Saturday, June 09, 2012

Seven Years Later

Happy birthday, blog!

Today is this blog's seventh birthday. In blog years that's basically ancient, and I have to say - I'm proud that I've been able to stick with The New Me for so long. It's seen me through most of my important, hilarious, embarrassing, and wonderful milestones, while serving as a living document about my life. I wouldn't trade that for anything (except maybe a bit more self-censorship in my early 20s - live and learn). Here are some stats to help put things in perspective:

The life of a blog.

Published posts: 1,458
Unpublished drafts: 15
Comments: 6,842
Pageviews in July 2005: 4,135
Pageviews in May 2012: 27,142
Most popular post: How to Make a Rain Barrel
Second most popular post (because I'm still mad that Nathan's guest post is number one): The Best Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe Ever

And now a little retrospective of the last seven June 9ths (or as close as I could get):

June 9, 2005: I was 22 years old, Nathan and I were spending the summer in Houston, I hadn't found a job yet, I wanted to be a writer, and I was extremely melodramatic and earnest about everything. (Did I mention I was 22?) 

June 9, 2006: I was 23 years old and in the middle of reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, which was my first experience with creative nonfiction. I had joined roller derby and was obsessed, blogging mostly about practices and how much I loved skating.

June 9, 2007: I was 24 years old, and I had just quit the Nacogdoches Rollergirls, which was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I was finishing my masters in library science, and we had just started our monthly craft club sessions.

June 9, 2008: I was 25 years old and living alone in our apartment for the summer because Nathan was doing thesis research in Kentucky. I spent my time sewing, riding my bike because Nathan had taken the car with him, working at the library, and going for two mile long runs (which was my personal record at the time).

June 10, 2009: I was 26 years old, spent many evenings after work drinking a beer at the park with Nathan and Seamus while dreaming of our future backyard. I was busy documenting East Texas cemeteries for a library project, entering (and losing) the blueberry pie contest, and making weekly writing goals.

June 9, 2010: I was 27 years old, training for a century bike ride I never completed, a bunch of my friends were pregnant, we played a lot of kickball, and I was hoping to start reading more books than blogs (still working on that one...).

June 9, 2011: I was 28 years old, I had just revealed that we were moving to North Carolina at the end of the summer for UNCW, it was really hot in Texas and that made running hard, and I had just started packing.

June 9, 2012: I am 29 years old. I've just finished my first year of my MFA, I'm working in a wine store part time, I have two dogs, four chickens, and a few thousand bees, Nathan and I are getting married in five months. I still want to be writer.

What comes after seven years?

I'm going to keep blogging, obviously. I don't think I could stop if I tried - I've come to rely on and treasure the community I've found through this hobby, the friends I've made, and the connections we've built. I learn so much from my fellow bloggers, and I truly believe my life has been made better through the kind of reflection that a blog fosters.

On the other hand, I feel like my blog is in a transitional period. (Then again, aren't we all?) This blog has always evolved, focusing on whatever interested me at the time, which allowed me to grow and change as needed. Now, however, I feel pulled to sharpen my focus and find my niche, and I think I've come close to that with the homesteading community. Since I started writing more about our adventures with chickens, bees, and our garden, I've gotten more views and comments than ever before. More important, though, is that sharing these stories has made blogging seem new and exciting again, and that's a thrill that can't be ignored.

I'm not sure how the shift will take place, what the redesign will look like, or what I might rename the blog. (If you have suggestions, please send them. That's the part I'm having the most trouble with!) Just know that whatever happens, whatever changes I make, this will still be my blog and my stories. I wouldn't want it to be anything else.

And finally, a deep and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has commented, emailed, subscribed, and read along. Y'all are the main reason it's been a great seven years, and why I'm looking forward to the next seven. <3