Should I go ahead and rename this blog something like All my Novembers? It has a soap opera cheesiness I kind of like. Maybe Groundhog Month? A quick scan of my posts reminds me that my Novembers are pretty routine, between holidays and my day job of the past eight (8!) years. There’s Thanksgiving and my birthday, a few token photos of Las Vegas, and some pretty foliage. All the same topics last year, and the one before that. I expect this year to be more of the same.
Despite the fact I’m not a clever writer nor a consistent one, I still want to try.
It’s not unlike the idea of getting a pen pal. (Does anyone remember those? International Pen Friends is still a thing - how cool.) You sign up, get an address and start writing. My nana had a Japanese pen pal that she wrote to for nearly all of her adult life, I think. (Kind of amazing, when you think about it.)
I had a few pen pals growing up, but lost touch with them after only a couple of years. I corresponded with a girl in Bermuda when I was 10, and with teenagers in Switzerland and Greece when in middle school. I remember being surprised that girls in Europe listened to the same music that I liked, and like me, also worried about grades, boys and college. Seems like a pretty simple lesson, but I remember being really blown away by that at the time. It was fun getting to know people who were just sharing everyday stuff. We all have a lot more in common than we realize. That’s what I loved about pen pals and later, following my favorite bloggers back in the 2000s.
I’ve read a few posts lately by bloggers I’ve followed for years and years - more than a decade now, in fact. Many of them are talking about how it felt to write, and to connect with people that became lifelong friends.
“Blogging offers an almost-quaint alternative to the stream…a feed. There’s no missing something a friend posted because you skipped going online that day. No algorithm deciding which posts you see. What I write will be here waiting for you, whenever you feel like dropping by, even if that’s a month from now. There’s no rush, nothing to miss, nothing to respond to unless you feel like it. This is just a place we can hang out and talk about stuff.” -from What Feeds Us by Asha Dornfest, Parent Hacks
Checking my feed is like visiting with friends. To me it feels very different than scrolling through a news feed, posts, stories and snaps. Lately I’m finding it incredibly jarring to scroll through a feed that sandwiches some of life’s tragic news in the middle of silly memes, jokes, and advertisements.
Feeds provide an experience that’s slower…mindful, even. Maybe that’s what it’s about for me: wanting a mindful online life.
Instead of writing and posting daily just because it’s November, this year I’d like to make it about cultivating a mindful online life.