Ten years ago on this very day, October 11, I embarked on an adventure that has allowed me to express myself in ways I never imagined and connect with folks near and far. Ten years ago today, I wrote my first blog post.
For some reason, ten years ago it was cool to write all lowercase—and incomplete sentences. Smiley faces were apparently also a thing. My first post was just an “hello world,” really. And not many people saw it. In fact, I think I had it turned off in the search engines for a while, because I thought it was kind of creepy that people I didn’t know might read it.
For quite a while, I just wrote about random topics. Sometimes, it was inspired by something I heard on the news while working out in the morning. But mostly it was about my life, which sometimes was a little insane, but even back then, I realized that taking weekends off was a good thing (but it didn’t happen very often).
By 2006 or so, I started really getting into my profession, product management. So I started a product management blog, Product Management Zen. It focused on how to survive the quite taxing product management profession and was kind of popular with other product managers. However, after a few years of product managing, I moved into more of an executive role (little to no hands-on work), so I decided to let that blog go.
In mid-2008, after neglecting my original Tablog for a while, I came back to it. At this point, I had started wondering what the heck I was doing with my life. We moved. I got interested in voluntary simplicity and became a budding tree hugger. (A.k.a. midlife crisis.) I started writing more about productivity, health, and going green—and combos of these.
I also fell in love with Decorah, IA, where we now reside. Wow, it’s really fun to go back and read these thoughts of yonder years. Six years ago, here’s how I described Decorah in one paragraph:
Decorah is a small town, but has lots of character and is progressive in nature. It boasts a great co-op and is actually mentioned in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for its “Seed Savers Exchange,” which is a network for sharing heirloom seeds. In addition, it was founded by Norwegians, so it has a Nordic flavor to it from Norwegian flags on the architecturally interesting houses to a Viking mascot at the local high school.
Throughout 2009, I started feeling more and more that I wanted a blog focused specifically on simple living. So I started dreaming up this blog, Simply Enough. In late December, 2009, I bid farewell to the happy-go-lucky Tablog that had been my platform for over five years and wrote my first of 287 published posts here on Simply Enough.
In the spring of 2010, our family embarked on a journey which would turn out to be the most difficult of our lives. Without warning, we were hurled into the mental health system when our daughter started losing weight and complaining of stomach aches and feeling depressed. I took some time off. It ended well, but first we had to endure a seemingly never-ending cycle of drug cocktails, out-of-control side-effects, hospitalizations, and never quite knowing if we were doing the right thing.
At the end of that journey, I left my nine-year career in software, and started freelancing. It gave me time to think and get to know lots of different people. I started to realize that our health—wellness—is everything. If we are not well, nothing else matters. I also started making connections between simple living, local food systems, and wellness. I did a year-long wellness project and decided to become a health coach. I updated Simply Enough to be more of a business website. I also started writing a book about our experience with the mental health system.
However, life has a way of taking twists and turns in a way you’d never expect. While still pursuing my health coaching certification, I started working at Luther College, managing the website and online advertising. I switched Simply Enough back to a simple blog and informed people that I wasn’t taking new clients. That spring, I also launched Decorah Holistic Health, an online directory for holistic health providers in NE Iowa. I stopped working on my book. And I stopped blogging for a couple of months.
It was weird not to be writing. So I picked it back up. First my blog. Then my book. And I committed to writing a weekly email letter to subscribed readers. It’s been over a year. I still send out emails almost weekly. And I try to blog at least once a week. My manuscript is done. I’ll be formatting endnotes the rest of the afternoon. In November, I’ll run a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for copy editing, layout, cover design, and first edition print run. I hope to celebrate the launch of my book next July.
As much as I sometimes wish I never had to sit in front of a computer monitor ever again, I love blogging. I love the way it allows me to express my feelings when loved ones pass away and discuss topics about which I’m passionate. I love connecting with readers and getting emails saying that I helped somebody in some small way or made them think about the world differently. The encouragement from readers and the inspiration of other bloggers turned authors is what gave me the courage to pursue writing my first book. All 80,000+ words of it. I can’t wait to share it with you.
And I look forward to ten more years of blogging (at least!).