4 Years of Blogging: Things I Have Learned

by Kathy on April 10, 2011 · 9 comments

in ALI Community, Blogoversary, Family, Hope, Loss, Milestones, Pain, Song Lyrics, Transitions

It’s my 4th Blogoversary!

I have come a long way since my first entry on April 10, 2007.

If I were President of the United States, I would have just completed my first term.

I have now been blogging for as many years as I was in high school and a little less time then I was in college (as it took me 4 1/2 years to finish).

I have also been blogging for as long as I dated my husband before we got married.

Over the past four years a lot of things have changed about me and my blog, including the children that have come into my life, the primary reasons I choose to write here and the topics I share about. There has also been an evolution in regards to who has read, commented on and “followed” my blog over the years. Though my blog has always been public, in the beginning I was writing for a very small audience of family members and friends that I personally invited to read my blog. However, in time that changed as I found out about and got more involved in the Adoption, Loss and Infertility (ALI) Community here in the blogosphere, as well as more recently when I decided to “come out” about my blog to extended family and friends that may not have known about it before.

I have learned a lot of things over the past four years that I have been sharing about my life and experiences in this space. Here are 24 that I want to share with you today:

1. I have learned that there are a lot of people in this world struggling with trying to build and to expand their families.

2. I have learned that being on a journey through infertility and loss can be easier to bear when you have the support of your family, friends and fellow bloggers.

3. I have learned that though you can help a lot people by sharing openly on your blog that it is also possible to hurt some people by being too candid.

4. I have learned that it is important to take responsibility for your words and your actions.

5. I have learned that it is never too late to say thank you or to express that you are sorry.

6. I have learned that I can apply my experiences during our five year journey through secondary infertility and loss to many other areas of life, especially when it comes to trying to be sensitive to and supportive of others who are going through difficult and uncertain times.

7. I have learned that life is difficult and being an adult is not easy.

8. I have also learned that life is beautiful and being an adult can be wonderful.

9. I have learned that though my family and I have “taken the statistical bullet” more times than may have seemed fair, that life isn’t fair.

10. I have also learned that despite the losses that my family and I have experienced, that we are very blessed and lucky.

11. I have learned that it is okay for our blogs to evolve over the years, just as our own lives, interests and priorities do.

12. I have learned that taking risks is important and worthwhile, even when we don’t always reach the goals we have in mind or get the outcomes we are hoping for.

13. I have learned that experiencing great pain and loss can introduce us to new and wonderful insights about life, as well as to people to walk with on our journeys.

14. I have learned that during difficult and uncertain times in our lives we make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time.

15. I have learned that after we get through challenging times in our lives we need to do our best to be kind to ourselves and not spend too much time reflecting on what we could have done differently.

16. I have learned that though I no longer believe that “everything happens for a reason,” that I can try to make some good come from every trial I face in life.

17. I have learned how much it means to me to receive thoughtful, caring and supportive comments here on my blog.

18. I have learned how exciting it is when I read a comment about how what I have written has opened a reader’s eyes to a new perspective or allowed them to not feel alone on their journey.

19. I have learned how much I appreciate when I read a comment that respectfully encourages me to consider something that I have been pondering from a different point of view.

20. I have learned how much I gain from taking the time to read and comment on others’ blogs.

21. I have learned that one of the easiest ways to be disappointed in life is to have expectations.

22. I have also learned that it is still okay and important to have goals, hopes and dreams.

23. I have learned that much of our lives are spent living in ambiguity and that we need to try to make the best of these times of uncertainty and transition.

24. Most of all, I have learned that joy really can be found in the journey.

Thank you for reading, for commenting and for abiding with me here for the past four years.

Now that I have shared some of what I have learned from blogging these last four years, I have some questions for you:

How long have you been blogging?

How has your blog evolved over the years?

What have you learned from your experience?

Please feel free to share your thoughts and answers to these questions in the comment section or in a post on your blog (in which case please let me know, so I can read it).

As I reflect on these past four years, as well as the past few weeks in my life, I ask for your continued thoughts and prayers.

Springtime/the Lenten/Easter season has become bittersweet for me since our daughter Molly was born and died. When this season arrives each year I find myself remembering the events, the joy and the sadness the lead up to Molly’s birthday/the day she went to Heaven in 2008. It’s hard to believe that one week from today she will have been gone for three years.

