Obligatory Anniversary Post

April 1 2011 is the 11th anniversary of my first public blog post. I’m not linking it, but you’re welcome to dig through my archives and find it.

I posted much more frequently back then, but many of those posts were only a couple of sentences long. Some were only tweet-length. Many things probably shouldn’t have been posted, but the site certainly makes for an interesting time capsule of my 20s, and now my 30s. (I was 21 when I started blogging. I turn 33 in August, if you were wondering.)

My blog has seen me through a lot of major milestones:

  • My first major job (I’d been working there for nearly a year by the time I’d started but I was still pretty green, especially when you see some of the things I was willing to say. Nothing truly trashy, but I was sure open to admitting that I was writing instead of working. I was meeting my deadlines and targets, but I still want to pat my 21-22 year-old self on the head and say “shut up Melissa!”
  • My move into Toronto (I really don’t miss that Oshawa > Toronto work commute)
  • Getting engaged, buying a house and getting married within 13 months.
  • Pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood
  • And all the little milestones in-between that don’t make all the sappy banking or life insurance commercials but are still important

Just for kicks, here are some links to how my site has looked over the years using the Wayback Machine (which is pretty neat in itself). Dates indicate when the site was crawled.

I learned a lot about web design during the early days of my site. I used to hand code the layout and Blogger took care of the rest. Then I started using Blogger’s built-in themes with some customization. When I moved to Vox.com, I relied on pre-built themes which were super-easy to change. I do that now with WordPress as well. I love that I can concentrate less on the structure and more on the content.

I enjoy blogging because I like having a place I can write and say what I want. This place can be a journal, a soapbox, a place for general information, or whatever I want. I have complete creative control. And that feeling is awesome. Reading, and eventually meeting great people due to blogging is such an amazing bonus. I blog for me first, but I’ve learned from so many people over the years and I am grateful for each and every one of you.

If you’re a blogger, did you expect to get hooked? What sucked you in?

Hotel rooms, lists and friends that remind you to do what you said you were going to do

The following conversation I had with the lovely @OpinionatedLizz last week got me thinking.

(read from the bottom up to keep it in context)

Conversation with OpinionatedLizz, January 11, 2011
Conversation with OpinionatedLizz, January 11, 2011

I have never stayed in a hotel room alone and the idea of it really appeals to me. Not for any awful reason – I’m not fantasizing about running away from my family and living a life of luxury in a boutique hotel by myself – at least I’m not right this minute. However, some time by myself somewhere I don’t have to clean up first to enjoy it sounds pretty appealing now.

I keep a lot of imaginary lists in my head: what I would do if I won the lottery, writing ideas, chore lists and so on. Turning an imaginary list of things to do in 2011 that I’ve never done before into a tangible, readable list sounds like a lot of work.

Fortunately, Lizz called me on it.

(again, read from the bottom up to keep it in context)

Conversation with OpinionatedLizz, January 20, 2011
Conversation with OpinionatedLizz, January 20, 2011

I had asked Lizz (who by the way also has a great blog that you should read) if I could use our conversation as screenshots for a post. She said okay and when I wrote my self-pitying, pay-attention-to-me tweet last night, she reminded me that I had planned to write this post. I hadn’t forgotten, but I hadn’t gotten around to doing it either.

All this preamble, and no list. How’s that for smooth?

I’m not sure how solid my list is. I wrote some lists for #reverb10 and some of the items could apply to be cross-posted to this list too. I spent a lot of #reverb10 pulling things out of thin air though so it’s a tough call.

Here are the things I want to do in 2011 that I’ve never done before:

  • stay in a hotel room by myself
  • get the house professionally cleaned (not sure if this would be a one-time or regular thing, but I’ll start small and call it a one-off)
  • Go to a sit down restaurant alone (I do fast food alone all the time, I’ve been to the movies by myself, but have never done a nice restaurant alone)
  • Get an evening babysitter that is not family for the occasional date night (which are currently few and far between because the family babysitters are 2.5 hours away so it’s a big deal for them to come)

This is a small, somewhat manageable list. I’m sure there’s other things I’d like to put on this list, but as the goals get more pie-in-the-sky the list becomes less realistic and easier to ignore.

