My husband passed away in October, 2005. He had been sick for a long time, but he wasn't expected to go when he did, not until just a few months earlier when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. We had been planning our return to New Mexico, home to us both. He came home, but not before his death.
In the spring and summer of 2006, I was back in Kansas City, preparing our home for sale. I was happy that I was going to come home, but it was a hard time for me, too. I was preparing to leave my home, the memories attached to the home, my friends, my job, everything that was my life for the 30 years I'd lived there. I was very alone, not because family and friends neglected me, but because no one could walk in my shoes with me. The happiness about returning to New Mexico was precariously balanced with the pain of leaving so much of my life behind.
One of the "things" I was leaving behind was my friend and next door neighbor, Caroline. My kids had all moved away, Caroline was a little younger than my youngest, and she had become almost like another of my kids. She had been my neighbor for about eight years, but I knew her since she was just a little kid. Her grandmother had been my neighbor in that house for many years, and when she passed away, Caroline bought it.
That spring, '06, Caroline badgered me, just as she had for several months, about starting a blog. OK, OK, OK. So she didn't really badger me. She encouraged me. The thing that held me back was just my silly opinion that blogs were for "kids." Why would a person of my age (61 at that time) have a blog? Finally, I read her posts and a few of those linked to her blog. And I read again. And I eventually broke down. I started a blog in May 2006.
Gradually, I gained a pretty good list of readers. I was really enjoying the "company." By August I had around 20 regular readers and another 10 or so stragglers. I was enjoying reading and being read. It was good for me to be writing and having feedback on what I wrote, rather than bottling it all. The most interesting part to me was the friendships that developed with some of these people, other bloggers I'd never met. But I seriously began to feel friendships with several of them. Yes, I was really glad I had begun the blog.
By the time I left Kansas City in September of that year, I hit the road with my three Shih Tzu, Mai Lin, Ali, and China Doll, a trailer in tow, and with a dozen or so good friends who were moving to NM with me! I brought Caroline and all the others along on the move and set them up in the imaginary house next door! My stepson was here, so I wasn't alone, but I also had a gaggle of buddies who visited my place daily! I really didn't feel alone. I really wasn't alone.
As time went on, I met some of those blogging buddies, my neighbors in Bloggerville, in real life as I traveled. And I gained new friends along the way. As in real life, some of the old friends got lost along the way, because they grew in a different direction or because I did, but the blog roll continued to grow and throb with life.
Then about a year ago Caroline once again began yammering at me. This time it was Facebook. Oh, lawdy, what did I need with something that teenagers were using to get into trouble? Now this was a more difficult decision because you can't really visit FB without signing up. But I was comfortable enough with the electronic cyberworld now that I knew I could back out if I didn't like it, so I took a big breath and plunged in, once again.
Facebook opened a different set of doors and windows than the blog did. With Facebook I've continued many of the relationships that began with blogs. Some of those have stopped their blogs, but many have continued with both, thank goodness. I like the in-depth capability of the blog for most writing, really expressing oneself. FB, however, gave the opportunity to reconnect with old friends I hadn't seen for years or decades as well as those family members that you have just occasional contact as we've grown older and get busy with individual interests and our personal lives. My gosh, within just a short time, my list of contacts on FB had grown to over 100! I didn't know I knew that many people! LOL!
So .... FB has a very different purpose in my cyber-life and my real life than does the blog. Both are important to me. And it is because Caroline gently nudged me to start them both. I loved my technology, yet I would not have entered either, at least not as soon as I did, had it not been for my dear neighbor. I'm so glad she urged me, because through these methods of communication I've gained so much, most importantly the friends and the outlet for expression and connection.
I read somewhere not long ago that over half the blogs are representative of "older" people. I forget the age break, but I think it was age 50. We "seniors" are ruling the world with our communication in the cyber world. Hurray for us! The internet is not just for kids!! I have be in touch with at least 15 people from high school (50 years ago) and college (20+ ago), six or seven former coworkers (10-30 years ago), and a half dozen former neighbors. How much better can it get? I don't know if it can, but if so, I'm betting Caroline will let me know!!
Thank you, Caroline!!!
You rock, my friend!!