Right now I am also processing another big loss in my life. Last week I lost an old friend. My friend had a very significant role in my childhood/adolescence and it is still hard for me to grasp that she is gone. I have spent a lot of time thinking about my friend this week and how our relationship helped me to become the woman, the wife and especially the mother that I am today. Though we had not been in touch often in recent years, she meant a lot to me and will always be in my heart. My friend and I had a song, it was “our song,” and I will leave you with some of my favorite lyrics from it that seem very appropriate in light of my friend’s recent death and in honor of the love and friendship that I share with so many of you who have supported me and my blog over the past four years.

And if, I should ever go away,
well than close your eyes and try
to feel the way we do today.
And then if you can remember,
keep smiling, keep shining,
knowing you can always count on me,
for sure,
that’s what friends are for.
In good times,
in bad times,
I’ll be on your side forever more,
that’s what friends are for.

~ from That’s What Friends Are For
(written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sayer)

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jjiraffe April 11, 2011 at 12:56 am

This seems profoundly wise to me, especially #15, which I am struggling with right now.

Four years is an impressive milestone. Congrats!

I'm still trying to figure out what my blog should be doing. I need it a lot, just to write about what I'm going through, to help me process the experience. At some point, I'd like to be more focused on cooking.

Happy Fourth!

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2 Alison April 11, 2011 at 11:48 am

I'm so sorry to hear that a friend of yours has passed. I will be thinking of you and especially of Molly as we approach her 3rd birthday.

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3 loribeth April 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Happy blogoversary, Kathy! And thank you for sharing your lessons with us — food for thought! (I'll have to think about my own lessons for a bit…!) But I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. 🙁

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4 JJ April 11, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Happy 4 year blog birthday! Celebrating that sort of milestone is pretty cool, huh? I celebrated my 4th earlier this year..you learn a lot in 4 years, dont you?

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5 Knock knock - it's cancer! April 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm

You know, if you WERE president of blogland, I'd re-elect you!!

M.

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6 embracingtherain April 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Happy 4 year blogversary!

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7 aprilvak December 13, 2011 at 12:09 am

13 is one that I've definitely learned. It's so hard to imagine any good coming of these things when you're struggling through them, let alone imagine being able to think about anything else, but the destination is never exactly the same if the journey is different.

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8 Esperanza December 13, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Hey Kathy! Again, how did I not comment on this? I remember reading it. I don't comment nearly enough.

I've been blogging for almost 2.5 years. I've published almost 600 posts in that time. My blog began as a TTC after loss blog, which was started at what ended up being the end of my TTC journey (oh how I wish I had my blog when I was going through my loss – things would be have been so different) and then stretched into pregnancy and parenting.

I have learned so much as I've blogged. In an attempt to save time I'll use some of your lessons and comment on those:

4. I have learned that it is important to take responsibility for your words and your actions.

Man, I've learned this the HARD way. But it was such a good lesson to learn and it's applied to every aspect of my life.

5. I have learned that it is never too late to say thank you or to express that you are sorry.

Obviously this goes hand in hand with #4. I already knew this but it was good to relearn it.

7. I have learned that life is difficult and being an adult is not easy.

This one has been hard for me to learn. I've writhed against it a log but I'm coming to terms with it slowly. I hope to teach my children more about this so they aren't taken so much by surprise like I was.

17. I have learned how much it means to me to receive thoughtful, caring and supportive comments here on my blog.

I couldn't agree more – to this and to all the things you wrote about comments. I blogged for 1.5 years without so much as a comment or two on every post. It was hard. Those comments meant so much to me and I commented on so many other people's posts. It was so hard for that to go without reciprocation. At the same time I'm kind of happy that my blog started that way because now I appreciate every comment even more. Kind of like waiting a long time to parent, once you are you appreciate it that much more! 😉

21. I have learned that one of the easiest ways to be disappointed in life is to have expectations.

This is a big one for me. I'm curious how you're handling this. Do you not have expectations anymore? Is it hard to live that way? I find it difficult to live without expectations but I'm trying. Maybe I'll get better at it with time.

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