Ten years ago today, I started this thing. It didn't start auspiciously; my first few posts involve me trying to get the template configured the way I wanted it (I did not then, nor do I now, have a great knowledge of html or any other web-language, so that's why I used and continue to use a pre-packaged template and host)
I started adding pictures in 2004 but the hosting site I had changed, so most of those are gone...I use flickr now, which I pay for, and hope continues into the future.
It's funny. It doesn't seem like it's been ten whole years. I remember why I started the blog. I had been following a few blogs - like the one called #!/usr/bin/girl (Which is apparently now on permanent hiatus; the last post I see was in 2009). And I started reading Not Martha, which is still around (and still in my links list). And Chicknits. And Wendyknits. And a bunch of others that are long gone.
Blogs change and evolve. In the early days I was leery of putting up non-knitting content, lest I scare off my few readers, or lest the knitting bloggers who had linked me would decide to de-link me. (Ongoing theme in my life: I worry too much about what other people think of me.) I also did every goofy "What X are you" personality test that was out there. (Now, I only do ones that are Relevant To My Interests). I also posted more links, partly because there weren't things out there like Ravelry to make Cool Knitting Stuff go viral before I could even find out about it, but also, I think, because I assumed a lot of my readers HADN'T seen stuff, when now, I figure most of them have.
I can post photos now, so I can show off my finished projects, rather than just talking about them (Which I think helps a lot - but again, I remember some people writing about knitting blogs how they "hated" the ones that were "all wordy and stuff" and how they really just wanted photos and technical details. I like photos and technical details (and errata reports) too, but I also like to read some of the motivation someone had for making something, or what they felt while making it, or how they felt about the finished product)
As I said, it doesn't feel like I've been writing this for ten whole years. I suppose that's because my life hasn't changed THAT much in that time: I still live in the same place, I still work at the same career (if my title and status have changed - this blog went with me first through the tenuring process back in 2003/2004, and then again through the promotion-to-full-professor process last year). I know people who, in the past ten years, have married, had a couple children, changed jobs several times, moved once or twice, got divorced...so my life seems stable (boring?) by comparison.
And yet, things do change. I'm learning to play the piano now (a dream I had had for a while). I've lost a few people - friends as well as relatives - that I cared a lot about, and if I think about it much, I still feel that pang of loss. I weathered an ugly congregational split and took on more responsibility at church.
And I learned stuff. I learned, mainly, that I'm more resilient than I give myself credit for. That I really do seem to have internalized the old Churchill quote (if it's not too bathetic to take a quote that applied during terrible wartime and apply it to my relatively calm and safe life): If you're going through Hell, keep going. I've also learned that a lot of the time I need to NOT think about how I "can't" do something, and just sit down and do it instead.
(I think back, to the days before the blog, when I first moved down here: as my parents were getting ready to leave after moving me in, me sitting in the terrible "Kettle" restaurant that used to be here in town, and I cried. Part of it was that the OH NOES MY PARENTS ARE LEAVING ME AND THEY WILL BE 700 MILES AWAY shock (I had, for the previous nine or so years, lived with them while completing grad school) but also the sudden realization that I was going to be fully responsible for teaching three classes, and responsible in a way I had never been before, and what if I failed? (And someone - I never knew who, never spoke with him again as far as I know, but a man in another booth came over and heard what was wrong, and reassured me that I just needed to do it, that I could do it, that I would be fine. An angel? I don't know. As a scientist I'm not supposed to believe that but sometimes I wonder)
And so, here I am. Still. Ten years later.
I'm ten years older than I was then. (And again, I don't feel that much older; I still feel a sort of confusion when I think about how I am over 40: have I really been here THIS long?)
I read somewhere a saying that said "We are always the same age inside." I kind of agree with that, but kind of not. I think maybe we are always a multitude of ages inside - that we carry our past selves with us, and if we're smart, we learn from their mistakes and can draw on the happy memories as a source of comfort.
I know that some days I feel very much like a woman in her early-mid 40s: when I wake up with a stiff neck because I "slept wrong," or my hip bursitis bothers me, or I have to figure out some new moisturizer regime because my skin seems to be getting still dryer.
But there's also still a little bit of early-20s me in there, filled with hope and enthusiasm and idealism and wanting to FIX things and MAKE THINGS BETTER and CHANGE THE WORLD.
And there's some of 15 or 16 year old me in there - unsure about what the future will hold, self-conscious sometimes to the point of self-loathing, wondering if those people laughing over there are actually laughing at her. And yet, at the same time, still capable of believing that everything will get better when she gets a little older and maybe even of thinking she'll be a roaring success at something someday.
And I definitely still have 12 or 13 year old me in there - the one who laughs at the awful disgusting stuff, who likes ribald puns, who chuckles at every one of Muscle Man's "My MOM!" jokes on "Regular Show," even while realizing that Muscle Man is awful and gross and would not be someone to be emulated.
And there's a 10 year old in me - that quiet weird kid who still had a rich and interesting inner life, and still fundamentally liked who she was, even if she was also that kid eating her lunch alone in the far corner of the lunchroom. The one who figured that the snotty-popular kids (as opposed to the nice-popular kids, who actually DESERVED to be popular) would never accept her, so what the heck, she might as well do what she wanted.
And there's still the inner seven year old - the one who wants to dress up in fancy hats and drink tea (real tea now, not pretend tea like I was seven) and eat little cakes and pretend to be a "lady." The one who likes pink and kittens and girly stuff and who loves My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic to death, and who would rather watch a cartoon than a boring news program any day of the week.
And you know? I don't know. I don't know if other adults are like that, or if they've all put their past selves in a box labeled DO NOT OPEN, and it's just me. But that's how I am. And maybe it makes me weird but I don't really care all that much (provided I am reasonably sure that it's not me you're laughing at, over there).
So, ten years. During that time I've made a lot of socks and a lot of "critters" and some quilts and a few sweaters (and am working on two sweaters right now).
Through this blog I've reconnected with at least one person from my past. I've met a person or two who read it, that I wouldn't otherwise have met (and maybe I'll have a chance in the future to meet a few more readers of the blog). It's been fun, and it still is fun, which is why I keep doing it.
But it helps to know people are reading. It really does.
So, happy birthday little blog. And maybe I'll have a picture of something knitted or a new quilt top coming very soon.