Connecting and Sharing
Admittedly, I spend several hours per day reading blogs, leaving comments, and writing drafts for future posts. It has been my morning practice for the past several years. Blogging satisfies my desire to write and to engage with others who understand and appreciate this form of connection. I have described other bloggers as ‘Pen Pals’ on more than one occasion, but it is more than that. It truly is a community. I love waking up to an inbox filled with new posts to read from people who live in every corner of the globe and with various backgrounds and circumstances. The thing we all have in common – a zest for life.
My blogging community is made up of people who have a positive outlook on life and love expressing their joy through words. If you have ever clicked on the blogs in my sidebar, you will notice some common themes – photography, travel, books, gardening, cooking, philosophy, and education. It is no coincidence that those themes are like threads that weave through and enrich my own life.
I am grateful to each of you for inspiration, instruction, entertainment, and most of all, your friendship and positivity. You add an enjoyable and unexpected dimension to my life. Janis’s short stories touch my heart, Kathy and Thom share wise words that make me think, Karen inspires me to cook healthy meals, Deb’s badassness rubs off sometimes, Hugh‘s WordPress expertise is a godsend, Liesbet’s nomadic lifestyle makes me question everything I know about conventional life, Laurel and Eric show us how to handle life’s big transitions with grace, Joe and Helen‘s RV travels and Sarah’s travels around the world take me to amazing places through their beautiful photography and descriptive writing. Beth’s nature photography reminds me to look in my own backyard, Dan wants to see our doors, Judy is a Master Gardner who enjoys the snowbird life, Leanne helps us embrace a slower pace, while Christie reminds us to express gratitude – who wouldn’t want to start each day with such warm and remarkable people.
Natalie hosts a coffee share while Trent invites us to share a smile and Terri challenges us with Sunday Stills. There is always something good to read and something good to cook when the cool kids (Jo, Sue, Debbie, Donna) at What’s on Your Book Shelf and (Donna and Deb) What’s on Your Plate, get together and share.
You can see more of the blogs in my community on my right sidebar. I look forward to following each of you into the new year and beyond.
Ebb and Flow
There is a certain ebb and flow to the life of a blog. Doubt creeps in, making us wonder if it’s really worth it. Things change, life throws us curveballs. We get discouraged by stats or lose motivation for a myriad of other reasons. I read a statistic that more than 80% of bloggers give up their blog after the first year and most won’t last past year number four. We have just completed our sixth year and still feel as though we have something to say. Why we are still here has a lot to do with the fact that we treat our blog as a hobby. We are not in the business of giving advice or selling products. We simply show you (as realistically as possible) what our satisfying retirement looks like, without taking ourselves too seriously. We don’t have unrealistic expectations and we appreciate any attention we receive. Our best reward is your return visit.
I have seen excellent writers fall away from this arena during the past two years and I miss those connections – Erica. Others have slowed the pace Tracey, to suit their current circumstances and some have dropped out altogether – Nancy Dobbins, where are you? Many have changed directions and now host or participate in ‘challenges’ exclusively. And then, there are those still trying to find their niche.
I recently purged the list of blogs I follow. There are a number of reasons why that has become an annual practice. I typically drop blogs that no longer interest me or those which have not published a post in over six months. I also delete blogs that increase their posting schedule to a cumbersome level. Especially if the original content has suffered.
A bugaboo, but not a deal-breaker is the blogger who doesn’t acknowledge my response to a comment they left on my blog. If you leave a lot of comments on a lot of blogs, I get it. It is time-consuming to circle back, but the whole idea of ‘lifestyle blogging’ is conversation and connection. It just takes a second to click ‘like’ so I will know you read my response. Otherwise, what’s the point of my response?
I will eventually delete blogs that do not have their website linked to their gravatar. I know that excuse sounds thin, but the purpose of displaying blogs I follow on my blog is to attract attention to my community. If I like them, you might also. If the gravatar doesn’t link, it’s useless. The sidebar will only display 50 titles, or images and they are displayed in the order in which I followed them – with the most recent being on top. I don’t like that about WP, and my preference would be to give a priority position to blogs that I have frequent interactions with, but alas, this is how it is.
My Blogging Goals
My blogging goal for 2022 is to continue sharing our retirement lifestyle by posting at least twice per month. We will continue to write about our travels, our home search, aging and adapting to living with an aging parent, health, fitness and, everyday joys and simple pleasures. As always, there will be lots of photographs. Occasionally, you will find me at a linkup party or participating in a photo challenge. Those are great ways to meet new folks and if you haven’t joined in, you should think about it.
We will continue to strive to make your visit here enjoyable and our connection with you meaningful. Our intention is to grow our blog and our blog community naturally, without gimmicks. We are not a ‘follow for follow,’ ‘comment for comment’ kind of blog. If we visit your blog, follow and comment, it is because we value what you have to say. We understand if you don’t follow back. We are not everyone’s cup of tea.
I hope you guys will stick with us as we continue to share our satisfying retirement lifestyle. We have worked to build an entertaining and informative site, but we are always looking for ways to improve. We welcome constructive comments and suggestions. If you don’t want to leave those comments here, please use our ‘contact me’ page to email me. Seriously, nothing is ‘off limits’ there. Thanks again for being a part of our blogging journey.
What About You
Do you have big plans for your blog in 2022? How do you contribute to the blogging community?