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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Blog Post #1000: Reflecting on Milestones and a Journey called Life

When I started this blog back in 2005, I did not have any particular concept in mind. I mean, I tried to have one, something like a theme that would help whatever I had to say or talk about around a singular anchoring point. Trouble was, I did not know what I would talk about, or how often, or the best way to talk about things. I was totally inexperienced, and was asked to join because a couple of friends from college, separated after graduating college and returning to our lives, as it were, decided that people would just share thoughts and experiences from around the world, and the rest of us would just participate in a similar fashion, commenting and guest blogging on occasion, for that really community kind of blogging.

Social Networking Attempt

Noble thoughts as these were, implementation seemed to lapse after we soon realized that hobbies we like are soon relegated to a sterner, less accommodating place when we “grow up”, as signified by our graduating college. There were attempts, and years of attempts even, but in the end, we had to call it a day and, if nothing else, keep our blogs online as a reminder that once, there were a few of us who tried to leave a mark of our existence, as represented by our blogs, to let the world know of our eclectically celebration-worthy existence. Good times, these were surely, but in effect, they were a lingering reminder of a time and place that once was, and that had once prepared us in its own way, for what was to come in our lives. Of course, add to this the advent of more user-friendly, eat-every-minute-of-your-workday kind of social networking platforms, and if the attempt to maintain a blog in the absence of these was difficult to begin with, well, them showing up was like a swift kick to the family jewels that still seems to leave a lot of us reeling, and waiting to be able to breathe in again.

Not A Blogger

I’d never considered myself to be a blogger, no matter when I first started out trying to make sense of the things I wanted to say in such a public space, nor now, after several years of allowing this blog to languish like a book left first on the shelf, and then shoved unceremoniously into some large trunk, to sit in an attic and slowly wither away over a few human generations. I have tried all sorts of things with this blog though, without attempting to monetize it beyond just the AdSense displays that, needless to say because of my lack of sustained activity, have yet to earn me any money. I did not have head for self-help, or  any field that I considered myself an expert in, so as to offer sound advice that others would be in a position to benefit from. But no, there was no formula that I was willing to stick to, mostly because I wasn’t able to see things through to an end, or at least, I didn’t allow myself to focus on the end of any one of the things that I had attempted to begin, simply because I would let my life get in the way of trying to recount the things that I heard, felt, and lived by.

Over The Past Decade…

I have seen many changes on Blogger. One of the first things I wanted to do was to be able to use Post Summaries, something that for a rambling writer like me, would have made far less hellish on readers to have to meander with me as I finally got to my point. Although I did try to pick up a few handy HTML tricks, I was never good enough to set up a Post template, and certainly not one that worked consistently, so I abandoned this. Then, there was the inclusion of Google Analytics and Adsense to the Blogger interface, which made it easier to login once and browse for the information I was looking for. Don’t get me wrong, but even though I didn’t set myself any targets or attempt to grow my followers by responding to these cues as provided to me by the behind-the-scenes calculations, I did use them to try and study what these mechanics were about, just in case I decided to step into real advertising of my blog by funding it myself. More recently, it almost seems like Blogger is hanging on because it is a Google product that the company has decided to hold on to for a while longer, like they did with Orkut, and that in the face of WordPress-like customizability and functionality, blogs like this will have to be migrated, begun anew, or simply go the way of the dinosaurs.

Some Fond Remembrances

There was a time, maybe in its first couple of years, where I used to have more people post on the blog. Now, I’m not going to make it sound like someone else posted on this blog on a regular basis, certainly not more irregularly regular than myself, but I would like to point out that the few occasions on which it did take place, I felt great elation at what can only be perceived as a vindication of some kind. Of course, there were times when I sought out chances to have my own words on other’s blogs as well, and returning the favor was a wonderful experience to be a part of, as well. As with the general time crunch that I and most of my fellow civilized sufferers complain about facing, it meant that such generous acts became an even greater impossibility than trying to keep a blog afloat. Still, there was a lot of good stuff on here that, well, a poet friend of mine who finally decided he didn’t want any of his stuff to be anywhere in the world at all pulled down all of his posts. Really wish he had skipped one or two so that you could check out his great poetry, certainly as compared to mine, I’m not afraid to admit. However, well, I do not hang out with people who do not carry a special kind of zeal for their passions, certainly as evidenced by the thorough job he did of hunting down all of his work and removing it from this blog. Who knows, maybe the poetry bug will come back to bite him, and this time around, he will be truly phenomenal with the verse that he pens so freely.

