A Collection of Thoughts in April of My 42nd Year

Bliggidy Blog

I’ve had lot of thoughts lately, thoughts about shutting down this blog, because the archive is starting to press on me and feel heavy. I feel like I’m not fulfilling self imposed obligations about writing.

BLOG. I don’t even like that word anymore.

Have people stopped blogging? It doesn’t bother me what “other people are doing” and I’m not totally sure if I blog to be read. But I must, mustn’t I? If it wasn’t to be read it would be in a journal, a good ol’ paper journal. Or would it? I can’t share pictures in my journal or link to stuff that’s inspiring me right now. Speaking of journals, I have just discovered bullet journals (late to the party, whatever, oh well) and the stationary store geek in me is losing her mind.

And I now own Tenth to the Fraser, which I call an ‘online and print community magazine’ when I describe it to people, but at its structure, the website is a blog. And I hit “publish” at least five times a week over there. So, I don’t think blogging is done, really. But is it done for me?

The Arbolog started in August 2008, conveniently when my newborn was just finishing that “I barf every two seconds” stage, but just entering the “I am a useless blob who stares at you uncomfortably” stage. There is eight years of writing here – 496 published posts, to be exact – and I’m such a completely different person than I was when I started it.

Alhough, when I started it I remember insisting that I was soooOOOooooo different than my previous blogs, both of them from my early 20s, anonymous and terribly embarrassing now when I think about what I wrote online. It would be like reading your old high school diaries but with way more sex drugs and rock and roll but also less of the adorable charm of a high schooler.

But my first post here was a recipe. Not so very different from today. Now, I post about camping, and cooking, and jerk neighbours, and the odd op-ed related to parenting an anxious, highly intelligent child.  Basically, middle class, Canadian west coast life.

What am I even doing writing here?

Little Old Middle Aged Me

I’ve become really comfortable with my middle-agedness. I’m comfortable with my grey hair, and dutifully attend to my body with mammograms and Pap smears and colonoscopies and all the other things younger me found so squicky and awful. I take my medications every day because I’m supposed to. I slow down for yellow lights. I go to bed when I’m tired. I like being married. I like being Kale’s mom.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

A post shared by Jen Arbo (@jenarbo) on

I like making soup. I won’t buy cheap socks. I garden. I own Tupperware, that I ordered, and that matches and that has a purpose. I buy fancy cloth napkins. I wash my shower curtain monthly. I KonMari-ed my t-shirt drawer. I have “personal planning documents” that I paid someone to prepare and notarize. I go to dinner parties and we play Jenga after dinner and I’m home by 11. I buy insurance and extended warranties.

Epic post dinner Jenga.

A post shared by Jen Arbo (@jenarbo) on

Do middle aged people like me need blogs to tell you about our middle-agedness?

I think about social connections a lot lately, the ebb and flow of friendships and the way I see myself in those friendships. I’ve been feeling nostalgic for social groups like softball or soccer teams but at the same time I’m not willing to dedicate more time to being an extrovert and well, I’m lazy about sports these days. I’m out a lot with friends and at the groups I volunteer with. I like it. But there’s a balance I sometimes don’t do a good job of keeping. I’ve spent almost three months extracting myself from some obligations and the end is in sight.

What am I going to do with all this time I’m freeing up? I don’t know.

Special Snowflakes

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about special snowflakes. I think a lot about this in relation to some of my experiences at Kale’s school, where I’ve witnessed some pretty embarrassing demonstrations of entitlement by family members of his fellow students. (Related: this article by Maclean’s is pretty awesome.) I’m fine if a person’s kid needs some special handling. Kale is an anxious kid, and he is a slow eater, and he hates loud noises, so I totally get it. I bought him earmuffs to use in class to keep him focused, and if there’s a chance for him to be permitted to take his lunch outside if he didn’t finish it, I’d like to make sure he has that. I dig deep to find patience for his myriad of questions that I know are fueled by anxiety at times. Special dispensations? Yes. But relatively self-served or self-funded? Also yes.

But there are special snowflake adults, too. And I guess what annoys me isn’t that they need some sort of special treatment or dispensation, but that they need you to know about their specialness. Just take care of your shit like an adult and move on, special snowflake. Fortify. Seriously, just… fortify.

Where Am I Going With This?

I don’t know. Do I need to know? Maybe I need to take my own advice and fortify. Do I need a plan for my personal online writing?

I think… maybe? I want to write a book.

What, really? Wow. I didn’t plan to write that when I sat down to this post. That sentence is as much a surprise to me as it might be to you.

I don’t even know what I will write. What I do know is that writing for Tenth has really been reminding me I like writing. I have loved (almost) all my client work this past five and a half years. But it hasn’t ever really been for me. Meaningful and something to be proud of, for sure. But I have no connection to a large body of work from the past half decade now that it has been delivered.

Maybe this is where I’m being led. Maybe I need to write things that are meaningful to me. Things that have legacy. And maybe a blog isn’t enough.

 

 

2 years ago

1 Comment

  1. Good for you, Jen. I’ll share this with Kathleen because she will understand the desire to write a book. It’s not easy, but it is worthwhile listening to where you’re being led.

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