Ten years. Who knew?
It’s hard to believe, but it was ten years ago today that I impulsively opened up an account on Blogspot and semi-anonymously started my first blog. I was expecting to chronicle my transition out of academia into something else — I had no idea what the something else would be, at that point — and I was part of a wave of discontented or outright disgruntled blogging academics. It was the still-much-missed Invisible Adjunct who inspired me to start blogging; it was Rana, who also just celebrated a decade, who gave me my very first link back.
Most of us have stopped blogging, or just blog much less than we used to, or have migrated to other platforms, myself included. I find that a lot of the thoughts that used to go into my blog posts now go into microbursts on Twitter, which is where a lot of the conversation we used to have in comment threads has also gone. And that’s all right. Formats have their time and place, and other formats come along, and it’s nice to still have this space to scribble in, even if most of my scribbling goes elsewhere.
Anyhow. In ten years, I have:
- finished the last stages of my dissertation, defended it, and become Dr. Watson (the Sherlock Holmes jokes started about half an hour after the dissertation defense);
- decided that maybe I wanted to be a librarian when I grew up;
- applied for and been awarded the fellowship that made that career switch happen;
- moved from the Midwest back to the East Coast;
- gone to library school for my MSLIS;
- lived in four different cities and worked in four different academic libraries;
- somehow morphed from an early modernist into a book history person-slash-digital humanist with Victorianist leanings;
- realized that I actually really do like teaching, now that I get to teach students how to do research;
- discovered a love for opera and a love for hiking, and got much better at (and much more obsessive about) knitting;
- kept up some cherished friendships and made some new ones, online and off-;
- stumbled across the research project that I want to turn into a book (or long-format thing. It might end up being born-digital, I haven’t decided);
- traveled a lot, and traveled outside North America for the first time in my adult life;
- met quite a few people I used to only know through their blogs;
- wound up in a tenure-track job after all, but one that’s so much better than anything I ever imagined when I thought I’d be a professor;
- and, finally, actually found a way to live in a city that I’ve loved since childhood but never thought I’d actually get to live in.
Ten years ago I would never have guessed that any of this would happen. It wasn’t by any means the easiest ten years of my life: I lost a parent; there were some long stretches of loneliness; there was a lot of uncertainty and a lot of second-guessing of major life decisions. But given where it ended up, I’m not complaining. Not at all.
That said, I feel weird marking a ten-year anniversary like this, because one of the things I’ve learned over those years is that life is just life; it goes on, in its plotless and usually patternless way,* with glorious moments, and sad ones, and bizarre ones, and a lot of incredibly mundane ones. Piles of good things and piles of bad things,** not necessarily connected. And chopping it up into milestones feels a bit arbitrary. Though I may change my mind about that in a couple of years when I hit a big milestone birthday that starts with the number 4 and ends with the number 0.
Hello, all of you who remember the blogosphere back in the early 2000s. Hello, all of you I’ve met since. I’m so pleased to have met you all.
* I realize this is not a stunningly new insight, but you have no idea how long it took me, with my years of literary-critical training and my love of pattern recognition, to admit that life does not actually resemble fiction.
** Another thing that happened over that decade: discovered a deep love for Doctor Who.