Middle of Twenty Sixteen

At this point in my life, almost eleven years after I started this blog, it serves as a reminder of the kind of person I have been at various stages during this period. There is a lot less blogged than really goes on in my life, and thank God for this, but of those things that I have decided to post, just glancing at it usually sends me on a trip of what that time and place when I wrote and thought about the things that I wrote about was like. Of course, I did not need to write about anything really, but having started out on this path a long time ago, the writing has helped me to deal with the circumstances and people in my life that I would have normally entrusted a psychiatrist to help me deal with. Of course, while I do not have to afford a “shrink”, to refer to the practitioner thusly, I have had to try to deal with things in my own way, and with my own limited understanding of such matters in the first place. It reminds me of the fact that the longer I keep doing this, as intermittently as it may be overall, the fact that what I post, when I do so, it offers me a greater and more in-depth opportunity to understand myself better. Better still is the fact that this should enable me to half-achieve my purpose, at least understanding what makes me the way I am, so to speak. And, even though the original intent was to have multiple people be a part of this blog and have them talking about their own life and life experiences, with some sort of self-analysis of the same, this blog is now an island that is ready to connect with other networked islands and island networks, for the sheer hope and joy that connecting will help reveal things of a new nature, whatever the things or their actual nature. Come a long way and still much more to go? Quite right. Willing to go the distance? Yes, I am pretty sure that I want this blog to be a source of some kind of utile information that achieves some good in the world. Too bad, I am just another brainwashed mammalian biped who seeks power and glory by achieving it in a little cocoon that is inaccessible to everything else in the world.

The Future of this Blog?

I have considered moving into audio and/or video. Vlogging? Only until I picture my audience, small though it is, willing to do themselves physical harm and end their lives because they cannot stand for another word to escape my lips in the same monotone manner. No, I am not going to sing my posts either to try to combat this. The odd podcast? Maybe, if I can manage to work out a way to have either the podcasts or the blog posts complement one another, I might try and put this into action. Maybe I will do more interviews of people with an audio/video element to them. Or, and at the risk of making it seem like all of what I wish to discuss has already been neatly and very well thought out, any one of a long list of planned, semi-planned, and almost-planned ideas and actual plans may be tried. There are a few aspects of housekeeping that I would like to deal with in the near future, such as running through all my posts with a fine-toothed spell checker and making sure that I do a better job of checking for syntax and orthographical errors before firing off a post to be published on this blog. Of course, among other things, it does not speak well of any editing skills and/or knowledge I may claim to have, among other things. Then, there are also the constant and never-quite-over-till-it-is-over aesthetic modifications to the blog, such as changing of the overall color scheme, altering the banner in the header, deciding what widgets to keep and get rid of, etc. Suffice it to say that whatever may happen, if I am allowed to continue this blog, and if I take it a little more seriously than I have taken it, certainly lately, then I am quite sure that the cumulative results at the end of this exercise, whatever that event or occasion may be, should be a very interesting thing to dive into to find out more about the world as experienced by me.

This blog has been my one constant excuse to keep writing, particularly after college, where ‘writing’ without the hope of returns from the activity are quickly looked down upon by well-meaning members of one’s family. Honestly, I have not needed an excuse to write, and come to think of it, I have needed even less of an excuse to publish what I write. It is just that, until this blog came along, I was very happy to keep what I wrote to myself, not only because I was not comfortable or happy with what I was churning out, but because in some strange way, it was very private. I said it was very strange because, now that I think about it, from harboring these thoughts privately, to just blurting them out across the Internet, it was a strangely public hiding of what I had held on to as only my bits of pain and confusion. By having it out there, maybe others would be able to read and relate, or they would have gone ahead and described how they were in a similar way but managed to overcome it. Well, this is what I believe was going through my head when I decided to air out my dirty laundry on Blogger, a little over ten years ago. Now, here’s hoping that the next milestone blog post for this blog comes about a lot sooner, and sees much progress along some of the areas that I have briefly talked about.

At this point, I guess I should disclaim that while my Blogger post counter shows me at 999 posts prior to publishing this one, this number may include a couple of posts that are still in the “Draft” stage of their development, so, this number may not be entirely accurate. However, I am going to take this milestone at face value and celebrate it anyway.

Wish me all the best, and thank you for your continued readership! Here is to another decade and a little bit.
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