So thank you Lizz for being a good friend and calling me out. Here’s hoping your trip that merited your solo hotel room is great and that we all try some new stuff in 2011.

#reverb10 – Day 19: Healing

December 19 – Healing.

What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

(Author: Leonie Allan)

Time alone heals me.

I desperately need time alone with my thoughts and to do my own thing to be able to give back to those I care about.

Parenting a toddler makes getting this restoration difficult sometimes. Any parent will tell you the same thing. I steal moments when I can, which sometimes makes Sean crazy. He’s either looking to steal a moment himself or he thinks I’m just hiding away to goof off, to let him do the heavy lifting of parenting a young child.

I know in my heart that I’m a better parent when I get those few moments to myself during “awake time” (mostly because “asleep time” is devoted to things I couldn’t get done during  awake time). I know those moments help me keep my patience up during the intense one-on-one times. They also help me keep my perspective during the fun times. That I willingly signed up for this, and that while I love sitting by myself and doing nothing, hanging out with my little family is pretty awesome.

I don’t think I get enough alone time all the time. I probably won’t for the next several years. I hope to prioritize and blend everyone’s needs so that we’re all at least having some of our needs met if not all of them. That sounds more selfish than it’s intended to be. But it’s like what we’re told during the airplane safety lecture: “put your oxygen mask on first, then help someone else”. You can’t help someone else if you have nothing to give yourself. Time alone is just how I replenish my strength.

#reverb10 – Day 18: Try

December 18 Prompt

Author: Kaileen Elise
kaileenelise.com
@kaileenelise

Prompt: Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?
reverb10.com

This year I tried to reach out to the Canadian blogging/social media community at large more than I have in the past. I tend to be a lurker – I do a lot of reading but I don’t always reach out myself. This year I tried to reply to more tweets, leave more comments and contribute to the community at large.

I’m not so sure I succeeded but I have met (or in some cases “met”) some lovely people so it certainly wasn’t a bust.

This year I’d like to try the following:

  • Take another writing class (would love to do this workshop with Rona Maynard, but I don’t think I can swing it financially right now)
  • Read more books. I’ve been doing most of my reading online lately and while the blogs and websites are interesting, they just aren’t the same as a good book.
  • Keep my house a little cleaner (trying not to dissolve into giggles as I write this)
  • Spend more time with my husband one-on-one

Here’s hopin’ kids.

#reverb10 – Day 14: Appreciate

December 14 Prompt

Author: Victoria Klein
27 Things to Know About Yoga
@victoriaklein

Prompt: Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

reverb10.com

This year, I started trying harder to appreciate everything in my life. I tried keeping an offline gratitude journal (link leads to a post from earlier this year where I talk about my experience with it). I found I didn’t really stick to it, but I do write the occasional moment down in the Momento app on my iPhone. I also believe that sharing happy stories about what’s going on in my life, whether it’s pictures on Flickr, a status on Facebook, a quick tweet or a longer blog post helps me to express my gratitude for the things I’m sharing.

But the most important way to express gratitude is to just express it. Say thank you. Tell someone you appreciate what they did. Tell them why you appreciate it. Not just people who went out of their way, but anyone who did something for you. Sean and I get along better when we remember to thank each other for the little things we do for each other.

I’ve heard good manners referred to as “social lubricant”*. Good manners really do grease the wheels of society. You’re more likely to go out of your way to do something for someone who will appreciate what you did. Make sure you appreciate what other people do for you. It really makes a difference, in your life and in theirs.

*I’ve also heard of booze being referred to as “social lubricant”. That certainly has its time and place. So thank your bartender for your beer.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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