This is the 400th published post on my blog. Four hundred articles, tens of thousands of words, numerous video clips, but only two photos. Countless hours spent in research and verification, as well as avoidance of plagiarism. Many more hours spent physically typing the posts, tidying up the blog, replying to comments, and liking and commenting on other peoples’ posts. The time spent thinking up themes and ideas, recalling a long life, jobs, relationships, holidays and experiences; that cannot really be measured. It is a constant process, and has almost become an unconscious one.
When I started this blog, in the late Summer of 2012, I had no idea what to expect. I thought it would be perhaps a dozen articles, about moving to Norfolk, and discovering a new life in the countryside. I was very wrong about that. Despite ups and downs with popularity, times when it all seemed too much to bother with, and highs when I have received wonderful praise, it has become an integral part of my life. A day without looking at the blog, checking what others are doing, or thinking up things to write about, has become unthinkable. It is like a job. An unpaid job, but one that you really like doing, so you don’t worry about the terms and conditions, holiday entitlements, or dinner breaks.
I have seen blogs come and go during this time. Most, if not all far more entertaining than mine; better conceived, slickly presented, and glossily illustrated. I have been sold to, preached at, criticised, and applauded. I have been on the receiving end of misinformation, scams, mad people, zealots, and weirdos. I have had to learn to sort the wheat from the chaff, the genuine from the false, and the worthwhile from the worthless. If I had bought every book, get-rich scheme, better skin treatment, potion, lifestyle option, keep fit programme, and dietary wonder that I have had pitched at me, I would surely be bankrupt. If I supported every cause, every campaign, and championed all the worthy organisations that have appealed for my help, I wouldn’t have had time to write a word. If I had decided to follow all the different religions, cults, scientific pathways, and spiritual nirvanas proposed to me, I might well have ended up in an insane asylum. This is the downside of blogging, the constant bombardment of other people’s money-making schemes, and crazy ideas.
Luckily, I declined all of it; became a member of nothing, a consumer of nothing, and a believer in nothing. As far as I am concerned, they wasted their time. In the back of my mind, I do sometimes worry about the one percent that apparently fall for this stuff, and what it may have done to their lives. The Internet (and Blogging) has two faces, and you have to make sure that you are always looking at the right one. I consider myself lucky to have chosen well, and to be part of a small but valuable community of thinkers and writers who are all striving for much the same thing, and finding like-minded individuals to accompany them on their journey.
The good side of Blogging is without compare. It brings freedom, friendship, the power to express thoughts and ideas, and to amuse, entertain, or inform. It releases weights, empowers people, and might even change things for the better, at least in individual lives. It develops skills, improves communication, and reaches out across the planet. There is absolutely nothing to compare to it. No best-selling book, or Oscar-winning film gives such a personal message, or records the life of someone so well. No eulogy can match the physical reality of a life’s work, left behind for as long as the Internet exists, for the edification of future generations, and the information of descendants. Most of us around my age have only some faded old photos, or perhaps some cine film to watch, or dried out letters to read. In the future, our blogs will be our legacy, our lives today there for others to see, in perpetuity.
That’s why it’s all worth it.