme disagreement with one of my closest of friends. During this time, my friend and I went through five days of what we both later described as some of the hardest days of our life. Having someone so close to you not talking to you is one of the hardest situations because it eats at you physically and emotionally each minute that it is not resolved. Best friends are people to treasure!

And finally, another situation over the past year led me to see just how “strong” I really was. I had to go toe-to-toe with my self-discipline this year when I found myself in a situation where my name was being slandered publicly. My name was being paired with false statements for all to see and through the duration of this, I forced myself to be disciplined and strong, even when I did not think I could any longer. This was a hardship that friends had to help me through in the end; otherwise, I don’t think my strength alone would have been strong enough.

So life has brought me quite the reality checks over this past year; most of which can be followed in some detail throughout the posts of my blog.

So two years of journaling in the books! What might this next year bring? Possibly a year of learning to adjust to the stresses of adulthood? Maybe.

So into the next year I can already see more changes coming, as I see graduation occurring and, hopefully, a new career started. So my plans are to keep posting and hopefully my readers will keep reading.

Thanks to my readers over the past two years and congrats to my blog, as it is “Life as I Know It…”

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